Thursday, March 15, 2012


DownerA few weeks ago, we reserved a site at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona – elevation around 3,500 feet.  We plan to use the state park as a base camp to explore Jerome and Sedona, two of northern Arizona’s top scenic spots, which we’ve barely brushed on prior travels (though we have taken the Pink Jeep tour in the red rocks of Sedona).  With a bit of good luck, we figured we might even squeeze in a trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon after we left Cottonwood, heading west.

Those plans changed as we watched the weather forecast for our upcoming reservation in Cottonwood.  Chance of SNOW???

Cottonwood weatherCongress, our current location (and about 1,000 ft. lower) looked slightly better, but also wet and cold… but here we have full hookups, a huge, indoor, activity center with scheduled activities, and a clubhouse with a comfortable library – and friends.  Odel called Dead Horse Ranch State Park and pushed our reservation out another five days, when the weather returns to warm sunshine.  Smart move, my man!

Meanwhile, here at North Ranch (click here to read our review and see photos), the weather has been fine, fine, fine.  Sunshine every day, warm temperatures moderated by a slight afternoon breeze, and very cool nights.  Residents and other travelers are ultra-friendly; we’ve made new friends (mostly when Odel is recognized by a blog reader) and hooked up with old friends.  It is easy to see why traveling Escapees fall in love with the place.

Unlike many of the Escapee parks we visit, North Ranch is not a co-op with jointly-owned lots.  Instead, developed lots at North Ranch are deeded and privately owned.  RV’s are allowed on ALL deeded lots, as are mobile homes, park models, site-built homes and everything in between.  It reminds me greatly of the Foothills area of Yuma, though this is a much smaller (MUCH smaller) neighborhood.  Here are some examples - click on any photo for a larger view.

Transient spaces in the campground.

A plain, clean, undeveloped deeded lot.

Covered single wide with RV parking.

Row of transient spaces Plain, clean lot Single wide, cover, and lot

Large RV shelter with attached casita and detached garage.

Southwestern style casita with plenty of RV parking.

Large, site-built home.

RV cover and casita Large casita and RV pad Fancy home

When we aren’t off getting our exercise elsewhere, it’s great fun to wander the streets of North Ranch examining the deeded lots (many of which are for sale).  Most are very well maintained; pride of ownership is evident here.  All lot owners have access to the common areas of the park, the activity center, the clubhouse, and what appears to be a maintenance building (we haven’t checked that out yet, other than a quick peek at the pickle ball game going on inside).

Rosemary in bloom Out the back gate

Rosemary in bloom in the native plant garden.

Out the back gate into BLM land.

On the north side of North Ranch, a beautifully designed desert garden features native plants and a giant, ancient, saguaro.  At the back of the property, an gate provides access to desert walking out on the BLM managed property surrounding North Ranch.

All in all, a good place to sit out three or four days of winter’s return.  :)


  1. Excellent job! We can't wait to get there and see Louise and Duane. We know you two will be long gone. Enjoy your extended stay.

  2. North Ranch looks like a great spot to "retire"....

  3. Great move to extend and nice that the state parks there don't charge a "fee" to change reservations. Here in Florida they have great state parks but charge $10 fee to change the date and $17.75 if you have to cancel the reservation.

  4. Did you know you can rent private lots, too? We rented a beautiful lot for a month one year.

  5. Your photo "Out the Back Gate" looks like the back of our lot #218 - well, it WAS ours before we sold it a few years ago. Haven't been there for almost ten years, but sounds like the place has really grown since our last visit.

  6. We are headed towards the Grand Canyon for the last week of March and we too are watching the weather. We hope to get to Albuquerque and then wait until that front with all the snow pushes through. Mother Nature can sure put a wrench in things. Glad you have a nice place to stay until then.

  7. We are in Sedona now. We'd have loved to see you again. Originally we were heading east tomorrow but we've decided to stay a few more days until the weather pases. Safe travels!

  8. Laurie, the blog face looks different, and the link to other blogs goes to a strange website that wants me to do blog work and sign up for something. Did you change your blog to a new site?

  9. Looks like a nice place to land for a while.

  10. It was fun to come to your site and see a picture of a Pink Jeep and read about Dead Horse Ranch State Park. We lived in the Sedona area a few years back and both my husband and I worked at Pink Jeep. We still have several friends there so returned for a visit earlier this year and stayed at Dead Horse Ranch. Really enjoyed our time there and am enjoying your blog.

  11. looks like a great spot to stay for awhile for sure...

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  13. We stayed at Dead Horse Ranch State park last year and saw snow! We also boondocked outside of Sedona -- what views! We are hoping to see some snow here at the ranch tomorrow -- ha ha! Be safe!! -- Martha & Terry