Gilbert Ray Campground Arizona

Sometimes on our snow bird explorations we find a hidden gem and Gilbert Ray Campground ticks all of the boxes.

Bordering Saguaro National Park and a mier mile from Old Tucson Movie Studio Theme Park is Tucson Mountain Park which included in that park is Gilbert Ray Campground. Located 13 miles from Tucson, Gilbert Ray has 130 RV sites with individual electric hook-ups and 5 designated tent sites.. Water is available and a RV dump station. NO shower facilities. RESERVATIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTED.

The fees are $20.00 a night and a maximum stay of 7 days only. The trick to getting a spot as this is a very popular campground with no reservations accepted is to get there early in the morning, I’d say 7am, yes I said 7 am is best. Its worth it as you will definitely want to stay longer as there is so much to see and do in the surrounding area.

Some of the sites are pretty small, but as you check in they ask the size of your RV and select an appropriate size site for you. No favoritism here you get what they choose.

Tucson Mountain Park has a lot of maintained trails and vista pullouts for spectacular views of the Sonoran desert with plenty of pullouts for vehicles. This particular year was abundant with rainfall and the cactus were blooming profusely. In all of the years we have explored the desert we have never seen so much beauty.

Next Stop The Channel Islands Please Join Us On Our Journey

JUST AROUND THE BEND JEFF AND LIZ

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OLD TUCSON ARIZONA

OLD TUCSON is a theme park and historical film location in Pima County, Arizona. Over 400 movies and television shows were filmed at this location. if you are a fan of old western shows and movies you will probably recognize a lot of the backdrops. Located a mier mile from Gilbert Ray Campground and 4 miles from Saguaro National Park. General Admission is $19.95 and $10.95 for children (4-11) years old. A very large parking lot with plenty of RV room and free. Hours depend on the time of year, check their website as it changes often. Oldtucson.com. Old Tucson is very pet friendly as long as you keep your pet on a leash and your pet is friendly. NOTE: There is water placed for your pets comfort as it can get very hot and beware there is gun fire during part of the days events during stunt and cowboy shows.

Step back in time and plan on spending the entire day as we did enjoying numerous shows, gun fights, saloon musicals, living history and film history tour presentations. Don’t forget to take the train ride and plenty of rides for the kiddos to keep the whole family entertained. A western themed zipline is a very popular attraction located in the middle of the park which is an additional $20.00 a ride or 3 rides for $45.00.

The quality of the performances, whether it was singing, dancing or gunfighting was very, very professional. PERSONAL NOTE: Jeff was very happy as there was excellent BBQ and Good Ice Cream.

Our next adventure in the Tucson Area is The Historic Presidio District

Cheers From Just Around The Bend

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DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK ARIZONA

Another fabulous State Park that is kept in great shape. Clean restrooms that are literally heated, free hot showers and clean, clean, clean. Sites are swept and tables are washed off as soon as it is vacated. The upper loops are $5.00 a night cheaper with great views of the Verde Valley. Quail loop campground was $35.00 a night, the upper loops $30.00 with spectacular views and less trees which make a difference in the warmer weather. Well that’s what the Ranger said anyway. . There are extensive trail systems for hiking, biking and horseback riding. You are miles from Sedona, Jerome, Cottonwood, Flagstaff and Clarksville. There is so much to see and do in the surrounding areas this campground makes for a great base camp.

The first day we visited Tuzigoot National Monument – Indian Ruins and Petroglyphs including a spectacular museum.

Montezuma’s Well WAS NEXT ON OUR LIST-more spectacular Indian ruins

Sedona Valley scenic byway was a beautiful drive with views and snow on the ground.

ALL ABOARD A FUN AND INTERACTIVE TRAIN RIDE

Like I said 2 weeks was probably not enough to see it all but we gave it a good try. In addition we visited Jerome and had a fabulous meal in a bordello called THE BORDELLO OF JEROME . The gyros were highly recommended and fantastic. The cook and owner made everything from scratch including the tzatziki sauce, pita bread and amazing feta crumbles, The lamb/beef mixture was non greasy and fantastic. We also roamed the streets of Cottonwood with lovely eclectic shops and a great BBQ restaurant called HOG WILD BBQ, I know the name is wild, ha but the food was outstanding.

Out next adventure takes us to Gilbert Ray Campground near Tucson AZ – see ya there CHEERS JEFF AND LIZ

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GRAPEVINE CANYON – LAUGHLIN NEVADA

This is one of those local hidden gems that no one tells you about and lucky we found it exploring around Laughlin, Nevada. About a mile off of the main highway on a dusty gravel road named Christmas Tree Road is a protected petroglyph site that beats any petroglyph site we have visited yet in our travels. The parking lot is well marked with a very clean restroom before the trailhead begins. From the parking lot is a easy 1/2 mile walk to the beginning of the cliffs, with plenty of beautiful scenery along the way.

Of course being the Thompsons we packed a lunch and plenty of water and probably spent a good half of a day exploring . The trail meanders around the rocks and petroglyphs for about 2 1/2 miles if you want to walk to the end. It’s a ruff go after the first mile with lots of rock climbing and literally sliding down cliffs but great fun for the young. This is a must adventure if you are in the area.

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND

OUR NEXT DESTINATION IS DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK IN ARIZONA

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LAKE MEAD AND BOULDER CITY ARIZONA AND NEVADA

Boulder City was not what we expected. I thought dry, hot desert, nothing to explore, BORING, well that was not the case. I didn’t realize that a mire 4 miles from Boulder City was Hoover Dam and the expansion bridge which went across The Colorado river was incredible. After the Highway bypass was finished the cities staff went to work revitalizing the town and they did a great job. New bike paths, parks, and a nostalgic downtown with original neon signs. Boulder is one of the few Nevada cities that gambling and prostitution is illegal. This puts a relaxed persona on the town. There was a art and wine tour with live music downtown when we were visiting in February. The park on the way down to Lake Mead has resident Mountain Sheep hanging out in the park for great photo opportunities. We stayed 2 nights at the Elks Lodge RV park with Full hookups for members only. We moved over to Boulder Campground which is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area ran by the National Park Service.The very scenic sites were 10 dollars a night for senior pass holders and 20 dollars for young folks. There is 2 more campgrounds on the Nevada side and more on the Arizona side of the Lake. There is also some dispersed sites on the lake for free BLM camping. A plus to the campground is a 38 mile paved bike loop which goes along the lake, up towards Henderson and loops back to Boulder City. We had fun in the city and the Hoover dam was fascinating. We were reminded of the Selma Hayek movie Fools Rush In. Boulder won our hearts with great people and a fun nostalgic town. We will be back.

Until our next Adventure CHEERS FROM JEFF AND lIZ AT JUSTAROUNDTHEBEND.BLOG

You are probably wondering where are these Nomads headed to next – Well its to DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK SEE YOU THERE!!!!

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DEATH VALLEY CALIFORNIA

DEATH VALLEY 2019 TRAVELS

We sadly departed Alabama Hills BLM Land and headed over Highway 190 through the Panamint pass, with a 8% grade entering Death Valley. At the very top of the pass a turnout called Father Crowley Vista Point is worth a stop. Just about the time we got out of our truck to enjoy the view fighter jets decided to put on a show of a lifetime for us and before our eyes the jets flew deep in the canyon yet so close to us you could almost see the pilots eyes. The canyon wasn’t straight and to witness the skill of the pilots was spectacular, this went on for over 30 minutes.. From this point on make sure your brakes are good and use your gears, as it is 8 miles at a 8 percent grade yet very scenic.

 We have now arrived at the floor of Death Valley, today it is 82 degrees, I can tell you we are not use to heat and it feels so warming and nice. We arrive at Sunrise  Camp ground with no one to check you in at the kiosk, it’s kind of cool you go to a self-check in stations ( which are scattered everywhere)  enter your information, slide your credit card and presto you go find a site anywhere you want as it is first come first serve.  The fees are $7.00 a night golden age and $14.00 regular. Totally dry camping, you do get very clean restrooms, water and free sewer dump.  Generators allowed with regulated operating hours. The camp hosts are amazing so friendly and helpful. In addition while we visited it was quiet, well except for the howling of the coyote’s, we chose camp site L1 with a vista view of the Funeral Mountains.

After settling in, we immediately head to the visitor’s center for maps, weather info and info on ranger talks. There is a lot to see and do from trail hiking, biking, arches to view and miles and miles of salt beds Ninety-one percent of Death Valley is designated wilderness, you must use common sense exploring this vast land. Before setting off on trails or roadways the park recommends one gallon of water, a day per person is required and you must stay on all trails and roadways. There are overly  friendly coyote’s you must not feed, sidewinder rattlesnakes that burrow under the rocks and sand waiting for kangaroo rats and the cutest burrows that bite and love to block traffic.

PS: Texas Spring is another campground with the same amities. Across the roadway is Furnace Creek Camp Ground with full amities if you desire.

The lonely Burrow

Join us on our next adventure to Lake Mead, maybe the weather will let us launch our kayak and do some water exploring.

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND – JEFF AND LIZ 

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ALABAMA HILLS CALIFORNIA

THE ALABAMA  HILLS

This destination has been on our bucket list for some time, now that we have arrived it is has been well worth the very scenic drive. Alabama Hills is BLM land, with wide open spaces and very large rock formations that look like they could come alive at any minute. Over 400 motion pictures, TV shows and commercials have been filmed here.  Ironically as you enter the area, the roadways name is  movie road. You can obtain a detailed map at the Eastern Sierra Mountain Visitors Center. 

There is a selected few dry camping spots as the BLM is re thinking the usage of the area and in the future may eliminate the free camping. This is due to heavy usage and the destruction of the plants and land. There is two designated camping sites with fees and not much amenities.

Located in the city of Lone Pine, The Museum of Western Film History is worth a stop. For a $5.00 donation the museum includes a history documentary on the film history of the Alabama hills and over 40 on going exhibits containing memorabilia and information about westerns from the earliest days of the silent screen to some of the latest. The staff also offer tours of the Alabama Hills showing you special film locations.

Next stop 15 miles up the roadway is a Internment Camp Museum called MANZANAR. Extremely well presented with actual buildings you can tour and artifacts that humble you. This is a national historic site. Give yourself at least two hours for touring the museum and camp. There is also a drive around the perimeter of the camp with stops along the way. A must see.

Please join us on our next adventure at Death Valley California

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND

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RED ROCK CANYON CALIFORNIA

I was born and raised in California, everyone I have spoken to about our next adventure have never heard of Red Rock Canyon State Park. Its actually on the way to The Alabama Hills so why not, let’s explore one of California’s least known State Parks. We took Highway 58 from Bakersfield toward Mohave and North on Highway 14, in a little over 20 miles of pure desert you begin to travel into a different land. WOW- you would think you were in the middle of a Indiana Jones movie. In fact many movies, videos and commercials have been filmed here.

Most of the campsites are nestled into the brown cliffs and at night the camp fires danced literally off of the rocks. These fluted brown folds are the result of wind and rain eroding the softer materials. Very nice hiking trails, a beautiful nature walk which starts at the Visitor Center..

Restrooms are very clean with a $20.00 dump site fee. Camp fees are $23.00 a night with a $2.00 discount for seniors. Dry Camping includes tables and a fire pit with spectacular views.

On a personal note we could have stayed here a long time, the campground was extremely quiet with just the sounds of coyotes and the breathtaking hiking trails really ticked alot of our personal boxes. Would highly recommend.

Please join us for our next adventure in The Alabama Hills – see you there!!!

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND – JEFF AND LIZ

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Redwood National Park CALIFORNIA

From Brookings, Oregon and a mere 30 mile drive the Redwoods begin. Large and empowering giants standing guard on the edges of the Redwood Highway with vista views of the Pacific Ocean. What a beginning to our next ADVENTURE.

You are in Redwood National Park. If you travel north of Elk Country RV park past Berry Glen and turn west on Newton B Drury scenic parkway and stop at the combined California state park and national park visitors center. You can then proceed for 10 miles of amazing redwood trails and vistas.

NOTE: We hadn’t expected that all of the National Parks throughout our journey would be closed due to Political issues, so our adventure was condensed. The National and State Park volunteers and Rangers are so accommodating and helpful they want you to have a wonderful experience in spite of political issues. The main trails to lots of huge Redwoods were closed, Visitor Centers and some restrooms depending on if they fell under State or Federal.

Despite the closers we did get to see a lot of The Redwoods and many large trees and definitely felt the Redwood experience.

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Until Our Next Adventure – Cheers from JUST AROUND THE BEND 

NEXT STOP NAPA VALLEY CALIFORNIA

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ELK COUNTRY RV RESORT AND CAMPGROUND

The beginning of our 2019 snowbird travels we took a recommendation from Ray at Love your RV and checked out Elk Country RV Resort just a few miles south of Orick California . 
This place is not only a bargain at 35 dollars a night for full hook up and wi fi the location and wildlife viewing was exceptional. We have watched Ray for years showing the Roosevelt Elk herd so very near his trailer and we were not disappointed .

One evening I was taking photos at the red schoolhouse and the herd migrated toward our trailer. I had to hustle back so I could get in the trailer before they were to close and safety wise I couldn’t get back in for the night. When they bed down for the night they stay put. You definitely don’t want to get to close to an elk for they will protect their territory and their adorable babies. We stayed 5 days and never tired of watching the herd. If it wasn’t for an extreme storm headed our way we would have stayed longer for further exploration of the area. The management was  extremely nice and filled us in on the history of the area and things to see and do.

NOTE: When you get to Elk Country RV Park remember to take the south entrance road as there are posted closed signs on the old bridge because of so many tourists coming to gawk at the elk. It is private property but the tourist enter anyway. There is a red schoolhouse which was stone lagoon school from 1893/1958. They moved it from the west side of 101 to its present location . They will let you look inside if you ask. 
You can see a lot of our shots are taken from our trailer from the Windows as the elk are just feet from the trailer. Where else can you be in the middle of an elk herd from the comfort of your own trailer. Try out Elk Country RV Resort you won’t be disappointed.

Stone Lagoon School
SO CLOSE
Watch Out


  • Our first day of exploration took us to Fern Canyon. You walk down a groomed trail for about a 1/2 mile then you turn right and walk straight up another canyon but this time you walk in the middle of a creek. Wear your rubber boots for this one or you will get very wet. This is the canyon they filmed Jurassic Park #3 and Star Wars in, the farther you walk the more it seems you are in the middle of either movie. So green and lush with 5 finger ferns growing down the steep walls . Keep your eye out as this is a favorite place for another herd of Roosevelt ELK.

FERN CANYON

This is still the trail
Fern Canyon


FERN CANYON

Another little side trip was Patrick’s Point State Park which is a fee area with Great cliff top views and trails.
Patrick’s point road into Trinidad is very scenic. We had some great clam chowder at Trinidad bay eatery and gallery. The public beach is great in Trinidad and a cool wharf to walk out on to see the bay.

PATRICKS POINT
SPECTACULAR

Cheers From Just Around The Bend Jeff and Liz

Next Adventure is THE REDWOODS

Be Careful In Fern Canyon