WA: Monroe – 02/11/2017 – 02/17/2017

Parking: Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Rating: 5

The Monroe Fairground is like our “home” park because it is very close to our former house, so it’s the area with which we are most familiar, but that does not mean it’s a great place to stay. It is next door to a fiberglass boat builder which absolutely reeks. The spots nearest to the factory are also the ones nearest to the bathroom, so there are always a bunch of people parked there. I have no idea how they can breathe those fumes for days without getting sick; we park on the opposite side as far away as possible. This time staying here was worse than usual because they had the water to the sites turned off for winter but were still charging full price (which is expensive by fairground standards).

We got our medical needs handled, picked up our mail, and ran some errands.

West Coast: Heading North – 02/06/2017 – 02/11/2017

Parking: Motel 6 in Hesperia, CA
Rating: 7

Parking: Harris Ranch in Coalinga, CA
Rating: 6

Parking: Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, CA
Rating: 7

Parking: Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, OR
Rating: 8

Parking: Super 8 in Kelso, WA
Rating: 8

Due to medical reasons – and the fact that Premera no longer offered the nationwide insurance plan in our “home” zip code, we needed to get back to Washington state. California was having record precipitation, and the drive was not very comfortable or entertaining – especially since we did the same drive and stayed at the same places during our initial shakedown trip to Disneyland. We had to carefully time our trip through the passes of northern California and southern Oregon to avoid the snow as we did not have our snow-chains with us.

This is my least favorite part of full-time RVing – having to push through a location as quickly as possible.

AZ: Wintersburg – 02/04/2017 – 02/06/2017

Parking: Saddle Mountain BLM land
Rating: 9

Wintersburg, AZ
Saddle Mountain

A lot of full-time RVers hit Arizona in the winter. Some stay at the over-priced, sardine-like resorts, but many opt to boondock for free out in the desert on BLM land. Everything has to be hauled in or out – there are no pit toilets, water spigots, or trash containers. I was expecting the place to look like a garbage dump, but I was pleasantly surprised as there was no litter anywhere. Folk park off the dirt roads a few hundred yards apart and pretty much keep to themselves.

We did a little bit of gem hunting, but as we put near zero effort in, we didn’t get anything out.

Wintersburg, AZ
Saddle Mountain
Wintersburg, AZ
Cactus
Wintersburg, AZ
Cactus

NM: Caballo Lake – 01/27/2017 – 02/03/2017

Parking: Caballo Lake State Park
Rating: 9

Caballo Lake, NM
Caballo Lake

Although I am not a particular fan of the high desert (I prefer trees, and the altitude gives me headaches), New Mexico is still a nice place to visit for the quiet and solitude. The clear, crisp, dark night sky alone is worth the visit.

This park had both hook-ups and primitive camping with a great section for folk with horses. Unfortunately, the lake level has been low for years – something the park system doesn’t really advertise, but there was plenty of room for some nice long walks. The nearby “village” – though clearly occupied – was strangely devoid of human life during our walks both during the day and in the evening. It reminded us of the creepy emptiness of Sprague or Diablo. On the plus side, that meant that we didn’t get chased by any off-leash dogs.

Caballo Lake, NM
Wildlife
Caballo Lake, NM
Horse Camp