Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Urgent Care and Vehicle Repair - We Still Have a Good Time

May 1-6, 2018
Payson, Arizona

Monday morning we have final coffee with our friends. They get loaded up and head out ahead of us. Donnie and Anna returning home to Tombstone, Jimmy and Maggie beginning a six month cross-country sojourn. We're on the road ourselves before 10 AM, on our way to Payson, Arizona.

Much of the 130 mile trip is through steep mountains, and we arrive around 1 PM to set up at Payson Campground and RV Resort. Interior roads are very tight, but our site in the back of the park is a good size, level, and private. Our satellite connects but ends up not working on over half our channels. We get a chance to adjust it after a couple days.

For the last several days I've had itchy skin on my scalp and back. I figured it was dry skin from so many weeks in the desert. After an hour in Payson the itching moves to 90% of my body, including soles of my feet and palms of my hands. Hives surface and it's nearly unbearable. 

This, plus a million.
We find the only urgent care in town, and with no one else there they take me quickly. I get a shot and a dose pack of Prednisone, although they don't ever look at my skin.

I spend our first 48 hours with 2 hours sleep (insomnia is an unfortunate drug side effect when staying awake to itch is the worst). Eventually I figure out that ice packs give me some relief. Wednesday I finally sleep and the itching lessens. We get nice light rains throughout the day. 

Thursday I'm hopeful that the hives are calming, and we load up the rig for a quick drive to On the Road Again RV. When we left Las Vegas we didn't have all our lights or brakes on the toad. Bill has done all he can without resolution. The owner, Brian, works on the problem as soon as we pull in. 

As happens too often with auto repair, the issue disappears as soon as they check the connections. Still, Brian doesn't just send us on our way. He makes several checks and then pulls the Jeep into the shop. At Bill's request he reinforces the plug bracket. We're hopeful this will permanently fix the connections. 

We prefer to use small businesses when we can, and I highly recommend this service shop for any RV repairs you may need when in the area. Brian is a great guy!

An hour after we left, we're back in our site. Parking forward a few feet makes the satellite connect correctly. Despite our shaky start, I really like this place.

Friday we're very ready to get out and see some of this beautiful area. This is the last area of Arizona we haven't visited, and we've both been looking forward to being here. 

This doesn't look like any other part of the state. It's now easy to believe there is more mountainous terrain in Arizona than there is in Switzerland, and more forest than Minnesota. We spend a wonderful day at the Mogollon (muggy-un) Rim under blue skies with temps in the high 60's. I can't keep my sandals on without my feet itching, but otherwise I'm better.

The visitor's center is closed, but the large deck is open for enjoying the amazing views. 

At 7500' we can see miles of thick forest.

Looking more blue ridge than southwest.
We drive about 12 miles to the top of the rim. It's a rough, washboard forest road, but worth the bumps to find this view!

The rim includes a few small reservoirs. Water levels are low, and everything looks like maintenance is sporadic. 
The water is clearer than the green reflections show.

So much forest.

When the ears are up, she's really moving!

The Ponderosa Pines grow so straight.
A small stand of ghost trees.
The Predisone makes me feel "yucky", and my hands and feet are itching horribly, so Saturday is another quiet day. Other than venturing out to get Tessa a bath, we stay home. 

Sunday is our last day so we take a day trip to Roosevelt Lake. We've been to the lake from the south on another day trip, but turned back at the bridge and didn't see much of the area.

As we drop back down to the desert, we leave behind the pines and find cactus. Saquaros! Lots of them! Temps steadily climb and we hit triple digits at the lake.

For a hot Sunday afternoon there are very few boats on the water.

Not fans.
I'm sure I've read about it, but had forgotten there were cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument. Fortunately we can see them from the visitor's center (tiny, tiny center), so we don't have to even consider making the climb in the heat. As if :-))))

Salido-Style cliff dwellings.

The ruins are dated between 1250 and 1450 BC.

Late spring blooms surround the visitor center.

I love seeing healthy Ocotillos.

Colors of the Tonto Basin.

Palo Verde provide splashes of bright yellow.
Several Saquaro are beginning to bloom.
Some will be spectacular!
A tiny bee approaches nirvana.
Chain Cholla 
Back up the mountain we enjoy late lunch at the BeeLine Cafe. It's one of the original diners with a colorful history. It could use a good scrubbing, but the food is tasty and the service friendly. Temps are again in the mid-80's. 

Monday we pack up, and our "fixed" connection is not working again. We make the short drive to the shop only to find it's closed on Mondays. Oh well.....we'll find another place down the road.

The drive to Show Low is more mountain driving through miles of thick green pine forest. I'm feeling pretty good, and looking forward to a week in the beautiful White Mountains.


  1. I hope you've stopped itching. I love the ponderosa pine found in northern Arizona but I'd really like to see the saguaros bloom. Your great picks will have to do.

    1. I've always missed the blooms so I'm hoping the bonus for still being in AZ this late will be some giant blossoms!!

  2. Hope you figured out what caused those hives and are well on the way to comfort! The saguaro flower is such a beauty, glad you captured some to share.

    1. Pretty sure it's an allergic reaction to the tree pollen that is so high in the mountains right now. Unfortunately it means we're cutting our visit short :-(

  3. I'm not thinking the same thing Jodee--I've never seen tree pollen cause that kind of reaction--that worries me!! Have you changed laundry detergent lately, has Tessa been bathed in anything different, are you taking any new meds or eating anything new, etc.???I never realized saguaros bloomed anywhere but on the very tips--beautiful!

    1. I went through everything I've come in contact with and can't come up with anything new. I'm really hoping our move out of the mountains makes the difference, otherwise we're heading back to my doctor in SoCal early.

  4. Sorry to hear about your rash/hives. Itching all over is so NOT fun! The only things worse would be to have high humidity to accompany the itching:) Hope you are improving:)

    Your photos at the overlooks remind me more of the Great Smokey Mountains than AZ! So glad you were able to see the saguaro blooms. Love that you had a bunch of blossoms together. Our saguaro blooms are coming out one at a time. I want to see them all bloom at once!!! But I am thrilled we are here and there are a few saguaro blooming!! My first:)

    1. I think it's worse than pain - so hard to get relief :-(

      The White Mountains are so different from any other place we've seen in Arizona. We're still in the Saquaros and I'm hoping for lots more blooms!

  5. How awful to be constantly itching all over. What causes your hives and what good is prednisone if it doesn't help the itching and makes you feel yucky?? I can't imagine days of this. You are really a trooper to get out and about with this and in triple digit temps. Remind me to stay clear of Arizona in April although based on your pictures of the blooming cactus and the ruins at Tonto, I'd sure like to see them both. Maybe at night if the temps drop? How do people enjoy those desert flowers at 101 degrees?? Really really hope you are no longer itching.

    1. Guess I should read the previous comments BEFORE not after I post one since many of my questions are answered there. Don't you love the smell of those ponderosas? One of my favorite things about the west.

    2. LOL. Our temps dropped into the 50's while in the mountains, but I suspect we may have the AC on for the rest of our trip back to SoCal. We would never be here this late if not for the wedding, but seeing the blooms are a bonus for sure!

  6. I am highly allergic to poison oak. Whenever I have a case (thankfully, rarely) I use a powder astringent called Domenboro. You can get it at most drug stores. Mix it with warm water, soak a washcloth in the solution and let the cloth sit on your rash. It feels so good! I hope you're feeling better soon!
    When we lived in our S & B our neighbor had a cactus garden. I remember several blooms, some were pretty big. Loving all of them on the same stem.

    1. Thanks Rene! I never knew itching could be so unbearable :-( I'd love to see when those huge clusters finally bloom!

  7. Oh Jodee....I just saw this post. I'm so sorry to hear about your hives/rash and am hoping that by now it's gone away. I had hives once (allergic reaction to antibiotics) and it was awful.
    It looks as though you found plenty of beauty, as you always do. A park ranger told us about Tonto National Monument years ago, and we've still not been, so thanks for reminding us. And lucky you, seeing those gorgeous saguaro blooms! I've always wanted to see them, so thanks for the beautiful photos. And that photo of Tessa flying is adorable. :-)

    1. Yes, I'm much better. Thanks! We had to leave the mountains, although I don't know if that did it or whatever it was just moved out of my system. Still frustrating :-( The cliff dwelling is beautiful, you'll love it!

  8. Great shot of that incoming bee, Jodee! We loved seeing the saguaro blooms last year. I'm the rare bird that likes those 101 temps in the desert. All I need is a little shade and a cold Aquafina. 😎