MMRP: December 25-30, 2017


Crazy late afternoon sky

Have you heard this one?  There are people that are afraid to take the I-8 between Phoenix and San Diego because of the Mexican drug cartel.  The interstate runs too close to the border.  The rumor is the cartel is on the mountaintops and has spotlights sending signals to each other regarding when to move the drugs across the border.   You don’t want to be on the road when it happens because they’ll kill you.  So the safe bet is to always take the I-10.   At least until the wall is built!

We rolled the dice and took the I-8 on Christmas morning.  At one point between Yuma and Dome Valley I thought I saw someone signaling with a mirror towards the border.  It must’ve been my imagination getting the best of me.  In less than seven hours we made it out to McDowell Mountain Regional Park (MMRP).

MMRP is one of the best campgrounds in which we’ve stayed.  It’s a well maintained, beautiful park with wide open vistas of the desert and surrounding mountains.  If you are in the south loop there’s so much space between sites it feels like you are boondocking.  Hell, we’ve been in closer quarters boondocking in Borrego.  It’s $30 a night and all sites come with water and power, no sewer.  The bathrooms and showers are very clean.  The shower is included in the price so no need to hoard quarters.  And I’m talking about hot showers (what’s with this cold shower craze all the health and wellness nuts are swearing by?)  The catch is the campground is always full, so you need to plan in advance.  And they are only open for six months.  It’s just too hot the other six months.

And now for the biking, because why else would we be there for five nights?  There are miles and miles of beautiful singletrack in MMRP and it connects to Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which also has miles and miles of beautiful singletrack.  It is fast, flowy, and fun, not the least bit challenging, but still very enjoyable.  My favorite was the Long Loop at McDowell Competitive Track.  Both areas were really easy to navigate because of the terrific signs at every intersection.

The weather in the greater Phoenix area, aka Valley of the Sun, is very pleasant this time of the year, just like San Diego, but a little drier.  Call me soft if you want, but I think Valley of the Sun is uninhabitable in the summer.  It’s just way too hot and I couldn’t imagine being a prisoner to air conditioning 24/7.

Every morning and evening the campsite was full of birds that we don’t see in San Diego. Coveys of Gambel’s Quail walking through our site.  Gila Woodpeckers and Gilded Flickers perched on Saguaros and Cardinals flying around.  We enjoyed our stay so much we tried to extend it, but all 76 sites were completely booked.  When Amelia turns 70 she’s going to do a 6 month camp host gig out there, she said I can come too if I want.


Merry Christmas from McDowell Mountain Regional Park site #43.


I never thought I’d be saying this but, kudos to Maricopa County.


One of the few sustained climbs


Amelia works in Escondido and my mom used to, so I had to take a picture.


Sunrise over the mountains.  That’s Four Peaks on the left.


The Queen of MMRP


McDowell Competitive Track has three loops: Sport, Techincal, and Long.  We did all three, Long was the favorite and Technical was not technical, but fun.


This is the entrance to Long Loop.  As the sign states, if you want to doinky doink around go over to MMRP.  This is a one directional, put the hammer down, and go fast trail.


Jackass Junction: you gotta love the skeleton wearing a Santa hat and flipping the bird.  The couple that doesn’t look like mountain bikers aren’t mountain bikers.  They are E bikers.


I love this kind of stuff.


Bike part art


Bring water, when it’s half way gone turn around…solid advice.


Amelia already put this on The Instagrams and Facebooks, kind of taking the wind out of my sails.  People on the trail with headphones, ear buds, or speakers are a big pet peeve of ours.


McDowell Sonora Preserve has the first no E bikes sign I’ve seen.  They allow them at MMRP.


Typical singletrack


A fun section on Rock Knob trail


MMRP is a fantastic campground!

5 thoughts on “MMRP: December 25-30, 2017

  1. Happy New Year you two! As always, I chuckled several times while reading your blog and pictures are fantastic. Looks like a great place…another one to put on my list. Let’s get together sometime this year! hugs, Sharon

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