2013 Year in Photographic Review

I took this shot at the ATV Campground north of Phoenix.

I took this shot at the ATV Campground north of Phoenix.

This is the second part of my review of 2013. I’m going back and posting or re-posting photos I’ve taken and trying to remember the year. I’m doing this partly  from nostalgia–I just like going back and seeing the photos and reliving the experiences. But I’m equally looking for lessons I’ve learned over the year so that I’m sure I hold onto them and incorporate them into my life. Last time we looked at January and February, so this time we’ll start at March.

That's Shadow Mountain which is on Interstate 10 about 20 miles West of metro Phoenix

That’s Shadow Mountain which is on Interstate 10 about 20 miles West of metro Phoenix. I was out for a walk with my friends Jeff and RV Sue

MARCH:

March is starting to get hot in the desert so it was time for me to start moving toward higher country where it’s cooler. In the past I was a campground host so that meant working my way toward where I would be working, but this year was different because this time I couldn’t work as a host because of my arm. This was the year when the saga of my arm finally came to an end so I need to explain it for much of the year to make sense.

Ocotillo in bloom at Shadow Mountain.

Ocotillo in bloom at Shadow Mountain.

The Saga of my Broken Arm: In August, 2011 I was riding my motorcycle while working on my job as a campground host. I severely broke both my elbow and wrist. It was such a bad break that it required 4 surgeries and 8 months of physical therapy. Even with all that I was left with a permanent lose of range of motion  and a loss of strength. My doctor had told me in August of 2012 that he had done everything he could do to repair it and there was no need for me to see him anymore and he discharged me.  But that wasn’t the end of my issues with my arm.

I loved this camp at Shadow Mountain!

I loved this camp at Shadow Mountain!

Because it happened on the job it was a workman’s compensation case and because it was a permanent disability there had to be final Doctors report and  legal settlement where they paid me a cash settlement.  I has already gotten a lawyer and everything was proceeding. It happened in California so it had to go through their courts which are very slow, plus, the insurance company was dragging it’s feet so the settlement just drug on and on. In April, 2013 I had my final Doctors visit. He was appointed by the courts to make the final decision on my disability and he determined that I had a 34% lose of use of my arm and could never return to work as a campground host. Things drug on very slowly and finally in September they made a final settlement offer. I accepted it and in October it was finalized and in November I got a check in the mail. Finally, more than 2 years after I wrecked the bike, it was over! Hallelujah!! 

In March I stopped at this camp at an ATV Campground on the way to Wickenberg. It was incredibly green and lush, one of my all time favorites.

In March I stopped at this camp at an ATV Campground on the way to Wickenberg. It was incredibly green and lush, one of my all time favorites.

There was a herd of wild burros living near the campground and I both saw and heard them often.

There was a herd of wild burros living near the campground and I both saw and heard them often.

The reason that story is important is that for the first time in 4 years I was free to spend the summer anywhere I wanted.  I didn’t have to go to work somewhere and I didn’t have to stay in California for medical or legal reasons. All I had to do was decide where I wanted to go and start working my way toward it to get out of the desert heat. I’d heard great things about Flagstaff and Arizona’s Mogollon Rim and had been wanting to spend time there. (Mogollon is pronounced mo-gee-yawn. In Spanish the “LL” is pronounced “yu” as in yuck. So Ocotillo is pronounced as Ahk-oh-tee-yo.) 

Even the cactus was beautiful and lush at the ATV Campground.

Even the cactus was beautiful and lush at the ATV Campground.

I knew the area around Flagstaff was beautiful and cool in the summer and would also be a great place for the summer RTR. As a huge bonus it was close by so I didn’t have to spend a lot of money on gas getting there. My friend Steve has been traveling with me for a few years and we are both on a budget so saving money on gas was a high priority to both of us. That meant that we wanted to end up in Flagstaff in June for the RTR so we got out our maps and looked for stops along the way at progressively higher (and therefore cooler) elevations .  Wickenburg was at 2500 feet and Prescott was at 5500 so they were perfect steps leading up to Flagstaff at 7000.

A field of Poppies.

A field of Poppies.

There were Mexican poppies in bloom everywhere.

There were Mexican poppies in bloom everywhere.

So in March I started my move north by spending two weeks at Shadow Mountain which is on BLM land about 20 miles west of Phoenix on Interstate 10. The reason I stopped there is my fellow blogger RVSue was there and I had been hoping to meet her. It turned out to be a great decision because it was a great campsite in a beautiful setting and I tremendously enjoyed meeting and spending some time with Sue.

The Free ATV Campground on BLM Land:

From there I moved to Wickenberg with one stop on the way. I found a free campground that was mainly for ATVs and off-road vehicles so I was leery of it because of the noise and dust. I stopped anyway and I’m so glad I did. It was in spring and we had plenty of rain so that the desert had turned a lush green and was in full bloom. It was gorgeous! The ATVs weren’t too bad because I was their on weekdays. But I knew they would be unbearable on the weekend so I left on Thursday before they got too thick. 

Steve's and my camp at Wickenberg.

Steve’s and my camp at Wickenberg.

Wikenberg:

I loved Wickenberg!! The town is great and we had a fantastic campsite. It overlooked a big wash which gave us a great view and it was spring so lots of desert plants were in bloom. The town has a great Old-West feel to it and was very friendly.  It’s one disadvantage was that the wash below was full of ATVs on the weekend. But they were far enough away it was no big deal. I liked it so much that I plan to make Wickenberg a stop along the way north from now on .

The creosote was in bloom everywhere.

The creosote was in bloom everywhere.

Brittlebush in bloom just down the hill from my trailer.

Brittlebush in bloom just down the hill from my trailer.

This is the view from the front door of my trailer. I loved it!

This is the view from the front door of my trailer. I loved it!

The cactus were in full bloom while we were there.

The cactus were in full bloom while we were there.

2013-rev-agave

I think this is the biggest Saguaro cactus I've ever seen. It was just below my camp.

I think this is the biggest Saguaro cactus I’ve ever seen. It was just below my camp.

 

The dust and noise of ATVs are just part of boondocking. They are one of the reasons I look for remote and private camp sites.

The dust and noise of ATVs are just part of boondocking. They are one of the reasons I look for remote and private camp sites.

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

34 comments on “2013 Year in Photographic Review
  1. Openspaceman says:

    Bob_

    That Shadow Mountain pic makes me want to get a trailer…what a great setup if your gonna stay in one place and camp for a while. But when I finally break free I’ ll probably want to do some traveling every few weeks…but once the gas budget starts getting strained I think the van w/trailer is perfect.

    • Bob Bob says:

      openspaceman, that sounds like a great plan!! Most people want to travel a lot their first year so waiting makes perfect sense! Go for it!
      Bob

  2. jim says:

    Great pictures mr bob i really enjoy them hope you have a great new year coming up soon seams the older we get the faster there come it’s hard to belive we are looking at a new year all ready, As we get older we start going by the season more that the days,weeks and months one day it’s spring next day it’s summer think you so much for showing us s&b people there is a other ways to live happy,be careful on your new motorcycle

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks for your kind words Jim! Yes, time seems to fly by as I get older, that’s for sure!! That just me even more determined to pack everything into the time I have before it flies away!
      Bob

  3. David says:

    Great photos, Bob! Makes me want to get back on the road. I hope to see you again this summer, somewhere.

    Best to you in 2014!

    David
    Baltimore

  4. Rodney says:

    What great pictures, Bob. I didn’t realize how green it was out there being from Michigan. I’m thinking of converting a cargo trailer like you have.Can you stand up in yours or is it lower profile?

    • Bob Bob says:

      Rodney, believe me, it is rarely that green!! It only happens for a brief time, in just the right conditions, in a few places. I was just at the right place at the right time!!

      Cargo trailers come in all kinds of sizes and shapes. Mine is 6’3″ inside but you can get them lower if you want and probably even higher, I don’t know for sure. I have been very happy with mine and recommend them.
      Bob

  5. Rob says:

    Have you read any Louis L’amour books? So many of his stories were set in same location you’ve been spending time…
    Rob recently posted…I find myself waitingMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      I haven’t read any Louis L’amour, but I do know that this whole area has a very rich history in the old West. hat’s one of the reasons why I love it so much.
      Bob

  6. jonthebru says:

    Great subjects, nice pictures. Keep going, you aren’t done yet.

  7. Joni says:

    Bob;

    Beautiful pics, thanks for sharing them…spring in the desert is quite an awakening and it happens so quickly, one night you go to bed with ground and wake up to a carpet of lushness.

    The desert gets a bad rap as being wasteland, no other region blasts its way into life like that, personally I don’t think spring is a fast enough word.

    I’m sorry to hear about your arm although with your thoughtful ways you’ve managed to find the serendipity in it and what you lost in range of motion gave you a bigger mobility to range.

    I’m glad to hear your year is wrapping up on a good note…see you soon…

    Joni

    • Bob Bob says:

      Joni, I really like that loosing range of motion in my arm gained me range of motion to travel. It really is true and I never thought about it exactly like that. Thanks!

      See you soon!
      Bob

  8. Walt says:

    Some lovely scenery. I am especially drawn to the Shadow Mountain location. Perhaps it’s because of the lighting. Given your desire to be off the beaten path, as it were, I suspect it might be a little tough to get in there with a motorhome or fifth-wheel. But, a fellow can dream. 🙂
    Walt recently posted…#137 – Thoughts on Faith, Spirituality, and Religion, Part ThreeMy Profile

  9. Wayne says:

    Gorgeous pictures Bob.

    Could you give us more details on the Shadow mountain location. I can’t find a BLM shadow mountain location west of Phoenix. There is a Shadow Mountain in north phoenix, though.

    Thanks, Wayne

  10. The photo with the burros has a vintage postcard feel. How did Homer react to them?
    Al Christensen recently posted…One potato, two potatoMy Profile

    • Bob Bob says:

      Al, Homer doesn’t care about anything that doesn’t run. He doesn’t bat an eye at horses, cows turtles or burros. But squirrels, rabbits and deer are a different story!! He absolutely loses his mind!

  11. lonfu says:

    Hi Bob, boy did you get lucky. The 2013 spring was the wettest one that I’ve seen since 2000. I’m up north of kingman and we had more strange plants spring up out of the desert that I had never seen before here. The most amazing here were the small yellow flowers and grasss carpet that sprung up and covered everywhere. I still have weeding(fire control) from last spring that needs to be done. It was truely a fabulous glorius spring. It has been a warm winter here so I can hardly wait to see if we get a repeat preformance this year.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Ionfu, it was a spectacular spring that I really enjoyed! We haven’t had much rain so I’m not optimistic about this spring. But there is still time to get it so there is hope!
      Bob

  12. Jack Grit says:

    Nice photo’s It would have been cool if there were something to give the giant saguaro some perspective (a human for example). Love the ocotillo shot.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jack, Saguaro don’t get super tall because they have to suck the moisture up to the top and hold it there in storage for long periods of time. Instead they grow extra arms. Big ones have arms, out of arms, out of arms. Because this one has so much foliage around it I could walk around it to get a good count, but this one had at least 20 arms and it seems to me it may have had 25-30. And some of the arms are big, the size of an smallish saguaro.

      The majority of Saguaro only have 5 arms at most so this one was very old.
      Bob

      • Jack Grit says:

        Thanks for the info Bob. I was not aware if it. I lived in AZ for about 9 years – Cochise county. I took gazillions of photos of saguaro. I especially like the diseased specimens. Ansel Adams took a great shot of one such animal. I collect photo’s. Although your information is no doubt the rule, I have a hand tinted shot of what looks like a 25-30 foot tall, thin, three or four armed saguaro. One of these days, if you would like, I can scan it and J-peg it to you. There was a man standing directly next to it giving excellent perspective. Keep shooting. It’s a great passion!

  13. Linda says:

    Beautiful pictures! You’ve been to some awesome places.

    What is the name of the campground?

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