Tucson (Escapee Escapade) and Camp Verde Arizona
Our first Escapade, and second RV rally.
Pima County Fairgrounds, Tucson Arizona
We arrived at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson on Friday, with the Escapee Escapade not starting until Sunday. This gave us an excellent spot near a grassy area next to the Cantina that is a few steps away from all the activities. Our reservation at La Mesa RV to repair our slide-out is Monday and we have an easy exit and re-entry plan since we are at the edge of the RV parking.
Oh yes, forgot to mention our slide-out issue. 2 days before arriving in Tucson when we brought out sides in at Las Cruces we heard a ‘crunch’ from our big slide-out. At the next stop in Lordsburg the slide stopped with about ½ inch left to go in. Trying again, the slide stopped (with a crunch) with an inch left to go in.
Christine called Winnebago and they thought one of the teeth of the slide-out ram had broken, and it was OK for us to drive with it that way. Christine then scheduled a time for the repair of the slide-out in Tucson at the La Mesa RV dealer. We purchased Lola from La Mesa in Davis California and that seemed to help us get an emergency time slot while we are in Tucson.
On Monday La Mesa identified the issue: a bolt for the slide-out had broken. This is an issue they have seen before, and a permanent fix done by La Mesa – by welding a bracket in place of the bolt – resolves the problem. Of course, our service plan (extended warranty) does not cover BOLTS & SCREWS! $500 for a half a day’s labor and Lola’s is ready to rock & roll again. Thank you La Mesa for getting us in while staying at the Escapade.
We enjoyed the Tucson Escapade. Since Jeff did not volunteer this time around we were able to focus on attending seminars and going to the show. Our favorite seminars were Harvest Hosts, Habitat for Humanity (FMCA has a specific chapter associated with Habitat for Humanity), Ham Radio while traveling and boondocking. The Ham Radio and Boondocking seminars were at the same time, so Jeff went to the radio seminar and Christine went to the Boondocking seminar – hosted by Boondockers Welcome.
What we missed were non-product specific seminars. At the FMCA rally this last August in Massachusetts, most of the seminars were not product specific, but more general. The few product specific seminars were clearly labeled as such. It would have been very beneficial to have some of the special interest groups (Birds of a Feather [BOF]) present. For example there is a boondocking BOF that would have been a great topic.
The chapter area was helpful. It was fun talking with Jojoba Hills SKP (Escapee) co-op and something we may look into in the future. Also talking with the various chapters so we can figure out what local camping events we can attend was useful.
The vendor area had a good selection of products, and we made a fairly major upgrade purchasing the RViBrake3 and the associated tire monitoring. Our RViBrake2 has worked well and our TireMinder Tire Pressure Monitoring equipment monitors Lola and the Toad’s tires.
One big improvement of the RViBrake3 is that it uses a tablet interface that makes it easier for us to keep tabs on the brakes and tire pressure (using RVi Tire Patrol); plus it is one interface to watch for both functions. And I must admit that I’m a bit of a sucker getting ‘new and improved’ technology. The geek is hard to retire!
The weather was nice, and the DJI Drone Eyes of Lola took to the skies again to capture the Pima Fairgrounds and the Escapee Escapade.
The entertainment was top-notch with a Native American group (Native Spirit) performing one night, and an amazing Escapee member talent show another night.
On the Friday after Escapade, we spent the day at the Tucson 4th street fair – a huge street fair – with my cousins David and Linda who live in Tucson.
At first we planned on staying at the Thousand Trails just outside of Cottonwood, Arizona at Verde Valley so we could explore the Sedona area after Escapade, however there are no campsites available at Thousand Trails Verde Valley. We thought about staying at the BLM land near Thousand Trails, but were uncertain about finding a campsite so decided to stay at Camp Verde RV resort in (surprise!) Camp Verde.
The campground is centrally located. We explored Montezuma’s National Monument – a cliff dwelling site, Montezuma’s well, Cottonwood, Jerome (unique ghost town) and Sedona.
There is so much to see, and so little time! A week is not nearly enough time for both exploring and vegging out, so we EXPLORED!
We flew the Eyes Of Lola drone up on a ridge near Thousand Trails and at the campground at Camp Verde.
We also found a great natural food store with a variety of medications for our mature hounds, grocery stores and other ‘necessities’ such as a great coffee shop and cool tavern (with local craft beer offerings) in town.
Montezuma Castle National Monument and Tuzigoot
Montezuma Castle National Monument is the site of a cliff dwelling dating back over 1,000 years, while Tuzigoot is a hilltop structure that was carefully restored from piles of rock walls left behind from early inhabitants.
It’s amazing to walk where Native American’s lived so many years ago, and see the cultural artifacts of that civilization.
Montezuma Well is a ‘detached’ unit of the Montezuma Castle National Monument.
Along its walls is a cliff dwelling. No fish live in the water, however leeches live in there and the water bubbles up from the bottom. The well itself is very deep.
Jerome Ghost Town
Jerome is a unique ghost town that abandoned in the early 1950’s. At that time it had 3 car dealerships, movie houses and many restaurants to support the miners. Perched on the side of a mountain at an elevation of nearly 1 mile above sea level there are amazing views of the Verde Valley.
From Jerome, you can look out and see the San Francisco peaks still covered in snow.
Sedona has some spectacular scenery and is well worth the visit. The town itself is more high-end shopping destination that we spent a short time at.
Driving around the town presents lots of Photo-Ops, especially some side-trips to the surrounding parks. Humans have lived in the area for about 10,000 years!
This is an area that we plan on returning to, as there is still so much more to explore.