Call to Volunteer at Arizona State Parks

I love Arizona.  It’s natural resources are one of it’s greatest assets.  I have been encouraging people to get out and ExploreAZ.  If you didn’t know our State Parks have become seriously under funded and need our help.  So how can you help?


September 10th @ REI in Paradise Valley
Do you live in Maricopa County, but love visiting Arizona State Parks all around the state and would like to help get the word out about our beautiful parks? Please join us at REI Paradise Valley to learn about how you can help. Outreach Ambassador volunteers help us at community booths, the State Fair, and at park events and talk with attendees about all our parks and programs. For more information, see the Service Projects page or call Nicole at 602-542-7152.

Can’t make this one?  See other volunteer opportunities.

Explore AZ : August 19th – 21st : Payson, AZ

So back in 2009 I talked about starting ExploreAZ tweetups.  I did get the RV out one time in 2010 shortly after that post to Catalina State Park outside of Tucson.  After putting some money into the RV and getting it operational again considering starting this back up.  So I have booked two trips.

The first trip is Friday August 19th – Sunday August 21st in Payson, Arizona.  We will be at the Ponderosa Campground.  It has both tent and trailer camping available.  We have room for a tent in our campground if you want to avoid the tent fee and just pay a $7.00 vehicle fee.

Horton Creek Falls (Velvia Edit)

We will likely take a hike through Horton Creek (3.5 Miles of easy trail).  Open to other ideas.  Family friendly camping.  Will be plenty of beer drinking and bbq as well.  Please let me know if you are going.  If you want to just come up for a day hike that works well too!

Explore Arizona Kicks Off with Catalina State Park

Finally got around to getting the RV back into a drivable state.  It still needs to be emissions tested, two new tires on front, windshield replaced, generator serviced and the A/C needs some freon.  Part of trying to get sane again and get healthy the family has committed to exploring this great state and our National Parks again.

One reason I love Arizona is it’s natural beauty.  I have decided that if I expect my children to share the love of this great state and ultimately stay here long term that I better get busy showing them what it has to offer.  Memorial day is entirely the wrong time of year to visit Catalina State Park (as it is a little on the warm side), but we wanted some where not crowded and close to home.  The upside is the off season RV rate is only $15/night. Since we were only going to stay the night we headed south to check it out.

I love the drive down SR-79.  It just feels like Arizona.  I feel like a pioneer traveling down this forgotten stretch of road.  While heading out I mentioned this fact.  My oldest daughter said that she loved Arizona too and that she thinks she will stay here forever. (Yes, I was doing back flips of joy)  She mentioned that she used to want to go back to California, but that it’s too crowded and not as pretty.


Catalina State Park sits at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife and nearly 5,000 saguaros. The 5,500 acres of foothills, canyons and streams invites camping, picnicking and bird watching — more than 150 species of birds call the park home. The park provides miles of equestrian, birding, hiking, and biking trails which wind through the park and into the Coronado National Forest at elevations near 3,000 feet. The park is located within minutes of the Tucson metropolitan area.

The facilities here are as clean as I have seen and the park is well maintained.  The trails and the views are fabulous.

I am hoping that we will get out every other weekend or at least once a month for the rest of the year.  It is my goal to find other campers/RV’ers that want to explore AZ along side us.  Drinking beer and sitting by the campfire is more fun with a group of people.

So let’s get out and Explore Arizona.  Use the hash tag #exploreaz whenever you get out and see this great state.  If you find something that inspires or moves you add the #whyaz to go along with it. It’s time we start showing the rest of the world why this place is worth fighting for!

Chandler Ostrich Festival

The Parade Kicks off this weekend in Downtown!  We are excited as this will be right outside of new Gangplank 3.0 building.

The Thorobred Chevrolet Ostrich Festival Parade will kick-off the Ostrich Festival on Saturday morning, March 6th, 2010 at 10:00 am.

The parade route starts at Ray Road and Arizona Avenue, proceeds south on Arizona Avenue to Chicago St.

Parade watchers are encouraged to bring their chairs and blankets to enjoy the parade. Some of the attractions that were featured in the past include Ollie the Trolley, antique cars, horses, high school marching bands and creative floats. More than 100 various entries are expected for the parade.

As the parade sponsor, the Thorobred Chevrolet name has been associated with supporting the Ostrich Festival from the beginning.

Don’t forget to get out and enjoy the rest of Festival the following weekend!

San Tan Regional Park

I have been talking about Arizona and the fiscal problems with our state park system of late.  I was starting to feel hypocritical because not only do I own an RV, but I hadn’t gotten off my ass and enjoyed the things I was claiming to love.  It made me do some reflecting and I will be attempting to take the RV out one time a month and get to a regional park every weekend I can to explore Arizona.

I took the kids to San Tan Regional Park just south of where I live in Queen Creek, AZ on New Years Eve.  They absolutely LOVED being outside and hiking.  They begged to do it again.  So the very next day, I figured lets start the New Year off right!  Before I knew it they had invited more friends than would fit in the car.  It was like they were handing out passes to Disneyland.  Every kid in the neighborhood wanted to go.  I definitely feel that Gangplank JR has hiking in it’s future.

When we pulled in this time instead of paying the day fee, I purchased the annual pass.  It just felt good supporting the regional park system.  I hope to purchase both a state and national pass this year as well.  We were off to the races and put in a 5 mile hike.  Our guest hikers begged to come with us the next time we returned.  I woke up the following day with very sore legs.  5 miles was too much, but well worth it.  I am excited to get out and enjoy Arizona more.  I am quickly reminded why I love this place so much.  Did I mention it’s 70 degrees outside and its the beginning of January!

Explore Arizona Tweetups

I have been talking a little bit lately about the Arizona State Park System and it’s woes.  I realized that many people that are new to Arizona haven’t really explored it and don’t understand some of the awesome that surrounds them.  Others who have been here a long time may have made it to the world famous places like the Grand Canyon, but never seen the more off the beaten path beauties.

One of my new year’s resolutions was going to be to get the family out and about in the RV at least one time a month in 2010.  So in the spirit of community and exploration I have decided that perhaps each of these journies should be to a State Park and that they should be done as a Tweet Up so to speak.  People have often asked for Gangplank camping trips, so now maybe the two can be combined.  If you are interested let me know by commenting.  I will make posts to this blog and on twitter.  #exploreaz

Need to cross verify with my wife and then will post first trip (hopefully in January)!