Many Moons Ago Monday – Staying on the Grid

Sunset at Buckeye Hill Regional Park just outside of Phoenix. Buckeye Hill is primitive camping – meaning there are not any developed camp spots. When we arrived the park was pretty full, but eventually, just before sunset, we found a little patch of dirt off the side of the road we could pull over into and camp.

This post is a Many Moons Ago Monday — which means the events that we are presenting here today are not current, they actually happened many moons ago. In this post we pick up after we left The Petrified Forest, February of last year, 14 full moons ago….

February, 25 – March, 4, 2017.

When we go traveling we like to think we are falling off the grid, but the truth is when we are on the road we are way more concerned about the grid than when we are stationary. We like to know exactly where we are, exactly where we are going, how to get to where we are going, and how to find the next place we are going to.

Our main tool for all this is Google maps and the internet, both of which we access from our phone. Although we do have paper maps, paper maps don’t show you exactly where you are in a precise checkerboard of longitude and latitude (the grid).

So when our phone stopped working while we were at The Petrified Forest we had a big problem that we needed to solve before we could travel much further. Using free WiFi at the park and our tablet I found us a campsite outside of Phoenix in Buckeye Arizona. I wasn’t sure what we were going to do about the phone, but I figured if we had to go to a store to buy a new one Phoenix was a good bet for finding that store.

After spending a day parked in the closest space we could find to the door in a Lowe’s parking lot in Buckeye, stealthily using their WiFi, we decided to get a Google phone. I had been thinking about switching to the Google Fi plan for a while, but needed one of Google’s phones specifically designed for Fi in order to do so. Google Fi works off of several different cell networks, so I was hoping that we would get reception more often than we were getting with T-Mobile. Also Google Fi charges just a small fee for calls and text ($20), and they only charge you for the data you use ($10 per gigabyte).

The only problem was we couldn’t just walk into a store in Phoenix and pick one up, we had to order one from Google, so I sent an email to my friend in Tucson asking her if we could have it sent to her. She said no problem and we set out for our third trip of the winter to Deanna’s Driveway.

BTW – I have had the phone for a year now and am pretty pleased with it for the most part. We were supposed to have data in Mexico and although it worked pretty well in Baja, when we got deeper into Baja Sur, we often couldn’t get data bars. But so far traveling in the Southwestern US, we usually have data – even in some remote places. In the summer we save lots of money when we are house sitting and aren’t so reliant on our data plan. And they just changed their plan so although you still pay by the gigabyte, once you reach 6 gigs, data is free up to 15 gigs.

* All pics are click to enlarge.

Before we started our phone search we spent a day relaxing at Buckeye Hills.
Wildflower season was just starting.
After ordering our phone we headed down the highway to camp at a spot closer to Tucson. Along the way we experienced our first sand storm in the rain. Visibility was dodgy there for a while.
Since our phone wouldn’t arrive for a few days we decided to campout near Tucson at the Ironwood Forest National Monument, a Bureau of Land Management site.
Although we had to drive out on a dirt road a long way and in the process of looking for a campsite had to turn back because the road was too rough for us, we did finally find a great spot. We were the only one out there.
Cactus blooming
Glowing Chollas.
Mountains, cacti, and red clay.
More wildflower booms.
It was great year for wildflowers. Eventually we would go to a park in California just to see wildflower blooms.
I loved how these little white flowers looked against the clay.
And some more cacti and mountains.
Finally we made it to Deanna’s and picked up our new phone. Back on the grid! We spent an afternoon hiking with Deanna at one of the manly wonderful places to hike in Tucson, Sabino Canyon.
Cacti at Sabino Canyon.
While we were in Tucson we rode with Deanna up Mt. Lemon. She downloaded an audio tour from the University of Arizona. It was filled with nuggets of history and natural history. We highly recommend the experience.
View from Mt. Lemon.

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