Updated: Sep 5
Phoenix Arizona while on contract in Fort Defiance Arizona (staying in Gallup, NM)
CAIRN TRAVELER VLOG | EP 29
This week's trip to Phoenix was awesome!! I got the Airstream hitch and lift welding done by Cliff's Welding in Mesa and it turned out great!! I was able to finish my BLS and PALS renewal in Tempe. And I was able to visit some great parks in southern Arizona - Saguaro National Park, Casa Grande National Monument, Tonto National Monument, Lost Dutchman State Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and Tumacacori National Historic Park. I also have a fix for the Airstream fridge latch failure (which resulted in a bunch of cans rolling around the Airstream for most of the trip).
Be creative and find your adventure this week!! ✌️😎
DAY 1 (Friday)
I’m continually impressed with how easy it is to pack up the Airstream and get on the road - it’s down to about 30 minutes (both backup and setup), and one of my latest hacks is to use a collapsible fabric storage cube for tabletop decorations and knickknacks. After the approximately 5 hour drive from Gallup to Phoenix (from I40 to I17), I checked in to the lovely Eagle View RV Resort just outside Phoenix in Fountain Hills - an absolutely lovely and well-laid out park. Though a back in space (and I haven’t backed in the Airstream since Harbor RV in California), it went well without any issues on the first attempt. Temperatures were routinely in the 110s by 10AM and it was unfortunately hazy in Phoenix due to recent fires but nonetheless I got to visit some amazingly beautiful parks.
DAY 2 (Saturday)
With the drop-off appointment for the Airstream welding job on Monday, I took the extra couple of days to visit some National Park sites in southern Arizona. This first trip day took me down to Tucson and Saguaro National Park with hikes in both the Eastern Rincon Mountain District and the Western Tucson Mountain District. I also got to drive the Cactus Forest Loop Drive in the Western district.
The return trip back to Phoenix took me to one of the largest Pueblo dwellings I have ever seen at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. I was also able to hit Tonto National Monument which contained some cliff dwellings but unfortunately the hiking trail up closes by noon due to the heat - nonetheless it was a beautiful drive and exploration through the Salt River and Roosevelt Reservoir area.
For some amazing black and white versions of these photos, check out the
DAY 3 (Sunday)
Sunday’s early morning trip took me to one of my bucket list locations at Lost Dutchman State Park just outside Phoenix in Apache Junction. The singular Superstition Mountains are eerily astounding and Lost Dutchman is a beautiful park. Unfortunately the Tonto National Forest (to which Lost Dutchman lies adjacent) was closed due to fire restrictions so must of the longer trails were closed - luckily I had the bikes with me and got to see the majority of the main park loop trail with the mountain bike.
I stopped for some groceries and snacks at a very nice Fry’s Market (in a seemingly very nice area of Apache Junction). I was in the store from 30-45 minutes and returned to find the bikes stolen off my rack - both the new mountain bike (Santa Cruz Hightower) and the road bike that has been with me for over 10 years (Trek CrossRip Elite) and was one of the few things I brought with me on the road from home. The bikes were cable-locked to the rack but apparently that didn’t stop the thief. I called the police to do a police report as one does but apparently this is functionally useless. It turns out the store cameras did not reach that part of the parking lot (about midway through the parking lot - by no means a secluded corner - according to the very helpful police officer, this is an ongoing issue with the store). I learned you should really write down your bike serial numbers (I went back through records trying to find them later but the new bike seemed to have no record of the serial number in the documentation from Back Country and the old bike was so old I couldn’t find any documentation at all). I also spoke with my auto insurance company (State Farm) but they had no coverage options for bike theft. So while I had just gotten to use the mountain bike one last time, it turns out the entire reason for coming to Phoenix (welding a hitch for the bike rack) was now a mute point.
Once I get the bike kit set back up (essentially re-purchasing the bikes), I plan to double cable lock the bikes to the rack as well as install Apple Air Tags on the bikes to attempt to track in the future event of theft (also placing in both the truck and the Airstream because theft would be catastrophic).
After Lost Dutchman, I used the remainder of the day to travel down to the U.S./Mexico Border and visit Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - a hot and desolate location in the Sonoran Desert but also lovely in what seems like gardens of cactus.
DAY 4 (Monday)
Bright and early I dropped off my home at Cliff’s Welding in Mesa, AZ for both a rear hitch installation and a 3” lift (as I don’t do a whole lot of dry camping, the lift wasn’t strictly necessary at this time and could have been postponed but I thought it would be best to get everything done at the same time). The hitch is rated for 300lbs per Cliff’s and will well accommodate two bikes (road and mountain) - this was intended to work with the Kuat Sherpa 2.0 2-Bike Rack I got several months ago (a combination idea from Keep Your Daydream’s video, RVing with Bikes: Best Travel Trailer Bike Rack?). You may see a solution where people have had a hitch installed IN the chrome Airstream bumper - this does reduce some clearance issues but you also lose the storage space in the bumper which is something I did not want to do. The hitch combined with the lift negates the clearance loss on the rear.
I had my Basic Life Support (BLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification renewals (just the physical - basically just CPR - portion) at LBW Training Center in Tempe (just another thing to knock off in Phoenix). And now homeless with the pup Hiker and with temps in the 110s, I had to pull rather iffy move (particularly after getting the bikes stolen) of leaving the truck running while in the class. Everything went well and my experience with LBW was absolutely GREAT - would HIGHLY recommend (a completely automated manakin process which I’m very much used to)!!
After a few errands running around Phoenix, I checked into a very nice (and pet friendly) DoubleTree by Hilton in Mesa for the night and treated myself to some Red Lobster (which I haven’t had in over ten years).
DAY 5 (Tuesday)
I originally planned to spend the morning video editing but instead decided to head back down to the border to bag another National Parks site at Tumacacori National Historic Park - a beautiful old Spanish mission site. Walking inside this old mission with it’s carved wooden doors and crumbling plastered brick walls, you might feel like you’re walking inside some European church location. It’s definitely a small site but well worth a visit if you’re down in that area. Unfortunately I did not have time to knock out Coronado National Monument in El Paso but we’ll save that one for another day.
Just after noon, I got the call that the Airstream was ready for pickup at Cliff’s Welding, and I was already on the way back to Phoenix. I arrived to find myself absolutely in love with the hitch and lift work Cliff’s had done - I could not be more happy with this.
After picking up home, I then headed back to Gallup to set up camp again before headed back in to work the next day. On the way back, I got to try some testing on the Tekonsha P3 Brake Controller - I keep getting an “Input Overload” message - and it seems the manual brake switch doesn’t have any effect which leads me to think the brakes may be truly offline. So far the truck seems to be able to stop the trailer without much difficulty but its definitely something to factor in with stopping and following distance and definitely something I’ll have to continue to try to get to the bottom of.
Editing: Adobe Premier Pro (Creative Cloud)
Music: Epidemic Sound, MUSICBED, Soundstripe, YouTube Music Library
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