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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.)
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.
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.
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 .