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Sunday, April 2, 2017

"Q" to Pink Coral Sand Dunes, UT

 Gallery Pics of locations:

Finally left the "Q".

I was planning on fixing my Solar setup with a newer "40 amp Solar Controller" that would handle the 3 panels and 3 sets of 6-vt batteries.  Didn't happen this time, temps at the "Q" were rising 95F etc to so time to move on.

Headed towards Monument Valley, AZ

and then found the Goosenecks SP, UT area and headed for there.

Planned a 'One night stand'  at Sunset Crater, AZ, should be interesting, for 1st night's stop.

Checked out the Bonito Campground which was right at the NP entrance there so figured it'd be a natural Easy-Peasy stop..

Left the "Q" up through Wickenburg, AZ taking back roads which I try to do.  Went through Prescott, AZ

and then through an unknown little "Town" or "Village" called Jerome, AZ..

(Just coming out of Jerome, I think??  Too busy steering on very narrow road through there)
Sort of like Ouray, CO only this was built on the side of a mountain with a narrow twisting road going through it.  Nice, like an European Swiss village. It looks more like a tourist area, Gift shops, restaurants, Saloons etc, with a lot of motorcycle groups stopping. Parking and maneuverability was a slight issue so I didn't stop, not that I would anyway, but would be an interesting stop with friends.

Onward to Sedona, AZ, pretty much a mess, all campgrounds appear full and traffic was a mess.  Hate going through there.  Up the hill to Flagstaff, looked a lot different from when I went through it a long time ago, past life, to do the "Paragliding" thing.  Could be, I just came in from a different angle.

(Not me, I had a yellow sail, but there)
Just north of Flagstaff is the Sunset Crater NP and the Bonito campground I was planning on staying.  It was around 4:30pm and you KNOW how much I HATE coming to a site at night, this was pushing it, light evening.

With that in mind, pulled into the area, started to turn into campgrounds and......

Sigh.... heheh

"Campground is Closed" till May... ooops...

Gawd, PPP (Piss Poor Planning) on my part, didn't check to see if it was open or not.

Went to the visitor center as they usually have maps of other camping locations.  Didn't show much, but my "Arch Nemesis" Garmin, kept showing another site, ORV (Off Road Vehicle) site down the same road, on Forest Road 776, so continued on down the loop.

Getting dark now and "...looking for the " 'road' in all the wrong places....".

The area is a some 40-mile loop, so continued on the Northern Visitor Center for camping sites.  Posted all around is a "No Overnight Camping Allow" signs.

Garmin was showing, along with some camping site apps (good only if you have internet) and 2 at the northern end, so pressed on.

Got to the Northern end, headed South for a little bit looking for the  Forest Rd with the two campsites listed.  (Never found the 776 Rd that, A-hem, Ms Garmin kept showing, so gave up on that one)

Turned onto the dirt road, which is normal for a Forest Rd, and it was showing apx 2 miles in.  Fairly good road, but had some ruts in it, made a sharp turn to the last part towards the campsite. Road narrowed, more ruts, huge 'Juniper?" trees, shrubs and managed to scrape up the side of the camper, breaking a stove vent.

 It's night, pitch black now, so looking for something that resembles a campsite, usually a rock fire pit or something, but 'Nada", nothing..

I'm about 2.5 miles from the highway, at night and figured I've gone far enough.  Pulled off onto the side and started to 'Slip, Slide and Spinning', mud, sinking into the soft ground.  OMG, WTF, been down this road before,

(Flaming Gorge, WY - Anvil lake)
so hit it and was able to wiggle out and get back onto the dirt road.  Sigh, I don't have the "Self Extraction" tools needed for a one person self arrest (Winch, sand anchor etc) so getting stuck  is  not a good thing for now.

Headed back out, scratching the sides again and finally got to the highway.  At this point, pretty much had it with the NP campground senario by this time, so headed back to Flagstaff towards a "Safe Port" KOA, in Flagstaff, AZ.

There were 2 NPs listed right across from the Sunset Crater entrance, but again dirt road and rutted.  I looked at it, another mile or two to the campsite, it was late now, obviously pitch black, so headed for the nearest KOA which was a "Safe Port"  (KOAs - expensive, and McDonald's are your friends as you can usually count on them.)

Got to the KOA after 8pm closing, had 3 spots left at 8pm, one was taken, so grabbed whatever was left.  Couldn't find the Power/water hook ups, had a beer, little TV and bed.

Next day, went to office, I was only charged for "Dry Camping" ($30 - dry no hookups, yes,  KOA luvs their sites) as that site was hard to figure out the connections.  Very nice owners, staff, younger couple, so all was good.

Located, via internet, and found the Free BLM - Cinders Hills OHV camping area I was looking for, Rd 776 OHV area, and headed out towards that one.  Ten minutes up the road from KOA, North of Flagstaff.

It's an ORV (Off Road/Highway Vehicle or OHV)  area unconnected (although appears it used to be by all the signs saying it's not connected) area just south of the Sunset Crater.

Being a "Buggie" area, you would be subject to  the 10% drivers who will abuse it by hot rodding though the camping area, digging donuts and believing the louder their buggies are, the better it is... sigh... just a bunch of A-holes IMNSHO...  (90% are very friendly and thoughtful of others)

If planning on any ORV area, don't expect quiet or a dustless area.  The few ruin it for the many.  Also, don't go on weekends when it's in heavy use on any ORV park.

Stayed there for 4 days or so, during the week,  then time to move on.

Monument park was the next stop.  Very nice, easy to get to.  $20 entrance fee to the area which allows for driving the loop.

Tourist center at the end of paved road

with camping options over at the in park campground at $40 per night Dry, no hookups.  $$$...

There are reportedly cheaper campgrounds outside of park but didn't really see much point in staying there.

Nice drive around the loop, but once that's done, ???? what to do next.

Road is ok, I wouldn't tow a trailer along it or a Class A.

On to Goosenecks SP, UT.

Sort of out in the middle of nowhere, a unique river bed setting.

Stayed 4- nights, liked it, quiet and took more pics than I should have but WTF Over... what else is there to do...

The park is Dry, no hookups, about 8-10 "Official sites" some with Overhead and fire pits.  Able to park right on the rim or other side of road.

More sites going along the road through the campsites proper which goes along the time.  Pullouts along the way and stone build fire pits.

While it will get windy, probably most of the time, not much dust per se.  Wind direction moves around but basically comes up from the canyon so parking on other side of road might be a little less windy.

Nice area, liked it.

Valley of the Gods is just north of it.  I was going meet a fellow Truck Camper, but I had to move on.

Left Goosenecks, shot (photo'd) the "Mexican Hat", which was unique and pressed on to the Pink Coral Sand dune area.

Goosenecks is about 30-40 min north of Monument Valley. You can see the Monuments from Goosenecks off in the distance.

(Driving from the 'Goose' back down towards Monument)

I bypassed the Antelope Valley, famous deep canyon views carved out by water, area tours, too $$$, so I'll catch it next time.  Looks like a few tour areas along the way.  Next time.

(Road to Ponderosa)
Made it over to Ponderosa Grove CG, UT campsite, which is quite nice.

Small and Dry, but nice spots apx 10 or so.

No internet, DISH worked between rain showers.  Wanted to stay here as the Dunes are a Buggy area so staying here for the reason's noted above till the weekend passed..  Will hit it on Tuesday, during the week.

On Tuesday, Mar 28th, will go down to check it out and get a spot if worth it, have to head back into town, Kanab, for market, check emails etc, then back.  Hopefully they have Dump N Fill area.  If not, will have to find one around town.

FYI Internet:
Going "Full Time" the internet becomes more important than a weekend camping trip.
I depend upon it for researching the next routing, checking facilities (trying to avoid PPP as noted above), campgrounds for Utilities and $$ per spot along the way.  I have the Verizon Jetpack and Samsung 7e phone (old phone just gave out).  Verizon has the "Best Coverage' areas, but not 100% so when out of area, no internet, everything sort of stops.  There are Cell Boosters which is the 2nd top of the list, (WeBoost Trucker)

Case in point, here at Ponderosa Grove, there is no internet.  What this means is I can't check out the local areas for supplies, dump n Fills and if the next stop has them or not.  Also, I can't annoy my Facebook friends with idle chatter and photos...

Internet, Cell coverage,  is a vital means for a full timer for social and planning purposes.  Four days is about the max I care to go without and usually aligns with my desire to stay at any one location for a longer period of time.

There are partial solutions like Cell Boosters, WeBoost Trucker options is tops, well just below the Solar Controller, on the list.   While it won't generate a signal when there isn't one, it will boost weak signals.  It's more like an amplifier.  Here at Ponderosa, I occasionally pick up a 1x signal but nothing that works.  I would like to think the WeBoost would be able to pick it up and generate at least a 3g connection but not sure.

Anyway, it's important to get things done.  Only works with Cell Coverage/components like my jetpack and cell phone. Not WiFi, like they try to offer at Private Campgrounds, like KOA etc.  Two different things, Apples vs Oranges.  A good FB page for RVers is the Internet for RVers.  They have good articles on it.

Anyway, on down the road to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.

I figured during the week there wouldn't be much noise/action, but as I'm finding out now-a-days, week days can be crowded and weekends more "Crowdeder".. heheh, whatever...

(sliding down on a boogie board is the thing)

Got there, only about a 20-min drive or less from Ponderosa Grove.

Only had 2 spots open.  One spot was too uneven to try "Level out" so took the last one.

It actually was a pretty nice spot, spaced nicely away from the next one, nice set up, table/fire pit (just be careful you don't step into it).

The Dunes were nice, but not much to do if you don't have a buggy.  Just looked around and shot the campground area.

The layout of the park/dunes is that the campground is at the southern end of the area and would appear that most riding is done north.

There is another wide open area, not sure if it's just day use or allow overnighters at the north end.  It would appear that this would be the staging area although you certainly can ride from the Campground.

Looks to be main access to the sand trails.

It would "Appear" the "Dunes" are not really 'Dunes' like St Anthony's nor Glamis, but more like Sand Lake, OR,

with sand trails roaming around.  There were certainly some challenging trails/climbing to keep one going.

And on the top to explore.  I saw tracks winding around through the bush up at Ponderosa Grove so it's pretty extensive.

Anyway, I've rambled on enough, so onward and upward to the next stop...