We departed Missouri on November first with a seven day travel plan for reaching Mesa, Arizona. KOA Journey campgrounds were booked in advance for each night ranging from 170 to 230 miles in daily driving distances for the 1,400 mile trip.

As today is the final leg of the journey and it’s not over yet, I can only speak for the previous days and say that it’s been a good trip. We have had more windy days (14-20 mph) than we would have liked but it helped to have shorter days and a fair amount of stops (fuel & lunch).

As for the KOAs, the first stop was in Joplin, Missouri and getting onto the site was a headache because of a large tree on the driver’s side. Thankfully Ken had his eye on it, but we did have to stop, disconnect the Jeep, back up the coach and take a wider approach. Whew! Disaster avoided. Would we stay there again? Yes, but on a treeless site!

Day two was scheduled for the El Reno KOA in Calumet, OK but they unexpectedly canceled us because of an ice storm a couple of days before. The backup plan took us instead to the Elk City/Clinton KOA, which was 50 miles further. The park was okay, we just couldn’t get satellite because of the trees. We would stay there again, would just request a more open site.

Next stop was at the Tucumcari KOA in New Mexico. It was a gravel site, but long and level without trees that allowed for tv service.

We spent the night of November 4th (my birthday) at the Albuquerque KOA, which was so far the most scenic campground with a view of the mountains. We drove into the campground and we’re escorted onto a paved site that didn’t require a lot of maneuvering about. Easy in and out. My only concern here was the area outside of this gated community, which didn’t look blighted, but we observed many homeless and vagrant pedestrians on the drive in and around the area. This location was good for being close to getting off of I-40 and not so far from getting onto I-25.

One more night in New Mexico had us staying at the Las Cruces KOA, on the hill alongside of I-70. The campground was full for the night and had pretty good views looking toward White Sands National Park (maybe plan more time here, if we pass through again). The sites were close to each other and gave no room for awnings. The office staff weren’t friendly, didn’t greet me and had me wait while the two clerks tended to an issue with one customer. When I was waited on, I was asked to show a photo ID, which I said was in my motor home and she didn’t persist. I’ve never been asked for ID before when checking in. My overall impression was that she and her customers might benefit if she would take a 10-minute break. Ken and I enjoyed a walk around the campground before settling in for the evening.

Night six of the trip. We stayed at the Benson, AZ KOA. Not the easiest site to get onto. The owner/worker walked ahead of us moving small boulders and picnic tables so we could maneuver the tight turns. He probably was glad to be done with us, but he was pleasant enough. The campground was sparsely occupied and gave a nice view of a pretty sunset. They are either a new KOA or going through a total upgrade. Main building was gutted and staff work in a temporary desk in a nearby building. RVers in motor homes tend to dislike boulders and tree stumps that line the sites and roads, and we like roomy sites that we don’t have to squeeze into.

Today we will arrive in Mesa, Arizona and after a planned service appointment next week, we will be parked until January first! We always like it when we can spend time in and get out and enjoy and area. We are especially looking forward to spending time with family, playing golf and exploring. Plus, I need to establish an exercise routine again.

Thanks for reading along, I don’t usually blog about the qualities of the places where we stay, but such a long trip deserves a little detail.

In closing, this trip included my birthday and an unforgettable presidential election. And yes, we voted for Biden!

4 Replies to “Traveling Southwest”

  1. I’ve been wondering how you’re doing. Alex quit NPS and is now going to nursing school. Can you imagine? I started working full-time at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Euclid, Ohio last Oct 8 and moved to the Kenosha, WI facility in July 2020. I’m keeping busy.

    I’m so sick of the psycho president. The Republicans, though, are enablers and I’m very sick of them also.


    1. I guess we are surprised by his career change, but certainly nurses are needed now more than ever, so good for Alex. Do you are in Wisconsin working for Amazon. That’s a big change for you, too. Best wishes for a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.


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