Shake down Trip # 2
We have owned our new RV for a bit over a month and did our first shake down trip at Lost Dutchman State Park last month where we hooked up with power to test everything which runs on power. Then we came back home and spent a number of weeks upgrading and making modifications based on lessons learned and also for what we would like to see in an RV. On this trip we wanted to dry camp so we could test our new solar panels and batteries and see how long we could last without running a generator. We debated driving to Quartzsite but we have been so busy that we decided to try somewhere a bit closer to home. Finding a campsite in Maricopa County in March is nearly impossible BUT we lucked out and got a site at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Off we went! We didn’t tow our toad (car) on our first shake down trip because we didn’t have all the parts. But this trip, shake down #2, we towed. It all worked perfectly!!
Campground: Lake Pleasant Regional Park
Location: Lake Pleasant, Arizona
Site: 106 (back in)
Cost: $24.67 (includes an $8 reservation fee)
Services: dry camping
Comments: A perfect place to have a shake down of our new rig and enjoy the fantastic scenery, a few campfires, and some great hiking. Our site was level but was not water front. The sites across from us were all waterfront.
We selected a time period when the weather forecast was for cloudy skies so we could really put our solar panels to the test. The rule was NO RUNNING THE GENERATOR. Everything worked fine, our new solar panels charged us up fully every day even with using the TV at night for watching movies, charging the phone, laptops, camera batteries, etc. AND more importantly, the fridge (compressor 12 volt) kept our food perfectly cool for our entire trip.
There are 2 campgrounds at Lake Pleasant, Desert Tortoise and Roadrunner. Roadrunner has more hookups, is more suited to big rigs, and is a bit hilly in places but both campgrounds have beautiful views of the surrounding lake and scenery. As of January 2019 a gate code is required to enter the individual campgrounds. Just make sure you don’t forget the code (on your reservation paperwork – keep it on your phone) if you leave with your tow vehicle (not that you can’t go back to the main gate and get it or go talk to a host). AND, of course, you cannot reach the gate code box from an RV. You have to get out to press in the code. Perfect!!! (she says in jest).
Desert Tortoise campground is in 2 sections both with some waterfront sites. The section we stayed in was a single road with sites on both sides (one side waterfront) and a turnaround at the end.
The area directly around the campground is lovely and there are plenty of areas to walk around and enjoy the shoreline.
The park has a boat launch, a few nice hiking trails, and several picnic areas (day use area and trailheads). We enjoyed our daily hikes exploring the area, looking for burros (which frequented the campground every night and were quite noisy), and enjoying the spring wildflowers. The longest trail in the park is Beardsley Trail which we could catch from right behind our campsite. We followed it all the way over to the boat launch and then hiked the shoreline back to the campground.
We also hiked the Wild Burro Trail one day looking for burros but, of course, we saw them either in our campground or on the road.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park is right off Castle Hot Springs Rd which continues on north after the turnoff to the park. It makes for a lovely drive as it turns from a paved road to a dirt road and heads on up past the northern end of Lake Pleasant and on towards the newly restored Castle Hot Springs Resort and further. There is a boat launch and another dry camping/boon docking (fee area – self pay) at the northern end of Lake Pleasant. Quite a number of rigs were parked there camping.
We would say that this shake down trip was a success!! At least for now!!