March 2019 – Our new little RZR adventure buggy has been giving us loads of fun in the Arizona desert, introducing us to lots of pretty places and even taking us there in the pre-dawn hours so we can catch the sunrise as it happens.
From lakes to streams to riverbeds and washes we’ve been seeing lots of new and beautiful places.
The triple towing is working out well, and we’ll have an article on that soon as we gather more photos. It is quite a train!
Arizona has seen some crazy weather this winter with a huge snowstorm blowing through last week. Before the snow arrived we caught a glimpse of the full moon balanced on a cactus.
But dark clouds and a rainbow in the distance signaled the storm that was to come. That evening’s sunset was out of this world!
Lots of rain and a little snowmelt up north made the water level in Lake Pleasant begin to rise. What a surprise it was when we headed down one road and found the tide coming in!
One sunny warm day we took the RZR down Castle Hot Springs Road. This is a dirt road that goes off into remote parts of the Sonoran Desert between northwestern Phoenix and Wickenburg.
This road can be driven with a regular passenger car, but it was especially fun in the open air RZR. The road heads past some beautiful craggy mountainsides that are covered with saguaro cacti. Just magnificent!
Wild burros live out this way, and we saw a small group watching us closely when we hiked into the brush a ways.
They wandered around but kept an eye on us as we approached them.
They weren’t sure what to make of Buddy, but when they’d decided he was close enough one gave chase and he ran as fast as his little legs could carry him.
15 years ago, before we started RVing full-time we drove this same road in a car and stopped at the boarded up Castle Hot Springs resort to look around.
Castle Hot Springs first opened in 1896 for city folk and out of state visitors who wanted a genuine taste of the Sonoran Desert in a very remote setting. It was a high end resort and the owners had planted rows of Mexican palm trees all around it.
When we visited all those years ago the resort had been closed for quite some time. The palm trees were still tall and healthy and standing in rows, but the buildings were a little worse for wear. It seemed such a shame that a beautiful property like that would be left to disintegrate in the hot Arizona sun.
Well, much to our surprise, someone has bought it and is doing an unbelievable renovation. The whole thing is now enclosed behind a solid rock wall and an elegant front gate.
There is a lush green lawn and we could see the main lodge in the distance. It was a little funny to be blocked from accessing the building, because we had wandered all over the property before and remembered that yellow building well.
The palm trees look fantastic and there is a sparkling swimming pool surrounded by lounge chairs and colorful umbrellas. Amazing!
A guard at the gate told us the property was purchased by the owner of Sun State Equipment, a construction equipment rental company. Just the right folks to buy a property that needed an overhaul!
And the price per night to stay here… Well… For the budget conscious there are rooms in the less fancy dwellings for $800 a night. If you aren’t so concerned about expenses, the upscale rooms go for $1,200 a night.
The old barn is being turned into a restaurant. Construction on that hasn’t really started, but when it opens it will be open to the public. So, if you have a RZR (yes!) or if you don’t mind a long bumpy ride on a dirt road, you’ll be able to get a taste of the good life in the restaurant!
Of course, some guests come in by helicopter.
We got so busy in our conversation with the guard that we didn’t notice Buddy had already found his own way in. He stood on the other side of the gate staring at us as if to say, “What are you waiting for? Come on in!”
Unfortunately, without a room reservation we couldn’t get past the gate. So we jumped back in the RZR and continued on.
As we rode along we noticed a huge wash alongside the road. Curious, we just had to get out and explore. There was a trickle of water running in the middle of the wash and we saw some little footprints in the mud.
We loved the patterns the mud made as it flowed over the pebbles. It looked a lot like chocolate covered nuts of some kind!
Back at Lake Pleasant we caught a few beautiful sunsets. The sky and water were filled with pastel shades.
We captured a few sunrises too, and they were worth getting out of bed and going hiking for!
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More info about this area:
We’ve been fortunate to visit some gorgeous resorts, especially in Mexico:
- PV: Paradise Village Marina – A Resort Vacation! 05/25/13
- Costalegre: Manzanillo’s Las Hadas Resort – The Med in Mexico 03/23/13
- Huatulco – Las Palmas Villas on picturesque Playa Violin – Gorgeous! 02/03/13
- Huatulco’s Villa Escondida – A beach bonfire with new friends 01/31/13
- PV: Paradise Village – The Lap of Luxury 01/02/12
- Loreto: Isla Coronado & Villa del Palmar – Taming the Sea of Cortez 05/16/11
Index of Mexico articles
Our most recent posts:
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- Top Sedona AZ Hikes: Little Horse to Chicken Point + Templeton Trail (Cathedral Rock)! 05/03/19
- Brins Mesa Trail & Unexpected Delights in Sedona Arizona! 04/26/19
- Spring Has Sprung! – Sweet Days at Roosevelt Lake, Arizona 04/20/19