Thursday, March 18, 2021

Painted Rock Petroglyphs Site and Dateland

Our next stop was the Painted Rock Petroglyph Site Campground, a collection of hundreds of ancient petroglyphs made by the Hohokum people who lived here from AD 350 to 1400. This is the largest of over 40 sites scattered around this area. Juan Batista de Anza's Second Expedition passed through here along with the Mormon Battalion and the Butterfield Overland Mail. General Patton's headquarter for tank training was here too. The area is mostly flat and sandy with distant hills. There are a lot of campsites, about 1/3 filled. We settled into one with hardly any neighbors. The sunset was beautiful and the night cold. 

The light is so beautiful just before sunset and in this picture, just after sunrise. This is the view
from our trailer of the Painted Rock Petroglyph Campground. You can see how well-spaced the
campsites were.

Our next stop was Dateland, AZ. Reading reviews of various campgrounds has really helped us. They steered us to this great place, the Oasis Campground at Aztec Hills, and we spent two nights there. The facilities were spotless with lots of extras like a fully stocked library of books and DVDs in the common recreation room. They even offered to take the cover off the pool - but the daytime high of 68 deterred us! We did laundry, toured the local highlight, the Dateland Travel Center (gas station, souvenir shop, convenience store, and the Date Shakes Cafe). You could buy dates in any size from 50 lbs to 1 lb and at least 6 different varieties. 

And this is our campsite at The Oasis RV in Dateland set up for dinner our first night there. Again,
it was relatively private with our own terrace and table. 

On our full day, we did laundry and projects around the trailer. In the afternoon we hiked up to the top of a pass between two of the Aztec Hills and then followed occasional trails with a fair amount of just following the compass to circle the range of hills and return to the campground. It was a clear cool day: perfect for hiking. The next morning we left early for the long drive to Chula Vista.

The pile of petroglyph covered rocks

A close up of the rocks

Sunset from our trailer at Painted Rock

The start of our hike across the desert to the pass
through the Aztec hills

The view down from the trail towards the RV Park

A close up of The Oasis RV Park from high up
on the hill

That's Scott climbing in front of me - you can
see if was fairly steep here.

And now looking down from our trail, that's the Oasis in the right corner

The date forest, planted in the 1930's

And the Date Shake Cafe. Unfortunately, the ice
cream machine had broken so we didn't get to 
try the homemade date ice cream. The date shake
was good, however.

There was still snow at the top of the pass into
California. We stopped at the Golden Acorn
Casino to get gas. It was $.70 a gallon cheaper there but
we almost didn't make it. We had thought we had
lots of gas left but it disappeared fast on the long,
long uphill. We're only averaging about 9 miles
to the gallon towing the trailer, but even less on
the uphills.

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