"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Northward Trek Begins Again

We don't think of ourselves as snowbirds, because we don't have a fixed pattern of returning to the same northern and southern destinations annually, like migrating birds. But we do travel up and down the country with the seasons. So now, after almost four months in Southern California, we are finally on the road again, heading north for a gradual three month trek to our ultimate summer destination in Montana. We are happy to be on the road again.

Our journey began with a one night stand at Cocopah RV and Golf Resort in Yuma, AZ. It's surrounded by the green farmland just east of Yuma, and away from the mass of RV resorts in town.

Cocopah on the right, farm on the left

Cocopah advertises itself as a luxury sort of resort, with golf course, landscaping and many amenities, which it certainly does have.  Our favorite amenity is a very large grassy dog park with some shade - very rare in this part of the country. Although it is not fenced in, leash requirements seem to be relaxed within that space. 

Golf course and landscaping

With all its fancy stuff, however, the sites are gravel, no picnic table, and pretty close together. The hookups are behind the rig, with the sewer drain being especially far away. We had to use three sewer hoses for the first time ever.

Next stop, River Island State Park, in Parker, AZ, right on the Colorado River.  I was very happy with this place.  There are lots of RV parks along the river in Parker, many of them huge and crowded. In contrast to the norm, River Island is small, with about 30 sites, nicely spaced.  We were blessed with a little shade from small trees on both sides. The red tree below is the largest and most beautiful bottle brush tree I have ever seen, in full bloom.

River Island State Park - Site 17

Bottle brush tree blossoms

The park is on a quiet cove in the river, nestled between two sets of cliffs, 
has a great little beach, and a nice boat ramp.

The doggie friendly beach

The people beach in a quiet, calm cove

View from Wedge Mountain Trail, adjacent to park

View the other way from a high point of Wedge Mountain Trail

Area surrounding River Island SP - note the other RV parks along the Colorado

While in Parker we did a little bit of exploring. The Parker Dam Scenic Byway is on the west side of the Colorado, starting from the town of Parker, running north to Parker Dam, and back across the River, where is rejoins 95 and continues up to Lake Havasu City. The high point of that drive was the wild donkeys. There are donkey warning signs lining the roads in this part of the state, but this was the first time we'd actually seen them. There seem to be quite a few donkeys living in some of the RV parks on the west side of the river, enjoying the green grass there, and harvesting what they can from passers-by. We would often hear them from River Island. Kinda cool.

Wild donkeys along Parker Dam Scenic Byway - Mom and baby

Parker Dam

South end of Lake Havasu - at Bill Williams Nature Preserve overlook

Along Rt. 95 near Bill Williams Nature Preserve
We mostly just enjoyed the park. It was a perfect place to help Honey get used the the water. We're still expecting her to turn into a water dog any time now. There was also a fenced in dog park there, which Honey loved because it was all dirt, some of it in big, fun piles. We did not love it for the same reason. : )

Now we are at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, in Maricopa County, north of Phoenix, AZ.  It is a much larger park, on the shores of Lake Pleasant, which is heavily used on the weekend by campers, picnickers and boaters.

Site 58, Roadrunner Campground

On a quieter day, we loaded Honey and the kayaks up in the truck and drove to a place where it was pretty easy to put in without getting in the way of the big boats.

Lake Pleasant is 93% full! Guess this road is for low water years.

While one of us kayaked, the other "swam" with Honey. (More tag-teaming.) If we carry her out into the deep water she has no trouble swimming back to shore, but isn't interested yet in going in on her own.

Got one of the new Advanced Elements inflatable kayaks on the water!

 Besides, she says, "That water is cold!" 

Honey warming up after a big swim.

On our last day here I took some alone time and drove to nearby Wickenburg to visit the Desert Caballeros Western Museum.

Right now they are having their annual "Cowgirl Up: Art from the Other Half of the West" exhibit. It was a truly outstanding exhibit, with amazing talent - all contemporary women artists. I was so glad to find it. I really needed a little aesthetic holiday. 

A few works from the Desert Caballeros Western Museum's "Cowgirl Up" exhibit.

The theme boot for "Cowgirl Up."
Wickenburg and the museum really got me in the mood to "Cowgirl Up" for the rest of our Western USA adventure. I'm getting my cowgirl hat out right now. Montana, here we come!


  1. I'll definitely have to remember River Island SP next time we are in that area (maybe late next winter). Looks like you had a nice spot at Lake Pleasant too, despite the crowds.

    I can't wait to see what you get into in Montana!

  2. Yes! I think you'd really appreciate River Island. And I'm sure there are some great hikes around there too.

  3. Sorry we missed you during your stay at Lake Pleasant as we're staying just on the other side of the lake. Probably wise or your little cutie might have been doggie napped LOL. Those kayaks are enticing. We're still pondering. Safe travels north. We start our trek in a couple of weeks, Colorado bound.

    1. Well, If I could just keep up with the blog our chances of meeting would be far better! We are heading for Colorado too, in part inspired by your blog posts I believe, about places in Colorado. St. Vrain State Park for instance? Perhaps our paths will cross...


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