We left Phoenix late on Saturday and headed south to Catalina State Park to start testing our new upgrades. They have water and electric sites, so we can plug in if needed.
Not much to see on the way, but what a beautiful park in the lovely Oro Valley.
A fabulous view of Mount Lemmon from every site we stayed in, we had to move 4 times in 10 days due to availability.
Another item we included in our solar/battery install was outside lighting, pretty important when camping in the desert to prevent the nighttime critters from crawling up through the wheel wells and gnawing on the wiring.
During our 10 day stay the temperature soared to the mid 80’s and we only have the bedroom AC unit capable of running off the inverter/batteries, but we had the 1 AC/electric stove/washer/dryer being powered through the new 3k inverter, and we were testing what we could run simultaneously before we broke it. It did not take long to find out with the AC and any other higher draw appliance it would be more draw than the inverter could handle and the batteries would be depleated quicker then the solar could replenish. So, we had to flip the breaker back on and use the supplied park electricity. The electric site turned out to be a good idea instead of having to run the generator to power the AC and replenish the batteries.
Or….. we could replace breakfast with dinner and give the solar a chance to replenish during the day.
Not being able to visit any attractions we decided to take a drive up Mount Lemmon Hwy. through the Coronado National Forest.
Also known as the Catalina Highway, the road curves around the mountain offering breathtaking views at every turn
Some very interesting HooDoo’s.
The summit is at an elevation of 9,000’ with Mt Lemmon Ski Valley on the NE side which receives 200 inches of snow per year.
Summerhaven is a small town close to the peak housing both full time and seasonal residents.
This was the first we saw of social distancing at the local Trader Joe’s where only a certain amount of shoppers were allowed in, the line outside was taped every 6’ to allow everyone their personal space
So we went geocaching, a good opportunity to get out and exercise a bit . Caches are often placed on the tops of hills.
Some of the caches have some quite interesting contents.
Next cache took us around the equestrian area, that was a bust.
But the next was a real find.
A bit intimidating at first as it was an ammo box with 2 purple wires attached.
Upon opening it, there was a challenge to answer 3 questions about the park which allowed entry to the cache inside. It was rather like diffusing a bomb with all the screens and buttons. ( would it blow up if we answered the questions incorrectly? )
We left Catalina State Park to head to NM, the plan then was to travel north to CO
We’d planned to dry camp in Bowie at the Indian Bread Rocks just west of NM.. We left the I-10 at Bowie and drove down Pistachios Lane., appropriately named.
Then we took a turn to what we thought was the camping area. Turns out we left the road too early and ended up on a horse trail. Once we were totally lost we decided to scout around in the Jeep, arse backwards as usual. Massive desert pin striping on the coach.
We eventually found the camping area but the last spot had just been taken. Plan B?
We drove back into town, pop. 350, and pulled into Dwaynes Jerky and Mountain View RV Park.
It was a perfectly good spot for the night, plus they had homemade pecan pie for sale, the other crop that’s in abundance in Bowie.
At this point we were at a crossroads. All the National Parks and forests were closed to camping, NM State Parks had been closed and there was now a huge concern in the RV world that the RV Parks would be next
We decided then that it would be a smart idea to find a park that was open and just stay safe. So we are going to continue our testing in hopefully cooler weather and hunker down at the same time.