On the spur of the moment or in reality an attempt to escape the 110 degree heat, Peg and I decided to head north. In the day of Covid 19 it took several calls to find a campground accepting reservations; however, the good folks at Heber RV Resort had one spot left that was available until June 1. We snapped it up, got Gracie (the Winnebago View – yes we have named all our mobile vehicles, not sure why, kinda like naming your private parts I guess) out of storage, invited Payton on the spur of the moment and took off Thursday morning. We left 100 degree heat for the 80’s and it was well worth it.
Heber RV Resort is a nice place. It is well taken care of with outstanding bathrooms/showers, really good Wifi, big dog park and well manicured grounds. The location off 277 was perfect for exploring the area. We were 58 miles from Petrified Forest NP, 30 miles from the Mongollon Rim Road (NF300) and a couple of miles from Tall Pines county park.
Tall Pines is a nice park with pavilions, outhouses, picnic areas, trails and an outdoor racquetball court. Yes the graffiti covered walls are images from inside the outdoor court. Pretty obvious outdoor racquetball has seen better days. This is where Payton, Scout and I set out from on the “Meadow Trail” for a nice walkabout in the pine forest. It was determined that this trail would be good for biking and determined we would do so Saturday. Leaving the park, I decided to turn right onto the NF 50 and head into the forest.
This was the first real test of the Ranger (Lil Red). NF50 is a gravel, dirt road of unmaintained state. Ruts, holes, rocks and roots presented challenges and slow going. Lil Red preformed flawlessly in 4 wheel high. It was fun and we saw some of the otherwise hidden gems of the forest. We came upon a group of horsemen who had rounded up a herd of cattle at a water hole. There was a big ranch we drove by that had unbelievable water resources, big houses and barns with lots of animals. It was a good day.
Saturday morning Payton and I headed back to tall pines and hit the trail on our bikes. We did some 3 miles in the forest and another 3 miles on the Heber bike trail. It was a nice ride and a good work out at 6700 feet altitude. Afterwords, we rounded up Peg and Scout for a ride on the Mongollon Rim Road (NF300). The Mongollon Rim is the escarpment that crosses about 300 miles of northern Arizona boarder from New Mexico to Utah. It is named after the Mexican mayor from 1710 to 1730. The rim has cliffs as high as 1500 feet and is quite a site. The rim road is an interesting poorly maintained gravel road where there were thousands of people camping, hiking and site seeing last Saturday. The views were worth the trip.
Sunday was Petrified Forest National park day. The park was sparsely attended but at least had open bathrooms. We walked the main trail with Scout, which was the longest continuous walk since his surgery. He did well although when he found a bench he climbed right under it out of the sun. There were some scattered showers and clouds that seemed to me to reduce some of the color that I remembered from earlier visits.
Coming back today, we left temperatures in the 70’s driving down 6000 feet to find ourselves at 105. Ouch. Scouts freedom date is June 15 when the surgeon will release him, so we are not long now to be on the road. As we firm up our plans I will post our itinerary. The images linked are a compilation of images from last week. These images are of Queen Creek Canyon and Salt River Canyon off US 60, Tall Pines park in Heber, the Mongollon Rim Road, Petrified Forest and Painted Desert NP.