Tuesday, 8/11, near Payson, AZ at the Sinkhole NFS campground. Posted from Heber, which has good cell service
I’ve been here before: once on a weekend trip from Tucson with friends, once as a “first night out” location headed north. That’s why I’m here now: I want to get north as efficiently as I can. The location is good for that: it’s a relatively easy day’s drive from home; it’s a pleasant spot with pine trees and shade and level places to park. Basic stuff: no utilities. Pit toilets, well-maintained.
When I pulled in, I discovered that, of all things, I’d left my “Golden Age” federal pass at home. It gets me a 50% discount on camping and free access to parks and monuments etc. I have the pass number written down, so I put that on the registration slip along with my check and dropped it in the box. Shortly afterward things went mildly sideways. The campground host (employed by the private company to whom the Forest Service has outsourced the management of campground hereabouts) showed up in his electric cart and asked to see the card. I explained I’d left it behind, but the number was on the slip. Sorry, the rules are clear: the card must be shown. No, he didn’t doubt me, but rules are rules. And to back him up he called in the boss, his wife, who said the same thing with all the pleasant demeanor I associate with underpaid high school librarians having a bad day. I wrote another check to make of the difference in fee (all of $8; this isn’t about the money) and went to sit down in the rig to nurse my righteous sense of having been screwed over by The Man.
Things got even more interesting. I ran some water to wash the few lunch dishes I’d generated when I stopped in Payson for gas. Hmmm. Smells funny. Yup, really funny. I checked the water at various places: kitchen sink, bathroom sink, toilet. Distinct, unpleasant, sulphurous smell. I’d topped off the tank at home. But the water sitting in the tank must have gotten contaminated somehow… I realized I’d checked the rig’s water system while it was connected to my house, and hadn’t actually run water out of the storage tank. Lesson learned.
I carry a lot of drinking water with me in various containers, and use the rig’s fresh water tank only for washing and flushing. But this smell does not seem like something I want to wash in.
So. The plan now is to continue north to Gallup, and rather than park overnight for free in the casino parking lot, to stay at a commercial camp with full hookups. I’ll drain the water system, refill it with a very dilute Clorox mix, let it stand, drain it again, refill … a good afternoon’s project. Pain in the neck, but there seems to be a good, not too expensive RV camp in Gallup. Part of the Escapees network, which I joined mostly to get their directory of boondocking sites. I checked: I DO have my Escapees card with me.
Breakfast time. It rained in the night, and the air is full of the pleasant smells of a pine forest after rain.