Chica’s Summer Vacation August 2012
It’s the middle of
August and boy has it been hot at home, over 100 degrees for many days. I sure am glad we have air conditioning. Who would think you would need it in San
Diego, but we are 35 miles northeast of San Diego in the lower mountains and
the temperature is somewhere between the coastal temps and the desert temps and
this time of year the coast is 20-25 degrees cooler.
Luckily we were going
on vacation to the mountains in Arizona.
A place called the Sitgraves National Forest near a town called Forest
Lakes. Funny, because my mom graduated
from Forest Lake High School in Minnesota, and both of those towns have lots of
pine trees. This was the first trip to
Arizona I have been on in a couple years so I was really looking forward to
The temperate in the
deserts has been 110-120 during the daytime, so we left after a long, hot work
week, on Friday night about 7 p.m. We
stopped in Yuma, AZ, a desert town , just across the border from California to
get gas because it’s way cheaper there, filled up with fuel and on the
Didn’t get too far
down the highway when someone pulled beside us waving their arms for us to pull
over, and we did, only to find out we had no tail lights or running
lights. Mom was driving, so she had to
leave the flashers on till we got to the next exit with a gas station in a tiny
place called Tachna, to see what was wrong.
It looked like the town only had the gas station and a few other
buildings and that was it. Dad tried to
figure out what was wrong, but we kept blowing fuses and he couldn't fix it
that late at night. Did I mention the
inside door handle broke of the door while he was trying to fix the
lights? He was pretty mad so we got back
on the highway, driving with our flashers on till we got to Gila Bend.
Driving all the way
with our flashers on didn't seem to be a problem. Up and down some hills in the heat of the
night, pulling a trailer, it made sense we would be driving slower so that
justified our flashers being on. It was
still close to 100 degrees and it was almost midnight. Good thing we could run the generator and
the RV air conditioner the whole time while we got a couple hours sleep. Boy is it hot in Gila Bend.
We got up early and
drove around and to the other side Phoenix as quick as we could. It was almost 90 degrees already and it wasn't even 9am. Up this long highway
and we got to a really pretty place called Payson. I saw I a sign for a cabin Zane Grey used to
live in, don’t know who he is, but must be someone important that they were
telling everyone where he lived. Nice
thing was that it was cooler up here. A
little shopping and we were on the road.
We finally made it to
camp mid-day on Saturday. Scotty, my
husband, and Bella, our daughter, who live with Miya and Steve, got to the camp
several hours before us. I was sure glad
to see them. Since they live in Santee, CA, I don’t get to see them that
often. Now we would have almost a week
to be together. Scotty, handsome as
ever, was very glad to see me. I guess
they are right when they say ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. He looked good, really good! Bella looks a lot like me, but has longer
hair and typical teen, talks all the time.
I don’t know that I
have ever seen such tall trees and so many in one place. We have pine trees at our house, but these
are really, really tall. Almost everyone
at the camp had dogs and most of them were friendly. I like to go visit them all, but mom gets a
little mad if I am gone for too long because she has to come looking for me. I like to visit Juan and Kathy’s the best. What can I say, the owners are really
friendly and sometimes they give me treats.
Why wouldn't I want to go visit them all?
All these people
belong to a trail group called the White Mountains Open Trail Association
(WMOTA), and they build and maintain trails throughout the region, and this was
their monthly camping trip, this month in the Sitegraves National forest along
the Mogollon Rim. The small group of
people that were there when we arrived call themselves “Razr Ratz”, funny since
they don’t look anything like the rats I have seen. They drive “side-by-side” utility vehicles
that can go for miles and they carry tools and winches to move fallen trees and
rocks off the trails so everyone can use them.
I think that’s really nice of them.
Every day they went
out on the trails so I got the RV all to myself to nap as long as I
wanted. When they would get back, I
would hear all about the trails they had been on. Mom and dad were really disappointed after
the first trip out, Bill and Lynn (they live with Lucy and Bella), saw Elk, but
all mom and dad saw were a bunch of sheep grazing on both sides of the trail. We have a sheep at home called Griffn, nice
guy, but I can see why they were disappointed.
After the rides, we’d
all go sit around the fire and have happy hour.
One of my favorite times because everyone would give me treats when mom wasn't looking. I like happy hour! Everyone would tell what happened on the
trip that day and make plans for the next day.
They were driving up and down as
many trails as they could find and trying to put them together to make one long
ride for the group to all take on Saturday.
Each day more people arrived and sadly some had to leave, like Bill and
Lynn, and Doug, Laura and her sister Donna.
Scotty, Bella, Steve
and Miya left too. They were going to
stay in Show Low and visit a place called Fort Apache and Hawley Lake. I guess Bella got in real trouble while they
were at Hawley Lake. She was chasing
after cows they let graze around the lake and went running after them, barking
and got into mud so deep, she couldn't get her feet out and was stuck up to her
belly. Mud all over. Steve had to go unstick her and Miya was pretty mad she had to give
her a bath when they got back to their RV.
Now I can say she’s a real ‘stick in the mud!”. She must get that from her father.
It rained here a
little almost every day or night. The
air was really fresh and things were green all over. One day mom and dad went out by themselves to
ride on trails further away from camp and they said it poured on them part of
the time. They were laughing about it
and say they were really glad they had rain suits because they saw other people
that didn't, trying to get out of the down pour by driving under the
They went for a long
ride that day and parts of the trails they were on didn't get any rain. That was also the first time they saw
Elk. All the sudden tree were running
beside them so they stopped and those three crossed the trail in front of them
and another eight crossed the trail behind them. They got to watch them all, cows and babies,
prance of into the woods. Then later
that same ride on a different trail they saw two bull elk, one with a huge rack
run in front of them on the trail. Guess
they are quite a sight to see if you don’t have them where you live.
One day we borrowed
John and Tracie’s truck (they live with Frankie, Shadow & Lilly), so we could drive to Snowflake
and Show Low to look at houses. They
want to move out here with the horses because there is so much more room. They run a horse rescue at home and have been
thinking if they had a place out here too, they could help more horses. They already have land to grow hay, now they
need a house to live in. So we drove all
over and looked at about a dozen different places. There were three that were pretty nice. I got to sit in the back seat all by myself
and could see out all the windows, it was great.
Several errands to run
while we were there, the post office, store and Motor Vehicle Department to get
something called tabs. Dad and I hung
outside while mom took care of that. We
ran into some really nice people that lived in Ramona, not far from where we
live, before they moved out to the Show Low area. They said they really liked it in Arizona. Seems like everywhere we went, there were
people who had moved there from southern California. On the way back to camp we got caught in a
really big thunder storm. Thunder and
lighting and lots of rain, we even pulled off the side of the road for a few
minutes because it was raining so hard.
Wow, never see that in California.
And after the rain stopped, it smells SO good. Got back to camp and it hadn't rained there.
More people had
arrived and kept coming with everyone looking forward to that big ride on
Saturday. Lots more people at the happy
hour and then they did a pot-luck, yum!
People all brought something called ‘comfort food’ and there was a lot
of it. They all seemed really happy then
sat around the fire and told all kinds of stories. Lots of laughing as they talked about
something called the “flag of ill fate”.
Guess if you mess up really badly or do something pretty stupid, you get
to fly the flag on your vehicle. It
sounds like someone new tries to win it each month, but John wins it more than
anyone else. If John wins it that much,
they should give him a trophy or plaque or something to show how great he is at
it, don’t you think?
While mom and dad were
at the pot luck, they met some new people that drove over from San Diego too. It was their first time to ride with the club
and they were surprised to find two other families that lived not far from them
at the same camp. They had lots to talk about and were even wondering if they
knew some of the same people from back home.
Saturday morning came
and it was time for the big ride. Mom
and dad did something called “tail gunner’, guess they were the last ones at
the back of the ride in case anyone got lost or breaks down. Maurice was the lead for our group, John and
Tracie were lead for the other group and Juan was their tail gunner. After all the rain we got the last few days
there must have been lots of puddles because the Rzr came back covered in
mud. Glad I didn't go on the ride.
We left first thing
Sunday morning and we to see the “Rim Lakes View” not far from where we were
camping. I loved that. We were the only ones there so I got to run
around the paths, through the tall grasses and even out on the rock ledge. Dad picked me up so I wouldn't fall off. Boy could you ever see for miles. It was really pretty watching the sun come up
with all the trees down in the valley.
I think we were at about 7,000 feet elevation.
After that we headed
down in ‘the valley’ as everyone called it, meaning the Phoenix area. People come up to the White Mountains to get
out of the heat in the valley all summer long.
Even so, we had a nice private campsite that was free and compared to
some state and national parks, there was hardly anyone here so it was
One stop on the way
home was at Cablea’s because there isn't one anywhere close to us. Mom said they had lots of elk, antelope and
fish inside on the wall, taxidermy or something like that. Does that mean the got a ride there in a
cab? Whatever, what I thought was so
cool was that they had dog kennels outside and lots of grass to use, they even
had horse stalls and water for people who wanted to shop and let their horses
out of the trailer. Pretty cool, I
I slept most of the
way home. Guess I was pretty exhausted
after such a fun filled vacation. Other
than the heat, I will be glad to get home and see the rest of the dogs and Milo
the cat and find out if they did anything fun while I was on vacation. Hope I get to go again soon, mom and dad are
lots of fun!
Hope you enjoyed my