Fish Creek Campground

We got up the next morning and packed everything down from the fire tower and headed back to Fish Creek Campground. Really enjoyed our 2 nights in the tower. Amazing views into forever and so close to the stars it seems like you could just pick them out of the sky.

Back at the rv we unloaded the truck and got back into our daily routine. This campground hosting in the national parks is probably the easiest work camping job there is. We do not clean bathrooms or fire pits. We just get to walk around the campground and talk to people, try to help with any problems and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The only real physical work we do is if we find a cooler or any type of food or drink sitting out without the camper present, we must confiscate the food or drinks or coolers and lock them up in our secure sheds. When the people come back and ask us if we know where their stuff is we explain the rules about leaving them out and how the bears know what a cooler is and what may be in it. If the camper is friendly and not threatening we just give it back to them. If they are not calm and friendly we just call an enforcement ranger and let them handle it.
Fish Creek campground is right on Lake McDonald and the water is amazing, it is crystal clear and pretty darn cold all year round. Just before we headed to Glacier we had bought a peddle boat. I built a rack over the cab of the truck that we could put it on and tie it down. We decided on our next day off we were going to put it in the lake and peddle around. This was one of the boats, for 2 people, that you had peddles, like on a bicycle, that you would both peddle to make the boat go. There was a small handle between the 2 seats to steer it.
http://
We got the boat in the water, the sun shining and the temp was comfortable. We had put on just shorts and a tank top for our boat ride. We headed up the lake looking around, enjoying the beautiful mountains in the distance. The water was so clear and cold and smooth as glass. Just a little breeze made it feel wonderful in the sun. THEN, after we had peddled for about an hour and a half, we pulled up to a clear area on shore. We had brought a picnic lunch with us and decided it was time to eat. As we ate we noticed that both of us were really getting red. We had not noticed it so much while in the boat but now it was starting to burn a little. We finished eating and packed the boat and decided we should get back as soon as we could. We figured only an hour and a half would not be a sunburn but we were wrong. The only way back was straight down the lake, and if we hurried maybe we could get back in an hour. We peddled faster and got back to the campground. We were really burning now, red all over our legs and shoulders. We had some of the seasoned veterans of the area told us that because of the elevation here that you would get sun burned a lot faster than we were used to. They were right as blisters began coming up. We started putting anything that was supposed to help with sunburn all over us. For the next 3 or 4 days we were miserable. Just wearing a shirt hurt, but we finally got over it and peeled just like a sunburn back home. Learned our lesson with that one, didn’t happen again.
On one of our days off we went exploring, to a place called Polebridge. This is located in Glacier National Park but it is privately run. The only thing there is the Polebridge Mercantile.

This is a store with camping supplies and misc stuff and souvenirs of Glacier, but, the best part of the store is that it is also a bakery.They have all kinds of fantastic sweets, breads, cakes and cookies. It is known world wide as one of the best bakeries there is. We got some chocolate chip cookies and headed up the road into the backcountry. There are 2 more campgrounds that you can drive to past Polebridge. The first one is called Bowman Lake. You can drive to it but it is for tent camping on beautiful Bowman lake. The road is a dirt road and not a very good one.

The lake is beautiful, clear and cold. This is backcountry Glacier, and you never know when you will see all types of wild life, including bears. After we had looked around we headed on farther going to Kintla Lake and campground. It is for tents also but we did see a few trucks with slide in campers and on small C class. I would never recommend taking either one up the road to Kintla Lake.

The road was narrow, rutted and mud holes in places. If it had rained any time recently I do not believe it would be passable. We made it to Kintla Lake and looked up the campground host. The host here stays in a small cabin, no electric or water. And the worst part is that the mosquito’s were terrible. We went into the cabin and the bed was hanging from the ceiling and wrapped in mosquito netting. The host said he had to sleep under the netting or the mosquito’s would carry him off. We knew then that this was not a campground hosting position that we would want.
We headed back out of the backcountry headed to Fish Creek campground. The rest of the summer went pretty well with no major problems of any kind. We met some wonderful people from all around the world. You would be surprised how many people from other countries come to Glacier National park as tourist. Many rent campers and come to the campgrounds but even more of them stay at the hotels in the park, such as McDonald Lodge.

The red vehicles in the picture are for tours of the park and the Going to the Sun Road. They are busy with all of the people the want to see the park but don’t want to drive the Sun Road. There are also boat tours you can take on Lake McDonald.

We have come to the end of the season at Glacier. We have been discussing what we want to do now and have decided accept a job offer in Apache Junction, Arizona. In our next post we will tell about our adventures there.
Please click the sign up button to be notified of new post.

Save

Save

Apache Junction, Arizona

We have decided to accept a workamping job in Apache Junction at an rv park called Superstition Buttes Mobile Home Community and RV Park. We are going to go back to Kentucky to visit family for a couple of weeks first.
Our trip back to Kentucky was uneventful with no problems of any kind. Stopped in a couple of rest areas for a few hours of sleep and then would get up and head on down the road. The trick to getting a good spot to stop in the rest area is to stop a little before dark and find an open parking spot as far back in the rest area as you can. Preferably on the very end of the parking area. The trucks will start rolling in at dark and if you get stuck between 2 that leave their trucks running it is not very quiet. Then we would get up while it is still dark and head out before the trucks start pulling out.
Stayed in Kentucky for a couple of weeks and headed out to go to our next workamping job in Apache Junction, Arizona. This park only requires one of us to work for our site. I was told I would be working in the maintenance dept. We headed out going down I40 till we got to Albuquerque, NM. The gps gave us a couple of different routes from Albuquerque and we decided to take one that was a little closer than some it showed us. We headed south on I25 down to Socorro, NM and turned onto Highway 60 west. Kinda glad to get off of the interstates but a little nervous on the 2 lane roads. After a while going down the road we saw something on the sides of the road that made us slow down. There were these huge satellite dishes all over the place, and every one of them were pointing in the same direction. These dishes were huge, probably 50 to 100 ft each. There were dozens of them, just like in the movie ET. The sign said it was the VLA, Very Large Array.



It was something out of a science fiction movie, we would find out more about it later.
Another town we came to on this road was a town named Pie Town, NM. The town consisted of a post office, a small park that rv’s could stay in for free, and a 2 small restaurants called the Daily Pie Café and the Pie-O-Neer Cafe. We stopped at the Daily Pie and got a cheeseburger and fries but didn’t get any of the pies they had. Looked good but just not that hungry. Turns out they are famous worldwide for their pies and have been there The town is located on the Continental Divide and lots of hikers come thru the town. It is at an elevation of 7778 ft and it is called high mountain desert. Beautiful area with lots of smaller mountains.



We headed on west towards Arizona and came up on another town called Quemado, NM. Karan made the comment “who would ever want to live in a place like this” as we passed thru. The town had a couple of restuarants, a gas station, a hardware store and a couple real estate sales office’s. Most all buildings were really run down and some falling down. That comment of Karan’s would come back to haunt us in a couple of years.
After about another 50 miles we made it to the Arizona state line and came into a town called Springerville. It was a little bigger than any town we had seen since leaving the interstate. It had lots of business’s, a small movie theatre and even a McDonalds. The roads were all really good and wide being only 2 lane roads. No really big hills just a few smaller ones. We continued on and the next town we came to was Show Low, Arizona. It was a pretty big town with Wal-Mart and K-Mart and lots of restaurants, car dealerships and stores. We got diesel here and had to make another decision on which way to go as the gps showed 2 different routes, and with us never been thru here we just picked one and hoped for the best. Wrong choice.
We decided to stay on Hwy 60 as that would take us all the way to Apache Junction. We left Show Low and everything was good. Beautiful scenery with lots of trees and then the road started going down hill, literally. We came upon a sign that said “Now Entering Salt River Canyon”.

Luckily there was basically no traffic so I just slowed down and enjoyed the views over the sides of the road down hundreds of feet to the bottom. On the right side of the road was just the sides of mountains. The road was twisted and turning right then left. We finally got to the bottom and finally took a breath. There was a switchback at the bottom and also a rest area so we stopped to check everything out.



The Salt River Canyon is located on Indian reservation land and the rest area had lots of Indians selling topaz jewelry and other things to tourist. As we looked around you could look down into the valley and see the Salt River and people were white water rafting down it. A little to wild for us to think about doing. We noticed the mountain beside us an looked up and saw little cars going along side the mountain, not really little cars just so far up the mountain that it made them look little. We headed out of the rest area and immediately came to a switchback that literally made a sharp right turn facing up the mountain. We started up and the road just kept climbing and turning with several sharp curves. Looking over on the sides of the mountains you could see caves in the sides and large areas of rock flowing down from them. Those were gold mines and the rock was what was mined out of the mountain to find the gold. We finally got to the top and the road leveled out and we continued on to the next town of Globe, Az.
Made it to Globe, it is a large town with most all normal city stuff. The sign says Mesa, AZ is 70 miles and Apache Junction is right next to Mesa. We headed towards Mesa, still on Hwy 60 and admired the mountains and valleys. After a while the road came up to what looked like a huge dropoff in front of us. It was where we dropped down out of the mountains into the Phoenix valley. You could see for miles and miles, and great big cities off in the distance. After we dropped off the mountain we were running along a mountain ridge on the right side of the road, these were the Superstition Mountains. The ones with the gold mining history and the Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine stories. Beautiful mountains just calling for me to come and climb them, which I will do in the future. More to come on that later.
We finally got to Apache Junction and found our way to the rv park we were to work at. Superstition Buttes, a gated 55 plus mobile home park and rv park. We pulled up to the gate and told the security guard who we were and he directed us where to go. The park is huge and very clean. There are mobile homes in the front 3/4 of the park and the rv park is in the back section.



I went into the office and ask where we should park and was directed to an rv site. I was then told to go and get everything set up and come back to the office in the morning to speak with the owner. We got everything set up, the slides out, leveled, water, electric and sewer hooked up. Everything was nice and clean and what people we saw were friendly. Most of the rv’ers that were there were snowbirds, a lot from Canada.
We will continue our saga in our next post with info on our job here, the rver’s here and how things are going. Thanks for following our adventures. More to come soon. Jim n Karan

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.