Superstition Butte, Apache Junction, Arizona

WE got settled in to our new site. Not a bad site at all, graveled with a concrete patio area for the door to open on. All of the sites are level and graveled, full hookup. We got our tripod out to set up our Direct TV antenna and immediately had other campers come over to offer help setting it up. Lots of friendly people here, a lot of them from Canada. Every type of rv, from 5th wheels to some very expensive Prevost coach’s. A few older ones also that did look a little bit out of place but not sure what the story on them was at the time.
As this was a gated mobile home community and an rv park the majority of park was mobile homes. Everything was very clean and neat and the homes were all well kept with no junk or trash anywhere. There was a large heated swimming pool and jacuzzi, shuffle board courts, a small golf course, a ceramics shop, huge clubhouse, a billards room and a storage area for residents to keep extra vehicles and equipment in storage.
I was told that I would be working in the maintenance dept starting the next morning. The person that was in charge of the maintenance dept was named Paul. A really nice guy that lived in the park full time. His wife Pat was the owner/manager of the ceramics shop where she gave classes teaching ceramics.
The next morning I showed up at the clubhouse and Paul gave me the rundown on what a normal day would be. We had a workshop in the storage area that we had all of the tools and equipment that we would need to do our jobs. Every morning the first thing to do was check the chemicals and temperature in the pool. Make any adjustments as needed so that the pool exercise classes they had every morning would go as planned.
We then checked with the office to see if there were any complaints in regards to any kind of maintenance that we needed to take care of. We did have a golf cart that we used to go around the resort and do what ever we needed to do. It did not take long before I found one of the worst parts of maintenance in this park. Water leaks were the worst. It would almost always start with a homeowner or rv’er telling the office that water was coming up around the water connection pipe. We would first dig down a foot or two around the pipe and find how deep the leak was if possible. Most all of the water pipes that were installed years before were galvanized pipe and over the years they had rusted. We would then turn off the water in the area, take a pipe wrench and turn the pipe out of the main line, go to the shop and make a new pipe, bring it back, teflon tape the threads and stick it down in the ground and tighten it into the main line. Most of the leaks were really not that hard to fix but occasionally we would have one that was rusted apart down at the main line which was about 4 or 5 feet down. We would have to dig all the way down to the main line and get the rusted piece out, rethread the main line and put in the new pipe. A couple of times it was really hard, basically standing on our heads in the hole to work on it. Paul knew where every water shut off was and knew exactly what the easiest way to fix it was. And he was great to work with.
Also met the owners of the park for the first time. The owners were different. It was owned by a family, a father, his 2 sons and a grandson. They owned several rv parks around Arizona. They seemed friendly but after being around them not very long it was easy to see that they were rich and really looked down on us common people. One of the sons and the grandson were not as bad as the elder owner. I gained a little bit of respect from them when I was in the clubhouse one morning as they were getting ready for a lunch gathering for something they were having in the clubhouse. All of a sudden the air conditioning quit and a couple of guys told the owner it was a transformer or something serious, not a fuse. He told the office person to call a heating and air repair company right away. I told him I would look at it for them as I knew about electric and he said I could but the other guys told him the fuse in the wall panel was ok so it was something more serious. I went outside to where the power came into the building and found a really old electric system going into the building. I opened up the main power box and immediately saw it had the old bus bar type fuses in the main input to the building. I got a volt meter and found one that was bad and luckily there were some spares lying in the box. I went inside to the main panel inside and shut everything down there, went back out and changed the bus bar fuse, went back in and kicked in the main breaker and everything came on as it should. The owner came out and wanted to know if the repairman had got there that quick and I told him what was wrong and that I had fixed it. He told the office person to call and cancel the service call, and then said thanks that saved him $200. That was all he said and got up and walked off.
I was the only one that worked for the park as they only required one of us to work for the full hookup site. I enjoyed meeting all of the people in the park and most of the maintenance was usually nothing too hard, except for the occasional bad water leak. We also mowed the golf course and the only thing bad about that was the push mower. Of course we did have a riding mower also but seniority ruled on that one so I got the push mower for trimming.
On our days off we went exploring the area, and it is beautiful and so much to do. The rv park is located at the base of the Superstition Mountains.

The stories of the Lost Dutchman Gold mine are based on these mountains. I read lots of stories about the gold and decided I would look for it someday. I told Paul what I wanted to do and he offered to go on a hike up the mountain to a lookout on top called Flat Iron. We went to the Lost Dutchman State park at the base of the mountain and parked and started walking up to the base. There is a trail that starts up the mountain, mostly rock. It was a lot of fun as you climb over rocks and gullies going up. There are places that are pretty steep and took some time to get up but still fun. Finally got to the top and the view was amazing, overlooking the entire Phoenix Valley area that includes Apache Junction, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler and Phoenix. From the top the view is for miles and miles. Much easier climbing up than it is coming down.
There was so much to do and see in the Phoenix/Mesa and Apache Junction area. Outside of Apache Junction was an abandoned gold mine that had tours of the mining area and all of the old buildings. The road is called The Apache Trail and is one of the oldest scenic byways in North America. The road which runs 41.5 miles, begins on Main Street in the town of Apache Junction east of Phoenix and winds its way through the storied Superstition mountains. The long, twisting road is dotted with ghost towns, lakes, desert dams, and narrow bridges before terminating at the Roosevelt Dam.

The trail was constructed in the early 1900s as a way to haul materials to the construction site at Roosevelt Dam. Just beyond the Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman State Park, there’s an eye-catching roadside attraction. It’s called Apacheland, a retired movie set that served as a filming location for Westerns like Gunfight at the OK Corral and The Battle of Cable Hogue, and Elvis Presley’s foray into “serious” movie acting, Charro!

Apacheland endured two fires, years of mismanagement, a bankruptcy and even closure throughout its rocky history as a film set. Today, you can tour the “Elvis Chapel” (built for Charro), the Apacheland Barn and a handful of quirky set pieces, the last remnants of its old movie-making days.

Apacheland, which is now located on the grounds of the Superstition Mountain Museum, makes for a quick pit stop if you’re heading to Goldfield Ghost Town, Canyon Lake, or just cruising the Apache Trail.
So much to do in the Phoenix area. When you are workamping for one of the many parks in the area it is so convenient to be close to a big town but so close to wide open desert and also to huge mountains for exploring. One of my favorite things to do while we were here was to go and explore old gold and silver mines up in the mountains. In the mountains are lots of old gold and silver mines from long ago that were abandoned over the years but were never sealed up. Luckily for me, Paul enjoyed exploring these places also, just not to the extent that I did. He took me to a mine south of Apache Junction called the Silver Bell Mine.

We hiked up to the mine, with flashlights, ropes and other tools and got to one of the entrances. A little spooky going in but the roof was plenty tall enough and no crawling required. As we started in the mouth of the entrance there were railroad tracks laid down, smaller than a regular track. These were used to haul the silver out of the mine. We began walking back thru the mine, following the tracks and walked for a long ways just looking at the areas carved out of the rock walls. Every so often there was a sparkle on the walls, it looked like silver but just some type of shiny rock, sort of like fools gold only fools silver. The railroad tracks went for a long ways and we came to a Y where the tracks went 2 directions. And then looking around there was a big hole in the floor with a wooden ladder going down in the ground. OF course I wanted to climb down but Paul would not do that, so I attached a safety rope, tied it off and started down. Didn’t go real far as the ladder was pretty bad and not safe to keep going. Even with our big spotlights still could not see the bottom of the shaft. Dissappointed. Came back up and started looking around and found a room stacked with railroad ties and railroad track. Brand new, except for one thing, this mine was closed back in the 50’s and all of the supplies looked like new, preserved way back in this mine. The timbers and the steel looked like someone had just taken them from a truck and put them there with no rust or anything on them. Found a few places in the walls that really looked like silver but don’t know for sure if it was or not, but really enjoyed exploring these mines. I know they say it is not safe to do this but life is an adventure and this is something that I will remember forever and probably never get to do again. Life is too short to not take advantage of everything possible while a person is able to do it.
Back to the rv park, starting our daily lives here and planning our next adventure. We have decided to stay here for another year, workamping. Really like the area and the people we have met here. Have made a decision to buy a home here in Superstition Buttes and live. I will continue to do the workamping for the park but instead of living in the rv we will be living in a mobile home here. Will continue our ongoing journey stories soon. We have just decided to take a break from fulltiming to see what we think we want to do. Lots of changes coming up but still not finished fulltiming, just thought we were. More stories coming soon.