Welcome to our (very personal) reviews of the campsites we have visited. If you arrived here from a link on our travel blog, Semi-True Tales of Our Life On the Road, you can click here to read all of our campground reviews.

If you would like to know more about me, or contact us, click on "Who are We?" (to the right). For more information about what you can expect to find in these reviews, click on "About These Reviews". Finally, a note about the photos: hover your cursor over a photo to read the caption, or click the photo to enlarge it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Our Opinion: Rave.  We love coming to this lovingly developed and maintained desert park.

View of Bisbee from Queen Mine RV Park Date of Stay: We have stayed here half a dozen times over 4 years.  This stay began 12/20/2009; we plan to be here 2 weeks.  This is an update of our 9/2008 review.

Weather During Stay: It is winter here now, so weather is cold.  Low’s might go below freezing, with daytime highs anywhere from the 40‘s to the 60‘s.  Wind, sun, clouds...

Site Description:  Queen Mine RV park is a large, level, graveled circle, perched high up on the side of the open pit copper mine that dominates Old Bisbee.  The 25 FHU sites (30 amp), all with cable TV, are all back-ins, lining the outside of the circle, facing center.  Generally, motor homes park in the sites on the south side, facing the view to the north, backed up to a mountain; 5th wheels with large rear windows park on the north side, their view windows facing Bisbee or the red mountain to the north.  Great views.

Low rock walls and plantings of native plants and trees have transformed this gravel lot into a cozy refuge.  Above the Queen Mine museum and tours, it almost feels remote… but it is a short walk down the hill into charming, funky, old town Bisbee.  The small office building houses a clean laundry room and restrooms.  Trash and can recycling is near the entrance.  A covered picnic table outside the office makes a pleasant spot to socialize, and a small dog walk hugs the driveway.

Site 6, QMRV, with no neighbors! Rate: This park no longer offers Passport America or Escapee discounts.  Rates - including WiFi and cable TV - are $28/night, or a weekly rate of $165, electric include.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon signal is strong here, and the aircard is on speedy Broadband.  WiFi is available at no extra charge, though we haven’t tried it.  About 30 channels on cable TV; no obstacles for satellites.  Radio in this part of the state is crummy - no local NPR (hooray for Sirius!).  NOAA weather radio does not get a signal here.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: A level RV park at 5300’ on the side of a deep, defunct copper pit mine.  Wonderful views of deep red mountainsides and the Victorian buildings lining the steep canyons of Old Bisbee.

Lighting/Noise: Subdued night lighting is unobtrusive; very quiet.

Office and laundry/bathhouse building Favorite Sites: Since we travel in a motorhome, we like the sites that back up to the hillside, where we face north east.

Hiking/Walking: Walking up Tombstone Canyon, though Bisbee to the underpass, is about 4 miles round trip.  Wandering through the streets of Bisbee is fun, too.  Lots of good hiking in the area, but all the hikes require a drive.

Comments: Finding the way to the park can be tricky.  We unhooked our towed the first time we came up here to check it out, as the road and route can be confusing. The Bisbee Natural Food Coop is a short drive away, Safeway is a little farther.  A good golf course is in Naco, 5 miles away.  Eat at Rosa’s for great Italian food, CafĂ© Roka for expensive and delicious fine dining, Bisbee Breakfast Club for delicious (and large) breakfasts and lunch.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Our Opinion: Rave.  This large regional park has spacious sites and good hiking trails, adjacent to an urban area (Phoenix, AZ).

Classic desert scene at Usery Mountain ParkDate of Stay: December 15th through 19th, 2009.

Weather During Stay:  Lovely mild southwest winter weather.  Lows at night in the low 50’s, daytime highs in the 70’s.  Mostly blue skies.

Site Description:  Our site (27) is a very spacious back-in, aligned mostly east-west, perfect to capture the sun’s morning warmth.  The reasonably level, gravel pad is suitably sized for a big rig, with lots of level, graveled space behind.  A Palo Verde provides shade and privacy on the south (patio) side.

Of the 75 sites available, it looks as though half a dozen are occupied by hosts - and it shows in the meticulous maintenance of the sites.  Both “pullout” and back in sites are available (predominantly back ins).  All sites are raked gravel, with large concrete picnic tables, fire rings and grills at each site.  All sites have water and 30/50 amps.  Most sites can accommodate big rigs, and most sites are level enough – but we did see several that are too sloped for our use.

Typical back-in site at Usery Mountain Park This is a huge park, and the campground designers did not skimp on space. Several restrooms (with showers); adequate dumpsters.  Spacious dump station available. 

Rate: W/E sites are $25/night.  No senior discount; no weekly discount.  Camping fee includes use of dump station.  All sites are first-come, first-served, no reservations.  14 day consecutive stay limit enforced, but only one night out required before you return. 

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon service is good on both the aircard and phones.  No obstacles for roof mounted TV satellite. All networks, PBS, and a few independents on rooftop antenna. NPR on 91.5 (probably others as well).

Huge site 27 at Usery Mountain ParkElevation/Landscape/Terrain:  This is gently rolling terrain, punctuated by arid hills and stony mountains.  Fairly dense desert vegetation: palo verde, saguaro, barrel and cholla… very appealing desert scenery.   Elevation is 2,000 feet above sea level.  Views from the campground are of other (reasonably distant) campers, cactus, multitudes of birds, and high, rocky mountain outcroppings.  Distant views of the city lights at night.

Lighting/Noise: No streetlights in the camping loop (a good thing), but the restrooms have fairly bright lighting at night.  We were positioned so that wasn’t a bother.  Very little urban  noise of any kind.

Favorite Sites: Many, many, appealing sites here.  Choose according to your sun exposure and view preference.  As usual, we prefer perimeter sites to the interior sites, and back-ins to pullouts.

Site Spacing with pullout site on rightHiking/Walking:  Walking the loop road of this campground is pleasant for a stroll, or take the half-mile nature trail.  Trailheads for several longer hikes are a short drive from the campground.  We enjoyed the birds-eye view from Wind Cave, and a viewpoint on the Pass Mountain Trail.  Trail maps and information are available at the check-in kiosk.

Comments: This park is a lovely oasis next to densely populated Phoenix, AZ.  The campground occupies a small area of the park, which includes substantial day use areas, numerous trails, and a horse staging area.  November and December would be ideal times to visit - the campground was half full during our stay, but is full daily from mid-January through the end of March.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Indio Elks Lodge Parking - our site in November 2007. UPDATED DECEMBER 15, 2011 (FEE INCREASE).

Our Opinion: Recommend, but best before winter “high season“, when the parking feels quite crowded.  Private; you must be an Elk to stay here.

Date of Stay: December 11 and 12, 2009 and December 13-16, 2011.  

Sites: 54 sites, 4 (back-ins along the back wall of the lodge) of which are FHU.  The remaining 50 sites have water and 30 amp E.  All sites are reasonably level, about half on asphalt (all back-ins) and half on gravel (back-to-back sites, which you can pull through if not crowded).  Sites are sufficient for big rigs, but are very “cozy” when all spots are filled – just enough room for slides and a slightly extended awning.  (In the photo below, we have an empty site on both sides of our rig.)  No picnic tables. Dump station on site.

Site 17, Indio Elks Lodge, 12/09 Rate: For 30 amp E and W, $25 for the first night, $20/night for subsequent nights.  FHU sites are $5 more per night. Less for dry camping – $10?

Phone/radio/TV: Strong Verizon phones and aircard signal.  WiFi available in the parking area; get the password from the lodge. Local NPR on 89.3 FM.  No obstructions for TV satellite.  Several local TV stations available on antenna.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Flat, level parking on gravel and asphalt in a large lot behind the lodge.  This is mainly a residential neighborhood, very quiet. Views are of other rigs, the lodge, and palm trees.   Elevation is not much above sea level.

Lighting/Noise:   Subdued night lighting and little noise at night.

Site width at Indio Elks; there is an empty site between these two rigs. Favorite Sites: In the center of the parking area, there is a little green “park” with grass and a few trees.  If you can snag one of the two sites that put the park on your door side, they give you a little extra space.

Hiking/Walking:  Not much in the area unless you enjoy neighborhood sidewalks.  Good hiking in the nearby arid mountains.

Comments: This is a bargain in a pricy area.  We like to stay for awhile to soak up warmth, hike the arid mountains, eat at good restaurants and ogle the beauty of this super-wealthy area.  Plenty to do around here; close to every kind of shopping including Costco and Trader Joes.