We spent a week at North Ranch RV Park, just north of Wickenburg, Arizona. A large section of the park is a developed neighbourhood for Escapee Members(an RV Camping Discount Club to which we belong)who live there during “our” Canadian winters and some travel north in their motorhomes during the hot summer months. We saw some great looking adobe and western style homes, most featuring fabulous cactus gardens. One home even had its own miniature village and train. Dixie loved her walks there in the evenings when many families of Quail trailed about and Cottontails could be seen in groups of three-five.
The park was quiet with the exception of the Kwooo, Koooo……Koo!!!! of the Ring-necked Doves in the morning. We took many pounds of Anza-Borrego dust out of CC on dusters, mops and in the vacuum. We managed to catch up on our sleep away from the banshee screams of the desert gales. The park keeps a huge cactus garden with pathways for strolling and benches for tranquility. There are a couple of ancient Saguaros who stand mightily overlooking the garden and whose holes, left by the Gila Woodpeckers, now house nests of busy sparrows and finches. We were lucky to catch an amazing Jesse Cook concert one evening in town.
The temperatures are more bearable here too, in the 70’s by day so it allows better hiking conditions in the Weaver Mountains and around Vulture Peak. Saguaro cactus cover the hillsides and a few blooming beavertail scream for attention with their brilliant fuchsia blooms. We also took a couple of car trips up some rickety old stagecoach routes that afforded great views over the valley. One can only imagine what the ride was like on the stagecoaches of old when the roads were no doubt, mush nastier than today!
We had a special visit with Al, Kelly and their dog Pheebs in their recently acquired “winter” home. Residents of Ontario, they have RV'd for many years spending much of their time boondocking. Al speaks from the heart in his informative blog about their adventures. Check it out : http://thebayfieldbunch.com
Chris has followed Al’s blog for years, even before we “took to the road”. The practical tips, personal tales of adventure and wealth of travel knowledge have inspired Chris very much. I now follow their blog too and it was with excitement that we met Kelly and Al in person. Last year they found their dream home in AZ and wihout giving up RVing altogether, they now take smaller trips from their home. We had a lovely visit as Dixie and Pheebs enjoyed some dog-time together. They did not require any internet bond to become friends!
Old town historic Wickenburg who has held on to its “Cowboy” roots, was fun to explore. Figurative sculptures of folks in period costume from the 1860’s–mid 1900’s; stand about the town as do painted bronze“creatures” of the desert: Roadrunners, Gila monsters, Rattlesnakes and Black Widow Spiders. Dani and Wend should trod carefully here! A self- guided walking tour highlights many sights, to name a few: Railroad Engine No.761 from 1890; Vernetta Hotel, owned and run by businesswoman, Elizabeth Smith; Jail Tree, a 200 year old tree that served as the town jail from 1863-1890;Pastime Pool Hall 1893 and Etter General Store 1864.
Sculptures of Henry Wickenburg, whose discovery of the Vulture Gold Mine, lead to the development of the town and Everett Bowman,1977, a champion Rodeo Cowboy who was elected to the Cowboy Hall of Fame, are featured in front of the handsome Town Hall.
The Desert Caballeros Western Museum, is known as one of the finest museums in Arizona. We would attest to that after viewing its historic collection of paintings and sculptures and rooms displaying saddles, bridles, harnesses, cowboy and cowgirl clothing and memorabilia from western movies. There are some dioramas of western life as well as full scale home and country store. Their current exhibition was called “Cowgirl Up” and it showed an enormous number of high quality paintings and sculpture, all created by cowgirl artists. Amazing!
Cowgirl Up Show..oops, I took a few shots before I saw the No Photos sign…..sorry!
Within a short drive of North Ranch Camp, are a number of interesting antique and junk shops which proved fun to browse around. All around the Sonoron Desert ,one can find lots to see and do.