Our Fall RV Trip – Alamo Lake, Arizona

11-10-15 Imperial Dam BLM (Senators Wash) (3)
Senators Reservoir from the LTVA

I have posted several other articles about our fall trip, click here to go to the first article.

We left Senators Reservoir Nov. 19, we’ve been on the road for four weeks since. It has been quite the trip so far, lots of fun and enjoyable experiences, but some of the experiences have not been so good.

Losing a wheel on the freeway was the worst, followed by ‘H’s  new set of tires for his truck after he drove over the one way hooks on a RV park entrance. Click here to check out -Disaster Strikes.

So far the last unfortunate experience was the missing campers camping next to our group.. Click here to check out “Missing?”

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Algadones, Mexico

In my previous post I forgot to mention our trip to Algadones Mexico. A trip to Yuma would not be complete without crossing the border to Algadones for lunch, the colorfull Mexican banter and souvenir bartering. It was quite cool, even the beer.

 


The trip from Senators Wash to Alamo Lake was uneventful. Our route took us east on Imperial Dam road through Yuma Proving  Grounds to highway 95, north to Quarzsite, Az., east on hwy I-10 for 10 miles to Hwy 60 then north east to Wenden, east on Alamo Lake Road for 35 miles.

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The Yuma Proving Grounds on the way to Quartzsite.

Alamo Lake was formed by the construction of a dam in the late 60’s for flood control. The lake is fed by the Big Sandy River and Santa Maria River, it drains through the dam into the Bill Williams River that flows into Lake Havasu.

Alamo Lake has been touted as the best Bass fishing lake in Arizona, not so sure about that,…. from my experiences.

There is a large state park at the end of the paved road with full hook ups, dry camping, a small store that sells tackle and bait, the park also has a boat launch.  ATVing is permitted but not in the park although you can ride your machine through the park to the trails.

We are not headed for the state park, our destination is a mile farther north, a random dry camping area, closer to the lake and if we’re lucky on the shore, which is not a possibility at the state park. A wide wash separates the state park from the random camping area we plan to visit.

Our convoy leaves the pavement to the right at the Wayside Inn sign . A good gravel road takes us down through the main valley wash and up the other side to the Inn.

The road is well maintained although be careful if there has been some recent rainfall, the road can turn into quick sand. It usually takes a couple of days and some grader work to get it in shape.

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The Wayside Inn
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The Wayside Inn

An easy day’s drive took us to the Wayside  Inn and RV park 5 miles east of Alamo Lake. The Inn has a bar/restaurant that boasts the best burger in these parts,……….. a pretty safe bet, I’m sure the closest eatery is 50 miles away or more.

The Wayside Inn is truly an oasis in the desert complete with its own well, runway for small planes and colorful characters. On this stop  I struck up a conversation with the bar maid, with summer teeth, (summer here and summer not). I asked if there had been snakes around, no was her reply, left three weeks ago.

She went on to say, the rattlers migrated through the area heading to the mountains for winter. We killed five in the camp….. we did, she said. I asked how the fishing had been, the usual answer you should have been here last week, they were jumpin in the boats.

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Desert Donkeys near Alamo Lake

I asked if Wayne and Susie  (friends from Canada) had arrived, yes she said yesterday. Wayne came for water.

We had met Wayne and Susie two years ago on our first trip to Alamo, they have spent the winter here for the past nine years.

They fish everyday if the wind doesn’t blow. Susie knows everyone for miles, she has an entertaining story about each one. Susie is one of the colorful characters of Alamo Lake.

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Lynda left with Wayne & Susie

The Inn’s burgers are OK , but not cheap at $7 + fries ,ten dollar meal without a drink.  A stop at the Inn is compulsory, free water and $6 to dump.

A brief stop at the Inn and then off to the lake five miles west. The road is dusty but well maintained. The owner of the Wayside grades regularly, he must have the contract, I’m thinking.

It was warm and sunny on our arrival. I was leading as usual, I stopped at the main intersection, actually the junction of several narrow trails that lead to the lake. From here we walk to checkout various camping areas large enough for our three rigs.

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White pelicans on Alamo lake
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Water fowl with babies just before sunset

‘H’ and I took the hike  to the lake on what looked like the more well traveled trail. From the junction the lake lies several hundred feet lower. Our goal was to find a spot close to the lake, after an hour we found the perfect camping area on the water.

Lynda and I had been to Alamo Lake twice before the last time being the spring. Each time here someone had gotten stuck in the mud that lurks under the seemingly dry and hard surface next to the lake.

I cautioned ‘H’ and ‘R’ about this unusual phenomenon, if we weren’t careful one of us may fall into the same fate. The proper procedure is to park in an area that has a gravely base, but close inspection is necessary.

We found the easiest route down the hill, ‘H’ went first with the largest rig, ‘R’ and then me. It was an easier job than we thought, we were soon set up at our nicest camp yet, nothing like camping on the shore of a lake.

11-20-15 Alamo Lake (2)
Our camp pictured from the boat

Our plan was to settle here for a week and then move to our last stop, an RV resort in Surprise, Az. a suberb of Phoenix.

The week passed quickly, time seems to go that way when you’re busy. ‘H’ inflated his zodiac again for another fishing adventure, we all caught fish although I was the only one to catch something while out in the boat, a crappy.

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‘H’ & his catfish probably the largest of the trip
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‘H’s inflatable boat beached at Alamo, it worked well for us, very stable.

‘H’ and ‘R’ had better luck fishing from shore, they each caught catfish. Catfish have got to be one of the toughest critters on earth. ‘R’s catfish was caught after dark, the next day him and ‘H’ dragged it on a chain behind the boat while fishing. That afternoon ‘R’s plan was to filet his latest catch, it was still alive so he pounded it on the head, and filleted it. It was still breathing and trying to swim away.

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The long shadows of late afternoon at our camp

Fishing was not great but between here and our last stop we managed to catch enough for a taste, ‘A’ did up an amazing fish fry for all of us, we were able to sample each species we had caught, striper, bass, crappy and catfish. All have a similar white meat taste, the crappy had the nicest flavor.

‘R’, ‘H’ and I took turns riding the ATVs, Wayne took ‘R’ and ‘H’ on a lengthy ride to a water fall and an old ranch that is being transformed by the state into a heritage attraction. The area is excellent for ATVing with miles of trails on all sides of the lake.

The women and Buddy enjoyed a daily hike, sewing to finish the cloth books for their pint size dictators as well as more laundry, and pedicures. The hit of this week was the pedicure each of the women took turns receiving a relaxing session, and even some of the more sensitive men of our group.

Ladies pedicure
The ladies soaking for their pedicure
Alamo Lake pedicure
The gentle men soaking for their pedicure

Since we arrived in the south the sun shines almost everyday and the day time temperatures are still pleasant although we are all noticing  a cooling trend, winter is coming.

Even though it is the southwest desert and famous for very hot summers when the temperatures can soar to well over 110 f, winter can be  very much the opposite, with cold temperatures even freezing, no frost to speak of because of the low humidity.

This was the case for our group at Alamo lake, once the sun dipped behind the hill the temperature dropped like a rock , everyone scrambled for their rigs to shed summer clothes in favor of sweats and jackets.

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Sunset at Alamo Lake

By morning the outside temperature often  was near freezing, fortunately once the sun climbed into the sky the temperature climbed with it.

Clay pot heater
An option for the cool mornings, a terracotta flower pot on a stove burner, no need to use the furnace and deplete your batteries

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every evening a campfire was lit, it was more of a necessity at this point in the trip than it had been, the evenings were cool.

During our stay at Alamo Lake another one of ‘R’s birthdays cropped up, he has already had sixty something, the candles alone would put the average person in the poor house not too mention the presents and the false alarm bringing the fire dept to the scene.

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‘L’ decorating ‘R’s B-day cake.

Alamo Lake is remote, but you wouldn’t know it, with the amenities we enjoyed, grill nights with steak , baked potatoes & salad, another night fish tacos, then there was burgers and fries, all cooked at camp.

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Satellite dish for TV in the desert

In the evenings we enjoyed satellite TV, news, a sports event or movie. This was our last week roughing it, If you want to call it that. Camping has sure changed since we were children, camping was a tent, sleeping on the ground, packing water, cooking over the open fire. We all loved it, that was roughing it, existing with the basics.

Today the modern RVs are equipped with all the amenities of a home, allowing us to travel the continent enjoying one of the greatest experiences of our generation.

When boondocking in the pristine wilderness with all the luxuries of modern camping, I often reflect back to our forefathers and the pilgrims, how did they managed to survive the trek west to break trail for settlers. I guess many of them didn’t. Hum!

Food for thought.

Thanks for visiting.

Gord B 🙂

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The red cliffs of Sedona

3 thoughts on “Our Fall RV Trip – Alamo Lake, Arizona”

  1. Enjoyed reading this as we visited this area this past summer. It was just a day trip from my husband’s sister. She lives in Wellton and we were on vacation from here in Iowa. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. Thanks for this great information! We have boondocked extensively all over Arizona but never spent much time near Alamo Lake. We are planning to heard that way for Thanksgiving this year. We recently upgraded our rig to a 40 foot fifth wheel with a great solar set up so we are excited to try it out in the sunny desert! I know things change with rains, etc., but with your experience and pictures it looks like the road is passable for larger rigs. Obviously, scouting is necessary as to not get stuck! We are debating about bringing our 18 foot ski boat to do some fishing while we are there. It looks like it would be possible to launch it right from the shore based on the pictures I see here. Any suggestions before we head that way?
    Thanks!!

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