BLOOMs in the desert!!

BLOOMs in the desert!!

We’ve stopped for a few days in Phoenix. This is really just a quick breeze-through and we’ve had no plans other than stocking up, re-charging and getting ready to head north.

We’ve been packing it in too.

On the way here we took “the beast” through Blue Beacon for a quick wash (rinsing off several months of serious boondocking dust!) followed by some hand waxing at our site (done mostly by Paul, the hardy stud). Then, once we got here we picked up our mail and (dismay of dismay) I realized I’d been caught turning on red by one of the many notorious traffic cameras in Phoenix back in Feb and needed to take a 4-hour class to dismiss the ticket -> my second ticket (in my life) and I felt like a right fool, but we managed to cram in and get it done. Between that and back-to-back shopping outings there’s really been no time for much else. It’s been a crazy coupla days!

Alas, such is RV life sometimes.

A gorgeous sunset from our site

A gorgeous sunset from our site

Hiking in blankets of yellow!

Hiking in blankets of yellow!

Studies in yellow

Studies in yellow

And more...

And more…

Despite our packed schedule we’ve managed to enjoy our surroundings. This time around we chose to stay at Lost Dutchman State Park right at the base of the Superstition Mountains. I drove through this area last time we were in Phoenix, but this is our first time staying here. I have to say I am mucho impressed. Lovely, large sites with gorgeous views all around plus excellent hiking right at your doorstep. In fact I think this is going to become our new all-time favorite park in the area.

But the biggest bonus is that desert has exploded into bloom!  The view from our campsite is dominated by the sheer red walls of Superstition Mountain and the entire valley and base is covered in a thick, brilliant blanket of yellow flowers. There are so many blooms, so much yellow that I could easily lose myself and do a photo-study just of that. It’s a crazy and stunning transformation!

The desert bloom is something I look forward to every year, but it’s often a short and fleeting show. Also there’s a delicate balance between blooms and temperature. By the time the blooms come out, it’s starting to get too hot for our paws and the likes of us. By pure luck we’ve managed to catch it perfectly this time around. Temps are getting hotter (Phoenix is flirting with the 90′s right now), but we’ve still got enough cool mornings and evenings to go out and enjoy the show. Sheer perfection!

We’re headed out again tomorrow morning for higher elevations (lower temps) and (hopefully) a brand new rockin’ spot in the boonies. See ya on the other side…

Yellow gorgeousness

Yellow gorgeousness

Another great sunset

Another great sunset

The bloom blanket

The bloom blanket

Sunrise at Superstition Mountain

Sunrise at Superstition Mountain

55 Responses to Breezing Through Phoenix, Desert Blooms…And Getting Caught!

  1. Ray Burr says:

    Nice photos! Amazing when the desert gets color.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, I’m always kinda shocked to see it. I know it’s coming, but every time it happens it takes my breath away. Just such an amazing transformation.
      Nina

  2. Sheila says:

    BEAUTIFUL photos Nina!!!! Sorry about your ticket. On a side note – a thank you for all your postings! We used your past reviews on state parks in New Mexico and following your advice are currently staying at Brantley Lake State Park and have reservations for Bottomless Lakes. We are on our way home to Colorado and wanted a different route. Since we try to stay in state parks we were very happy to follow your guidance. Thanks again! Love your postings and sharing in your adventures!! Be safe.

    • libertatemamo says:

      GREAT that you’re using and enjoying the reviews. The State Parks in New Mexico are just fabulous. Loved them all! Enjoy your time there!
      Nina

  3. Smitty says:

    Check out Tortilla Flats, out in the middle of nowhere, just north of your campground. Gotta stop in for a burger and experience the wild west…….

    • libertatemamo says:

      That was one of several outings we had planned for this little stop, but never got round to it! Ended up just waaay too busy. It’ll have to wait until next time we come back to the area.
      Nina

  4. Smitty says:

    Hey, that hike looked like Silly Mountain, just off of Hwy 60.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Nah…it’s the main hike up Siphon Draw at Lost Dutchman State Park. We’ve not been able to do any hikes outside of the park this time around.
      Nina

  5. Donna K says:

    Love that “Sunrise at Superstition Mountain” – great picture. You can’[t turn on red in AZ???? Too bad about the ticket though.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well you can…just not where I did it…UGH! So, sadly I was caught out. I’m usually a pretty careful driver, but I guess not this time around.
      Nina

  6. Never heard of Blue Beacon. John looked at the link…wow! What a deal! Of course, the only one in Utah is in Salt Lake City. Looks like John will be our Blue Beacon, as well as, our waxer.

    Sorry about the ticket. A four hour class, not fun.

    Wonderful desert blooms…so colorful! Thanks for posting the pictures.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’d heard of Blue Beacon from other RVers, but had never tried it ourselves, so this was a first for us. The experience was good! We waited around 30 mins for the couple of trucks in front of us to go through, then drove in and off they went -> 5 guys power-washing the rig. We added the RainX treatment too. It’s not a perfect system, but it got all the grime off the rig and prepared her for the wax. We knew we weren’t going to be anywhere that would allow washing for a few months so this was a welcome alternative.
      Nina

  7. Wow, just LOVE those desert blooms with the Superstitions in the background (well, all of the images are spectacular, but I’m a sucker for flowers and mountains together!). I’ll have to make a note to camp there this time of year. I stayed there in February last year, loved it, and totally agree that as nice as the Maricopa Co Parks are, Lost Dutch’s location and sheer beauty is hard to beat!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I agree. It’s a LOVELY park! Right up there w/ the Maricopa County Parks. And I’m a sucker for flowers and mountains too :)
      Nina

  8. Karen says:

    Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful. Can’t believe I’m, missing this. So much to see, my feet are beginning to itch.

  9. geogypsy2u says:

    An outlaw in the outback. I need to get down into the desert, like tomorrow.

    • libertatemamo says:

      You may have to get here tomorrow to catch it! Won’t be long before those elusive blooms are gone.
      Nina

  10. Sherry says:

    These pictures are just fabulous. BIG on my bucket list us seeing the desert bloom. Your pictures make me want to jump inside them.

    • libertatemamo says:

      It can be tricky to catch them. Often it’s getting quite hot by the time they come out, but when they do…oh gosh it’s so worth it!
      Nina

  11. LuAnn says:

    I love, love, love the desert in the spring! You have captured some gorgeous shots Nina. Sorry you got caught by the traffic camera. I have never liked those things!

  12. Marsha says:

    What in the world would take 4 hours to learn if all you did was turn on red? That is a bit extreme I think.

    I love the desert this time of year. Such beauty all around.

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s a whole class on better driving. In the class we’re told that over 5 million people have taken it, so I’m guessing those hidden cameras are doing brisk business! Basically any small first-time ticket offender can do the class and dismiss their ticket. Better than fines and court time I guess. I’m glad the option was there and it’s all done with now…phew!

      Nina

  13. I would love to be in AZ on spring time and see all the desert blooms. For now I will enjoy them through your beautiful shots.

  14. Bob says:

    I think I’d sooner just get a ticket in the mail, rather than have to interact with the constabulary. We received our share during our time in Europe, but they were mostly for speeding. Annoyingly small amounts, like doing 111 in a 100 zone, but certainly a great revenue stream for the State. That one was in Germany in a construction zone. When they say 100 k.p.h., they ain’t kidding.
    Of course, there’s no right turn on red anywhere, and I still find myself once in a while sitting at a red light, having momentarily forgot where we are. Right turn on red is a bit dumb, as far as I’m concerned. Most drivers haven’t the cognitive skills to watch for traffic, watch for pedestrians and then safely make the turn.
    No comment about the four hours of “training” however. How is that supposed to help?

    • libertatemamo says:

      Ah yes…speeding in Germany is no joke. I remember that from our time living in Belgium & doing day-trips to Germany. They don’t mess around with the tickets over there. Now speeding in Italy? That’s a whole other thing -> you might almost say it’s the cultural norm LOL.

      As for my class? According to the Arizona courts I am now a certified Defensive Driver, which dismisses my ticket and makes me a safer driver..or so they tell me. I’m just happy I passed the class and it’s all over.

      Nina

  15. Lisa says:

    Glad to see all the flowers in Phoenix in your photos! Here in Silver City there are virtually no blooms! And I thought I’d be following spring as we headed North! BUT, I am happy for cooler temps (than Phoenix) and seeing new places!!!! Safe travels…

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’ve found the blooms take a while to come out, and usually it’s getting hot by the time they do. We’ve seen our best blooms early April in Anza Borrego,CA and here in Phoenix, AZ. In New Mexico we saw our best blooms around late May..up by Taos, NM. So, if you linger long enough you’ll get to see them!
      Nina

  16. Barbara says:

    Great posts – we’re headed to Benson & Bisbee in a couple of weeks. Next time you’re at Lost Dutchman head up the hill to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Pet friendly and a fabulous display of desert plants.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh excellent! Enjoy the area! We sure did!
      And yeah…the Arboretum was also on our list…but we didn’t make it. Next time I guess.
      Nina

  17. Ingrid says:

    Lost Dutchman is definitely at the top of our list. Love the hiking there. One visit is never enough. Enjoy those desert blooms :-)

  18. Amanda says:

    Isn’t Lost dutchman great! We loved the time we spent there- a very nice campground for sure. How lucky that your you got to see all the flowers in bloom. When we were there about a month ago they was just a few patches of color here and there. Looks like you timed it just right.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We totally lucked out!! Some of the blooms are already ending, so I think in a couple if weeks it’ll all look completely different. We’re so happy we managed to catch the show at it’s peak.
      Nina

  19. You two always find the best places, and are always so thoughtful to share them with all of us! Beautiful photos!

  20. Allison says:

    Your photo with the sun behind the rocks is just spectacular. We were at McDowell over the weekend, and it is just covered in the bloom. Tucson has very little color so it was nice to see it at McDowell. We’re going to check out the Superstitions next. Thanks for a lovely post.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks! And yeah, I heard from some friends that the blooms were going crazy up in McDowell too. Just love seeing them out!
      Nina

  21. Absolutely beautiful pictures. I LOVE the desert in bloom!

  22. Jan says:

    Postcard perfect pictures.

  23. Great Pictures! Also, the cost & the place to wash a motorhome is good information for me. Thanks! Keep up the great post ideas! Sorry about the ticket I’m glad you got it fixed :)

  24. Stunning… Thanks for hanging with the heat until you got those photos for us :))
    We by- passed around Phoenix, and notice up around Black Canyon City the flowers were peaked.
    FYI, the best pies in the world at the bakery/restaurant in Black Canyon City (there is a big pie painted on the front above the entry)!!!!!!! Every kind imaginable… and the ship all over the world. Yes, we stopped :))
    Box Canyon Mark

  25. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Always wanted to go to the Lost Dutchman Mine area. But I think he was really German. Anyway I think he didn’t have a mine in that area. He probably found piles of Gold from dropped saddle bags after the Apache killed a Spanish Expedition off usually in a small canyon. After the blood bath the Indians took the mules, arms and whatever else they fancied and cut the saddle bags full of Gold off the mules. There the piles of Gold lay until one day a lonely prospector found the site of the massacre. Piles of Gold must have met his eyes and made him jump for joy. He probably gathered up the Gold and hid it in a cave. He always told people he had a mine up in the hills, but he didn’t stay out long enough to mine Gold. But would come into town pretty quick…too quick to be mining. People tried to follow him but he always gave them the slip. Anyway this is what I think and I have read a number of books and talked to modern day miners and have come to this conclusion. Remember there was a big earthquake back in those days that changed the area a lot. His cave may be buried under tons and tons of rock and dirt. Perhaps this is why his mine was never found?

    • libertatemamo says:

      He was indeed a German which doesn’t say much for the geography of the people who named the place, but the gold stories are cool. Like your theories!
      Nina

  26. VP says:

    If you pass thru the small town of Maricopa AZ, 16 miles south of I-10 on Hwy 347 & north of where Harrah’s Akchin Casino is situated (well known overnight boondocking lot for RV’s) be careful of the speed traps! Town speed limits change often and mean what they say. Tickets from out-of-towners are a major revenue stream for their double-wide occupying city hall. With AZ you can do that Defensive Driver’s course via several online sites which can be a quicker 4 hours than doing it in-person. It was 35 years for me and now that I’ve taken the course I feel so much safer ;) . Besides the hiking, flowers and fresh air, ribs at the nearby Mining Camp Restaurant ( http://www.miningcamprestaurant.com) are always a fav when we are at the Lost Dutchman SP.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Cheers for the extra tips! I did end up doing the Defensive Drivers Course online, but it still took 4 hours to listen though all the modules! Still, it’s a lot nicer than having to go to a class.
      Nina

  27. MarciaGB says:

    Looks gorgeous, Nina. I hope to see the desert bloom myself one of these years and visit some of the great parks you’ve rated.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hope you do too! The desert blooms are something everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.
      Nina

  28. You seem to like saguaros? When it warms up I’ll take a picture of ours. We started about 10 of them from seeds about 12 years ago. When they first spouted you needed a magnifying glass to see them. A rainstorm washed most of them away years ago, but 2 survived. I need to re-pot them but them but they are nasty little critters to handle. Unbelievable that they grow 70 feet tall and live for 150 years.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well I like what saguaros add to my pictures. There’s a definite feel of the desert with them, and their silhouettes are so very distinctive. I’m amazed you’re growing them from seed. That’s what you call a long term commitment!
      Nina

  29. Bob Lowry says:

    Thanks for the Blue Beacon link. As a new RV owner in the Phoenix area I have been looking for a good place to get our 30 footer hosed off,

    The Superstitions are tremendously grand at any time of the year. But, with all the blooms out now they are especially photo-worthy.

  30. Dugg says:

    Yikes, I see you’re in Cottonwood now. Northern AZ weather is very fickle this time of year, with some major chilliness expected early next week. Get thee back to Phoenix by Sunday!

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’re good…it’s gonna be a cool 70 here in Cottonwood this week-end. Perfect for the paws and us :)
      Nina

  31. Melissa says:

    Thanks for sharing all the places where you travel. We took your advice and are sitting here in Site #12 at Cape Blanco. Love it. Exactly how you posted it. Pouring rain, but we were able to get our satellite internet & tv dishes up with a little work involved. Nice to sit and listen to the rain on the roof. A walk on the beach tomorrow – rain or no rain. Thanks again and enjoy your journey. We are heading to AM Solar (had Marv help us out in fall of 2012 re. your recommendation) and then to Nehalem Bay State Park. Safe travels

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