After our a successful Harvest Host experience, we moved on to explore Prescott Valley and the surrounding area. We were craving to see trees again after several months in the desert and the Prescott area did not disappoint. This area is considered high dessert, in Central AZ, sitting at about 5200 ft above sea level. The temperatures were about 10-15 degrees cooler than Mesa, which was a welcome change.
We pulled into Fairgrounds RV Park around 11am and were immediately impressed by the cleanliness of the park, even though about 75% are full time residents. This was also a Passport America park so our first 3 nights were half price. This program has really paid for itself already in spades. We had a spacious site on the back perimeter of the park with FHU, including cable. There wasn't really alot of extra amenities, except for a nice laundry room with an extensive library building that had lightening fast internet. That was just what we needed!
The park is situated outside of the city and is next to Arizona Downs which holds horse races in the summer and off track wagering. It is certainly quiet at night at the park but with some city lights, it didn't get as dark as we thought it would, but we still saw some stars.
One of the first things we did while in Prescott was to take a trip up to Jerome, but we will cover that in its own, seperate piece next.
We also drove around Prescott and delighted in all the trees we saw here. After being in the desert for a couple months, we couldn't stop pointing different trees out as we drove along. One day we visited Highlands Center for Natural History and took a hike to really get our fill of trees. This is such a neat nature center located near Lynx Lake in the Prescott National Forest, which is literally a couple miles from the main strip in town. It looks like they have really great programs for children and the community and ALOT of money was donated to build this center because this place was beautiful!
We took advantage of the hiking trails at the center and used their geological field guides to read along the way that outlines the unique and diverse landscape of the Central AZ Highlands. The brochure was very well done and we learned alot about the varying landscapes throughout our hike.
We also visited downtown historic Prescott one afternoon. Unfortunately there were some heated anti-Trump rallies going on and we decided to just do a drive through of historic Whiskey Row and the courthouse square.
Prescott is a city that really feels spread out with alot of unique green space. One of those unique green spaces we found fascinating was the Granite Dells. Driving through the area felt like being on another planet. Amazing granite rock formations that have eroded in to lumpy, rippled masses.
With all of these great vistas in Prescott, we needed some equally great food and we found it at Plaza Bonita. Rick is an enchilada fan and gave their enchiladas two thumbs up. I went outside my usual mexican dishes and tried the Camarones Portuguese. Essentially, jumbo shrimp wrapped with bacon and ham and stuffed with cheese in a savory Portuguese red sauce. Oh my goodness...words cannot describe how delicious this dish was! Topped with strawberry margaritas, it was a fantastic meal! And BONUS, there are several Plaza Bonitas in AZ! Might just need to go there again.
While we were at the RV park with full hook ups, Rick took time to do some maintenance on the RV and I will let him take over and outline his work on the water heater.
Rick here, my normal duties are driving and rv maintenance so writing about it might be a bit difficult. A water heater is a vital part of an RV, and maintenance is necessary for it perform when needed. Flushing the water heater of calcium build up and inspecting the anode rod [suburban water heaters have anode rods, so you need to know what kind you have] should be a yearly process if not every 6 months depending on hardness of water.
Step 1- Turn off water heater, gas and electric by turning off switches on your inside RV panel. I also like to turn off the switch on the water heater itself on the outside to ensure that the electric element is off so it does not burn out. Then drain off hot water by running a hot water faucet. This is best done after taking showers and on sewer hook ups as our water heater is 12 gallons. This will help to ensure that you do not get burnt by hot water when you take the anode rod out.
Step 2 - Turn off city water or water pump and with a 1 1\16 inch socket loosen nut on lower part of water heater and release pressure by lifting T&P valve handle. Continue to remove anode rod nut standing to the side as water will gush out when rod is removed.
Step 3 - Next afix a water heater flush attachment onto your hose and insert into water heater thru anode rod hole. Turn on water and flush tank until all calcium deposits are removed. The calcium will come out anode rod hole and may take awhile as build up has to break lose.
Step 4 - Inspect anode rod. On the below picture the new rod is on the right. the consensus is to replace when 75% of the flat surface is gone. As you can see our old one is completely eaten away and was definitely in need of replacement.
Step 5 - Install anode rod. First, wrap teflon tape around anode rod threads counterclockwise about two times. (Counterclockwise so it does not bunch up or come off while re-installing the anode rod). Put in anode rod and turn by hand with fingertips while pushing with thumb on the flat end part. This will make sense when you try to get threads started. Be patient, they will catch. Snug tight with ratchet.
Step 6 - Turn on water and fill water heater. Turn on a hot water faucet and bleed off air and to ensure water has filled water heater. Do not use T&P valve to check if water has filled water heater as this can remove the air cushion and will not allow for expansion when water heats up and can cause other issues. When the water heater is full, turn on outside switch and inside switches and check for leaks.
You should now be ready for normal water heater use.
We really enjoyed our time in the Prescott area and would love to come back again! Next up...our day trip up to Jerome.
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