Groundhog Day – The Movie

My Stay In Arizona Continues

I was joking with some of my family and friends that my life as a Retired Vagabond has morphed into more like the Groundhog Day movie.

Groundhog Day?

Groundhog Day?

This is due to the unforeseen events happening.  One was the change in the timeline for getting my new puppy and sidekick.  Of course, you can’t predicted Mother Nature :)  The additional hindrance in moving on with my travels  is the warranty work needed on the Coach.  It is only superficial items, but I wanted to get them taken care of soon and I would be here for a while anyway. Fortunately this is a nice place to be, since my son and his family lives nearby and there are many things to see and do before the weather heats up.

Okay my Travelstyle just changed radically

Meeting my Sidekick

Meeting my Sidekick – Photo provided by Sapphire Aussies

While I researched and tried to image traveling with a dog, it is still a learning curve.  The first week was full of change and waiting on my Sidekick.  That I expected and I enjoy spending time with him.  Most of the time we hung  out around the camp. Occasional we go for a short walk, meeting new people and situations.  Not as much as I would like, but the training is exhausting on both of us.  My expectation was months of focusing on a new puppy.  A lot of that was bypassed, since I found an older dog at 6 months old.  It’s still a lot of time, which I have at this point in my life.  My dreams of hiking and having a companion by my side will come to fruition, but it will be longer than I was thinking.  So for now I am focused on Jagger. Some of the sight seeing will be on hold until I figure out how all this works.  Of course any suggestions are always welcomed.

Most of my difficultly yesterday, was caused by an appointment to take my Coach in for warranty repairs.  That’s like giving the keys to your home and walking away.  It turned out to be 89 degrees and I knew of no escape, since I had a dog with me who I didn’t want to exposed to too many different situations and animals.  We ended up at a dog park having a picnic under a shelter, which coincidentally took almost as long as my Coach took.

Surprise Dog Park

Surprise Dog Park

The park was so busy (many dogs in the play areas), I didn’t trust letting Jagger in with all the dogs, he hasn’t had all of his shots yet.  So we just hung out near a small lake and watched the people, birds and ducks cruise by our shelter.

Just as we were finishing up with our visit at the park and I was trying to figure where we could shelter until the Coach was ready.  Doug, at Orangewood RV, called and said my coach was ready.  Great news they are finished for this trip.  Unfortunately all of the warranty parts weren’t in and it may be up to 4 weeks before they arrive.  (He followed up with me later that day, saying the manufacturer said they would arrive by April 21st). This means my travel north will again be delayed at least 2 more weeks. We went to Orangewood RV, picked up the Coach and headed back to “plug in” at Lake Pleasant about 30 minutes away.  We had two days before our next reservation started about 90 miles north and since the temperature was getting above 90, I didn’t want to deal with it.

Back at Lake Pleasant – Temporary Area

Stubborn Him or Me

Stubborn Him or Me

I let Jagger hang out in the truck until my Coach was set up and the AC turned on.  So far I hadn’t made Jagger get out of my Truck on his own, as it is a 4×4 and very high off the ground for him.  Well I hurt myself lifting him in the truck recently.  Naturally it was when I was in a hurry.  It feels like I separated a rib, which I have done several times before.  Anyway, I unhooked his “dog hammock” in the back seat and tried to coach him down. He didn’t want anything to do with it, period.  Well I set up my chair and time went on, 1 1/2 hours later, I got in the back seat of my truck, picked up his front paws and forced them a whole 6 inches down to the bump in the floorboard.  Within minutes after that, he hopped out of the truck “leash-less”, I freaked out, but he came right back to me.  Bottom line I guess he taught me how this was supposed to work. :)

It’s been an experience.  Until next time, safe travels…Gary


Introduction – My Sidekick


Looking for a Home

Found a Home

Jagger is an unexpected miracle.  I had researched many breeds of dogs, hoping to find just the right one.  I admit my requirements were unreasonable and part of their personality would come from training.  Living the vagabond lifestyle , especially in a small area  and moving often would be a challenge.   Starting from a puppy again? Cute, but the work would be daunting, not to mention sleepless.  My last companion, a Shetland Sheepdog, lived a full life dying at 16 years old.   I missed having a dog and it had been over 7 years since Jinger died.  I knew I could never replace her.  She was one of a kind.

My list of requirements were impossible (and probably not reasonable):

  • Must love children and put up with their accidental hurts.
  • Must socialize well, since I move so often and meet new people.
  • Must be smart and listen – I need help along the way ;)
  • Hopefully it won’t whine, I would rather sleep :)
  • Absolutely can’t be a barker – I will be expelled from RV Parks.
  • Must be decent size for hikes.
  • Must be a good watch dog, but not aggressive.

I looked at rescues, spoke with many people before deciding to “start from scratch” with a new puppy.  After placing a deposit down on an unborn puppy months ago and timing it to happen when I took delivery of my coach in February, it did not materialize.  Needless to say I was somewhat disappointed.  After speaking with the breeder that I chose a few weeks ago, she mentioned an opportunity that was of interest to me.  A six month old Australian Sheppard was looking for a home.

After meeting Jagger, the breeder and I felt he was a match for the task at hand.  Several days after that I took my son and granddaughter for a second and third opinions.  My son and daughter-in-law had raised several guide dogs in the past and I respected their opinions.  Nothing was observed during the visit that may be a major issue, so I made the decision to bring Jagger home to fill the roll of my sidekick.

We have been on numerous walks around our camp overlooking the south end of the Lake Pleasant.  This past weekend there were many people, RV’s, ATV’s, motor cycles, children, dogs, boats, kites, etc. We sat out in front of the coach in the cool breeze Sunday afternoon and at I actually heard him bark at a guy walking by who was about 50 feet away from our site.  I was beginning to wonder if he actually could bark! :)  When I told him it was okay he stopped barking.  I think this is going to work!  He has been with me a few days and settling in fine.  Almost zero barking and whining only when it’s time for a walk to relieve himself.  A great balance of energy and accepting the leash.  His ability to learn is impressive, at least to me.

Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant

We will be staying close to camp for the next few days, then on to the RV shop for warranty repairs, before heading north.  I think Jagger will work out just fine.

Safe travels until next time…Gary




Packing Up in Buckeye

Long Term Visit

I have been camped at Verde Leaf RV Resort in Buckeye, Arizona for 32 days.  It’s the first time I have stayed “long term” in one spot and found the experience

Hike to the Marina Grill

pleasant, while saving a little cash due to the discounts that are offered at some facilities for longer term stays.  I have managed to go on several hikes away from the camp and explore a few areas within a hour or two’s drive.  I continued to be near one of my Son’s and his family, so I was able to continue spend a lot of time with them.

Sidekick on the Horizon?

I have been considering acquiring a dog for months for companionship on my travels.  I haven’t had a dog since my 16 year old Shetland Sheepdog, Jinger, died four years ago.  I had been looking for a larger dog with similar characteristics.  About two months ago I put down a deposit on an unborn

Looking for a Home

Looking for a Home

Australian Shepard puppy here in Buckeye from a hobby breeder.  The plan was to pick up the new puppy, then travel north to Montana (taking my time naturally).  Well mother nature had other plans, and as of this post it is yet unborn.  I have been talking to the breeder and there is possibly another option that I am considering.  More to come soon.

Packing Up leaf verde

My Camp at Buckeye, AZ

Camp – Buckeye, AZ

I had an enjoyable time here at the very well maintained Leaf Verde RV Resort.  Management kept it spotless throughout my stay.  There were a number of sites that probably stay here long term (months and maybe even all year).  A number of the campers, I would say most, here are “snowbirds” from all over the US and Canada.  Since I arrived months later than others, it felt like  I was arriving late to the party, but everyone was very accepting of newcomers.  I met many people, I can’t remember  all of their names.  I don’t consider myself a very social person, but I did attend several evening get-to-gathers.  Most were spontaneous and all were informal.  On my move out day, after I was packed and hitched up to the workhorse, I spent another 45 minutes saying goodbye to those I met.

After leaving, I drove to Orangewood RV in Surprise, AZ for an evaluation of my  Coach warranty work that I wanted to get out of the way.  All of the items were very small.  They will need to submit them to Grand Design and I will return the following week for the repairs.

Overall I am happy with my Coach and the quality has met my expectations.  It seems to be a quality unit.  I will continue posting about any issues that arise as my travels continue.

Safe Travels…Gary



Arizona Parks, Estrella Mountain Hike

Arizona Parks

Estrella Mountains Horse Area

Estrella Mountains Horse Area Facility

Last week my adventures led me to Estrella Mountain Regional Park for a short hike into the desert.  It’s funny to me, when I hear “regional park” I think of the big green parks in California.  Here it’s miles of desert with mostly developed or dirt roads, maintained trails,  cactus and brush, often unexpected park facilities like tables, fire pits and parking. Usually a nice entrance with a park office and gift shop.  In the case of Estrella Mountain, there was a newer horse arena with lights and numerous baseball diamonds in one area.  Most of this is unused during the hotter seasons from my observations. Arizona definitely invests in it’s facilities!  Many of it’s parks have covered playgrounds, some quite large.

Hike Preparation

I haven’t covered preparation for going on hikes, whether here in the desert or in the lush mountains. I use the “All Trails” app almost exclusively for choosing a hike or outing.  If you haven’t used this yet, it’s a great tool for planning your hikes.  You can identify trails around you, how popular they are along with other physical descriptions of terrain.

Water is so overlooked by most people and that will get a person in to trouble almost immediately. 201403 Camelbak I purchased a “Camelbak” water pack.  There are many sizes and styles for any sport.  I chose a “day waist pack” since I mostly go on short hikes.  The pack holds 2 liters of water and it stays cool in the pack.  It also has room for the following items: compass, whistle, weather protection, sunscreen, at least minimal first aid supplies (for you and your dog if you have a companion), nourishment for the length of time you are traveling plus extra for unforeseen problems.  I also carry a “Leatherman” tool.  Getting ready to go by checking your list should be deliberate.  Several times I have driven an hour only to discover I forgot sunscreen and had to buy yet another tube, which isn’t cheap.

 The Hike

I left late morning with plans to arrive around 9 AM.  I would hike in and out in less than 2 hours before the heat of the day. On arriving I met Steve who told me he had moved from California 45 years ago and loves it here.  His daughter lives in Missoula, about 45 minutes from my home in Hamilton.  He was getting ready to go on a ride up the trail I chose, but would continue out of the park into the desert for the day.  On his departure I asked him if I could get a shot of him and his horse and he obliged.  Then off he rode and off I walked!  I enjoy the hike, but I like the idea of bringing your horse along (if I had one).

Immediately across the valley I saw another group of people on horseback.

See the group on horseback?

See the group on horseback?

I continued my trek into the desert and never saw another soul.  The quiet almost hurt my ears.  It’s a time you can focus on the miracle of life around you.  On my search to find life in the desert, I did see some more blooms that fascinate me.  I know it’s late in the season.  Next year I will get out here earlier so I can experience the full bloom.

On the way out I discovered mountain lion tracks, but didn’t see any other evidence of one in the area.  A stimulating walk in the desert overall and not seeing another human being until my hike back out, right when I approached the trail head.  Several groups of riders going out for the day and afternoon.

Until the next post, safe travels…Gary



Return to White Tank Mountain

I went for a walk here…

…at my camp in Buckeye earlier today.  The temperature is warming up and quite nice for an early walk.

The RV Campground where I am camped is thinning out quickly as the Snowbirds return North, continuing their adventure or possibly returning home.  There are visitors here from all over the U.S. and Canada. 

By the afternoon on Tuesday, it was 86 degrees and very windy.  Several “Dust Storms” were reeking havoc on the Phoenix area with visibility reported on the news of only a few feet for short times, causing havoc on the commutes. Fortunately it wasn’t that bad here in Buckeye.  Wednesday, the wind started up again late in the morning and was worse in our area, with gusts up to 35 MPH.  I spent most of the late morning and afternoon hunkered down in my Coach.  The Coach was rocking, about equivalent to a “C” ticket ride at Disneyland, not quite up to the “E” class, I am glad of that.  I took this opportunity to get caught up on my blog and photos I have taken in the past few days.

Last weekend I visited my Son…

… and his family again.  It’s been real nice to see them weekly.  That wasn’t the case since they moved here several years ago.  This visit Jane and Dick were also visiting from California to see the family and grandchildren.  It was nice to see them again. We spent time visiting, shopping and going out for meals with the kids and grand-kids.

Last week I invited my Daughter-in-law and Grandchildren…

…to go for a day hike on the trail I hiked at The White Tank Mountains.  We arrived late morning.  Boy were the kids excited.  They put on their camelbak’s (backpack with a water bladder) and adjusted their “trekking” poles and they were ready to go.

The kids inspecting a find

The kids inspecting a find

They were cute pointing out their finds along the way and making sure I documented it with my camera.

They were amazing hiking the entire two mile loop there and back, never complaining or asking to be carried.  I enjoyed getting out in nature and getting to inspect the petroglyphs once again.  They fascinate me and my imagination runs wild.  What were the different tribes and clans really like?

Thanks for stopping by, safe travels…




Painted Rock Petroglyph Site – Gila Bend

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Wednesday, I meandered down to Gila Bend…to visit another published petroglyph site here in Arizona. I enjoyed… Continue reading


Day Hike – White Tank Mountains

This gallery contains 12 photos.

If you are wondering, like I was… …why were the “White Tank Mountains” given that name? Apparently it goes back to the mid to late 1800′s.  It was right after gold was discovered in central Arizona. One of the first … Continue reading


California Here I Come, Again

This gallery contains 3 photos.

On Friday February 28th, before the rain came I was… …able to get my Coach hooked up and settled into my site.  My home is now at Leaf Verde in Buckeye, Arizona.  It is similar to my first camp in … Continue reading


The Storm is Coming

This gallery contains 2 photos.

The first part of this week… …I spent taking care of some personal items.  It’s hard to believe tax time is just around the corner.  Yep, that killed most of one day.  I am glad I was organized as last … Continue reading


More Lake Pleasant Visitors

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Photo Update for President’s Day Weekend visit … …The grandchildren were eager to “go out” on the lake and Beth suggested I rent a kayak.  Great idea.  I took Aiden, the oldest first and he fished for a while as … Continue reading


President’s Holiday Weekend

This gallery contains 6 photos.

I entertained some VIP’s at my Lake Pleasant camp… …during the Presidents Holiday weekend.  Nana and the Grandchildren from Orange County, California flew into the Phoenix airport Thursday of last week.   They were picked up by my Daughter-in-law and … Continue reading


Wednesday morning February 12th, I began to prepare..

…the Coach for travel which will be the first time I have moved since accepting delivery on Monday in Ehernberg, Arizona.  Fortunately I made a Departure Check List and finished it for this event and future ones.  Currently it is three pages long and I have it set up to use on my tablet.  Over the next few weeks I will continue to revise and reduce it as I learn what I need to focus on each time I go through the departure process.  I was surprised that my preparation took several hours, making sure everything inside and out was ready for the journey to my next camp site.   That being done I finished the Departure Check List as I hitched the Coach and plugged in the electrical to the Workhorse.  I thought, “I’m ready to go”, while climbing in and starting the Workhorse up. Then the Workhorse gave a tug, hmm that feels a little heavier than it did several days ago.  I guess it is about three hundred plus pounds more as now I unloaded the Workhorse, moving everything into the Coach.  Anyway, away I went down the road for a three hour trip which will take me to the next camp.

As soon as I turned out onto highway 60…

… I realized I forgot something.  It was almost lunch and all I have had in the

Hwy 60, Miles of, well not much, but beautiful in it's own way

Hwy 60, Miles of, well not much, but beautiful in it’s own way

excitement is a coffee.  The Coach is all closed up.  Even stopping now I would need to extend out one of the slides to get to my pantry, where the dry food was, as nothing in the refrigerator to speak of.  Oh well out in the middle of no where, literally, I pray that food will soon show up on the horizon.  No sooner than the words leaving my mind and a Bar-Grille flies by on my right.  Questionable parking for the Workhorse and Coach and no time to adjust my speed.  Swish, too late…. shucks.  I slow down and pay a little more attention.  What’s that ahead? A market? That will work and there is a spot to park off the pavement.  I stop.

Market? Well not really.

Market? Well not really.

I get out of my truck…

… and walk back to the Market.  Hmm, not to promising.  I approach the door and hear a dog.  That’s strange for a business.  I open the door and behold a cute little Yorkie meets me and sniffs his approval.  A older lady who is apparently running the establishment greets meet along with her husband who was working in the back.  I think to myself “I don’t think I will find any food to eat here”.  I was right, the nice lady and man explain, while they do have snacks and candy, they are more of a flea market, selling all kinds of items and antiques.  They do tell me about a Cafe down the road just a few miles past Salome, AZ.  So I thank them, say good bye and take off down the road.

Sure enough down the road past Salome, AZ …

… was a little Cafe at an old, old motel probably from the 50′s that was being

Good Food

Roadside Cafe – East of Salome HWY 60

refurbished.  I stopped and wasn’t disappointed.  Nice friendly people and good food.  I would   stop here again if I passed by this way some day.

I continued my adventure down highway 60, uneventful and arriving at my destination around 2:00 pm.  Much better, I thought to myself.  I checked in and found my campsite very easily.


Okay don’t get paranoid…

… I have done this with several trailers before.  I had to back in my Coach into it’s home for the next week or two.

Home for the next week or two.

Home for the next week or two.

It was large and very few other rigs were near by.  I took my time and well should I say it took more than once to get it right.  But I did get it eventually.

Unfortunately I didn’t finish my “Arrival Check List” so I did everything pretty much from memory. I got the coach pretty level this time.  I did pretty good right up to the “disconnect” from the Workhorse.  I disengaged the hitch locking mechanism, removed the safety line, and got in the truck pull forward.  I pulled the Workhorse forward but something didn’t feel right, oh man I forget to remove the electrical plug.  It didn’t look damaged, but when I leave I will find out for sure.

By 4:00 pm I am fully setup…

…at my new location and by dinner time starting to feel like relaxing.  I made a quick meal using items I purchased in Quartzite a few days ago.  After dinner I went for a walk and was treated to the most awesome display you could image.

Lake Pleasant RV Resort - Arizona

First night Lake Pleasant RV Resort – Arizona

What an awesome creation we live in.  I wish I appreciated it as much as it is due, but hopefully on my journey I will learn to do just that.

Safe travels until the next time…

The Delivery Continued

The Coach is ready to go.

The Coach is ready to go.

Monday afternoon, February 10th…

…the transportation company for my coach arrived a little early and went right to work hooking up my fifth wheel Coach and going over the details of the delivery in Ehrenberg, Arizona, about two and one-half to three hours away.  After getting ready, saying good bye to Beth and thanking her for the help and support during the orientation process, we were off.  Traveling to the pick-up point was uneventful other than high winds in the

Workhorse Awaits the Challenge

Workhorse Awaits the Challenge

Palm Springs area.  I am thankful we went through that with no problems.  I followed my Coach most of the way, but traded positions out of sheer boredom.  After approximately two and one half hours we arrived in Ehernberg, Arizona and met the Notary who would witness the transfer of ownership at Wendy’s at 5:00 pm (6:00 pm Arizona time).  All papers were signed, notarized properly and now it was time for me to do my turn.  Of course it was after dark like I was dreading.  The guy from the transportation company was awesome and for the life of me I can’t remember his name.  If I find his card I will update this post later.  He assisted me making the hook-up to my Workhorse hitch and gave me a few words of encouragement and I was off (after the sunset).

This isn’t too bad – white knuckle time …

…I say to myself as I am cruising down the highway with 12,000 additional pounds behind me.

Day time version of what welcomed me - pitch black

Day time version of what welcomed me – pitch black

Everything continued to go well and I pulled into the Black Rock RV village around 7:00 pm where I would spend the next couple of days

unpacking about ten boxes of stuff, then finding a place to put it where I could find it again someday.  I decided I needed to get rid of more stuff soon, I just don’t need all

Two days of unpacking and organizing

Two days of unpacking and organizing

of these things.


The adventure day one

The adventure day one






Well another day ends and I will be hitting the road in the morning for Lake Pleasant (Wednesday).  Until then safe travels…

The Delivery

Monday morning February 10th…

…I woke at 4:00 am.  At least I was able to sleep about six hours as my anticipation was way to high to go back to sleep.  I got up and got ready for the day and started packing my Workhorse with most of my worldly possessions.  At the last minute I decided to leave some of the items I wouldn’t need right away in storage, since now I am going to return to OC to get an unexpected dental procedure done.  This is a good thing as it will make my transition during today easier, postponing about 10 boxes (200 lbs) of my toys for later.  My only pause in my final packing of my Workhorse, was to go to The Coffee Bean for “breakfast”.

At 8:15 am I left my home for the last time…

— and headed for Mike Thompson RV Center in Colton, California.  I arrived about 30 minutes early and my friend, Beth arrived shortly after.  The technician was already there so my orientation started a little early.  Good news in my mind because I was already thinking about the time and “sundown”.  I wanted to avoid an after dark setup as much as possible, especially my first one.  My coach appeared to be clean and in good shape.  All ready to started the adventure.   By noon my head was about as full as it was going to get without leaking information.   Beth was combing all the ornamental details of the coach  and it’s appointments looking for defects.  She found a few that will need to be addressed.  They were documented and I finished more paperwork to finalize everything and we then took a break for lunch.

After returning from lunch around 1:30 pm…

…we were told the transportation company was set up to arrive around 2:30 PM.  So we wait for them, while enjoying my purchase.

I have to take a break for the morning, safe travels, the adventure continues…


The Adventure Begins

On Schedule… depart tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. on my adventure.   The last couple of days have been a wild ride, nothing new though it’s been that way for the last 3 or 4 months. I started at 6:00 a.m. This morning and just finished loading the last thing that I intend to or have the energy for tonight.  I will be up early to finish packing tomorrow morning, lock my door for the last time and then off to Mike Thompson in Colton for my orientation.  After that I will be leaving for Quartzite, AZ to receive delivery of my Coach.  There are many more details I want to share with you, however I’m exhausted and need to go to sleep. I will post another article tomorrow night to let you know how everything went and fill you in on some of the details I haven’t shared yet.

Untill then,  safe travels…