Since we wanted to stay close to Phoenix while we waited for our heater parts to come in, we went to the closest free campsite. Since is was close to the Phoenix suburbs, I expected the campsite to be crowded and it was. The campsite in total was less than the size of a football field and everyone was right on top of each other. The ground was uneven and in the center was pool of rancid water. It turns out this was the trailhead for a popular horse trail, which explained the large piles of horse shit everywhere.
I try to make friends when we are camping around other people. If folks like you, they will look out for your stuff when you aren’t around. They are also much more likely to lend a helping hand if you need it.
We were camped (parked) next to a fellow in a minivan. He had a table set up and was grilling polish sausages on it. I waved to him and he apologized for all the smoke he was creating. I told him that it smelled good and not to worry about it. He offered me a sample and I ate it. He then told me he’d gotten the sausages cheap and that it was dinner for his three dogs. I wondered if I was going to get sick from eating this bargain basement sausage as I looked over this man’s camp. He was clearly wasted, hadn’t washed or changed for at least a week, and there were beer bottles laying every where.
We chatted and I let him know that we had just recently gotten to Arizona. He proceeded to give me tips on the best places to go and when to go there. He’d been living on the road for quite a while and spent a deal of time living cheap in Arizona. His story was one I’d heard before. His motorhome had burned down the year before. Luckily he had been able to get his tow behind car away from the fire so that he could later trade it in on the minivan.
Nic and I only stayed one night there. I decided that while we were waiting for parts in Phoenix, we would wander towards Tucson and see what was around it. A little out of the way and about halfway there is Kearny.
The drive into Kearny is a nice mountain drive that gives way to mountains that have tiers cut into it. The scope of it is truly impressive. We later found out that this is the local copper mine and the reason that Kearny exists. Along the road to town there were groups of picketers at various points. These are the miners who are currently on strike. I found out from a local, who accused me of being a scab since I was from out of town, that the mine was trying to take way the miners health insurance.
Just right outside of Kearny is a lake. It is more of pond, but in the desert, I can forgive them for calling it a lake. There is a free campsite there and to our delight, it had amenities. Free running water, trash pickup, flush toilets and one site even had electric.
After staying for a couple days in Kearny, we decided to head to Tucson. We didn’t feel like exploring the city, so we just passed through on our way to camping out in the desert south of town. The campsite was just a pullout off of a rarely used highway. There was at least some fallen wood I could use to make a fire and enough flat ground that I could repair the bed.
Yeah, my luck hadn’t gotten any better on the trip. The last of the two latches on the bed gave way. The bed is a futon-like design. The base you sit on when it is a couch slides forward and the back folds down to make a bed. There are two latches that hold the sliding base in place when it is configured as a couch. The first one broke over a year ago and I had been putting off repairing it. Now I didn’t have any choice but to fix the problem.
I had foreseen this happening and carried two replacement latches with me. I pulled the bed cushions outside and started working. I had to completely remove the sliding platform. This is held in place on the heavy duty sliders with 30 counter sunk screws. I carry a small set of 12v power tools and the drill with the correct bit made this job much faster. After a couple hours I had it repaired and back together.
I grabbed a beer and sat down to enjoy the fire from the wood I had found and to relax.
It was part bad luck and part stupidity when my camp chair blew into the fire. I was staring off toward the horizon and smelled the chair burning before seeing it. I sat on the edge of my burnt chair and finished my beer. I decided then that we should probably just head back to Kearny. There wasn’t anything out here except rocks and cacti. At least back there, we had a close by town and amenities.
The next morning I got on the internet and ordered a couple new camp chairs. The chairs were almost in need of replacing even before I burned one up. I had them sent to General Delivery in Kearny, AZ.
I got in the driver’s seat and began the drive back to the campsite that we shouldn’t have left in the first place.