After six weeks at three different locations to start the year, all of which included a great deal of socializing, I was ready for some down time. Some “Marshall time”. I had an idea where I wanted to spend the next month or so but I first needed to make a stop in order to restock my pantry and to pause and regroup for a few days.
Buckeye Hills Regional Park was a perfect midway point between Quartzsite and my next destination down close to the Mexican border. It wasn’t that long of a drive, which fit nicely into the whole theme of me slowing down in 2016.
Buckeye Hills is located in the extreme southwest corner of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, which makes it a convenient location to access the sixth largest city in the US, but I wasn’t here for the city. I was here to be close to the city, but I wasn’t feeling adventurous enough to want to deal with the horrendous Phoenix traffic.
Buckeye Hills Regional Park is a 4,474 acre undeveloped park that offers primitive camping at a few designated campsites. There are also quite a few “undesignated” spots that are very reminiscent of sites you might find in BLM areas – spots to pull off the road with obvious signs of prior camping. Places that aren’t technically camping sites, but if you behave, you can get away with staying there. More on this in a minute. All sites at Buckeye Hills are free, first-come, first-served sites. No electric, water, or dump station in the park.
While I was looking to be by myself, that turned out to be a lot harder to do in southern Arizona this time of the year than I expected. With so many fellow nomads in the state during the winter, I had friends in many places. Turns out that a couple of full-time RVing families that I had camped with at American Girl were staying the week at Buckeye Hills. And the only available campsite was the one closest to where they were at. And by close, I mean 1/8th of a mile away, so not exactly right next door. Their proximity was no issue as I actually never saw them the 6 nights I stayed in Buckeye. They were respecting my need for some alone time, and I greatly appreciated that! Plus, I would see them at the next spot. Yeah, we seemed to be following each other around Arizona.
Back to the whole “designated” versus “undesignated” camping sites at Buckeye Hills. Seems that the only place you are supposed to camp is where there is a ramada and picnic table, most of which are found on the loop at the park. There are also a couple down at the end of Robbins Road, but all of these designated spots were full when I, and my friends, arrived. So we chose to camp at one of the several obvious pullouts along Robbins Road. Places that obviously were used previously as camping sites. Turns out these aren’t designated sites, so says the Sheriff that paid my friends a visit one day while I was in town. Apparently we were OK to stay as we weren’t trashing the place, but my friends got the distinct impression that if you are an eyesore, you would be told to leave.
My stay in Buckeye was uneventful. I arrived on Super Bowl Sunday, so I streamed the game on my iPad. My parents came across the valley to spend a few hours with me Monday. I drove to Tonopah to meet some friends for dinner Tuesday. And other than running into Buckeye a couple of times for errands, I spent the rest of the time unwinding.
My stay was over before I knew it, and come Saturday it was time to head due south to my next destination, but not before one more trip into town. I was checking my tire pressure early Saturday, pre-departure, and found the left rear Jeep tire had picked up a screw so it was flat. A quick change to the spare tire and a run into town to get the flat fixed put me behind schedule a couple of hours. Good thing I got started early! 🙂