The Mighty Junebugg – a June of all Trades


HAPPY CAMPERS – NOW TAKING RESERVATIONS!!!

Has the economy got you down? Are you yearning for a vacation but just can’t afford a plane ticket to paradise? Fear not my friend, PARADISE is in our own backyard, explore the great outdoors! Happy Campers is a unique camping tour service. For those that don’t know “how” to camp, we teach you. For those that do, we show you more! Your trip guides are a chef and an archaeologist. Both of us are experienced campers and will show you the ropes on everything from pitching a tent and building a fire to hiking “smart” and getting the most out of your nature experience.

We take groups of 2-12 people on camping trips lasting from 3 days to 2 weeks. Each trip is custom fit to YOUR NEEDS & DESIRES. We can camp on the beach an hour away or at one of our Nation’s beautiful National Parks 5-6 hours away. We tell you what to bring, show you how to set up camp like a pro and even cook gourmet campsite meals for you! Abigail, our resident archaeologist, will teach you about the geography of the area we camp and hike in as well as show you how to keep an eye open for traces of old civilizations. We will also teach you basic survival skills. Don’t worry, this isn’t boot camp, there is plenty of time for relaxing and just enjoying your surroundings.

Trips start as cheap as $50/person. This fee includes all your meals, snacks, firewood and campsite fees for the trip. You bring your tent & sleeping bag and we’ll show you how to use it. Make your reservations now! We will be guiding trips from April to August anywhere within 8 hours driving distance from Southern California. Camping is fun & affordable and there are many BEAUTIFUL places here in the US worth exploring. Come enjoy Nature with us!

Leave a comment with your email address and we will contact you about planning your trip. Gather your family or a group of friends and lets go camping!

Check out some of out past trips:

Zion National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Redwoods National Park

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Grand Canyon National Park



Arizona Road Trip Day 1: Hoover Dam
September 2, 2009, 1:38 am
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Life, National Parks, Road Trip, Travel

Just outside of Las Vegas lies a fascinating American monument. For the childrenless 20 or 30 somethings reading this, it might bring back torturous flashbacks of ancient school day field trips to boring relics built by really old people. I assure you this trip was both fascinating and entertaining. We were headed to Grand Canyon but decided to stop at the Hoover Dam just to say we had been there. This was to be a 4 night, 5 day adventure ending at Slide Rock near Sedona, AZ. We woke up before the sun on Monday morning and were on the road by 5 am. By doing so we were able to avoid all the rush hour traffic. After driving for 3 hours, hunger set in and we decided to stop in Baker at Bob’s Big Boy for some breakfast.

Abi & June with good ol' Bob in Baker

Abi & June with good ol' Bob in Baker

91 degrees F at 8am according to the world's largest thermometer

91 degrees F at 8am according to the world's largest thermometer

Another hour & 45 minute drive and we were at Hoover Dam! I haven’t been there since I was a kid and a lot had been done since I was there last. An amazing desert colored visitor center and entrance had been built.

the new entrance & visitor center for the dam

the new entrance & visitor center for the dam

No alcohol or guns.... Best Sign Ever

No alcohol or guns.... Best Sign Ever

this place had higher security than an airport to enter

this place had higher security than an airport to enter

Drawings of what lies beneath at the dam

Drawings of what lies beneath at the dam

the turbine room creates electricity! (sorry for the blurry pic)

the turbine room creates electricity! (sorry for the blurry pic)

they use cool trikes like this to get around inside the massive dam

they use cool trikes like this to get around inside the massive dam

Face of the dam, I really wanna see someone skateboard this!

Face of the dam, I really wanna see someone skateboard this!

Visitors used to enter thru the two towers you see, now its more high tech

Visitors used to enter thru the two towers you see, now its more high tech

looking at the water that comes out of the damn dam

looking at the water that comes out of the damn dam

the ingenuity used in building these structures amazes me

the ingenuity used in building these structures amazes me

Las Vegas is only 35 miles north of Hoover Dam

Las Vegas is only 35 miles north of Hoover Dam

looking strait down the bowl of the dam (this makes your tummy tickle)

looking strait down the bowl of the dam (this makes your tummy tickle)

the Hoover Dam Bypass is scheduled to be complete in late 2010

the Hoover Dam Bypass is scheduled to be complete in late 2010

This bridge is an amazing feat and has even been on cable tv’s Extreme Engineering. When complete in 2010, it will be the World’s biggest arch bridge and help to alieveiate traffic on the 2 lane hwy that crosses the dam itself. Its cool to have been able to witness such an amazing structure in its building stage. Check out the tv episode about it of you have a chance, its pretty interesting.

Water levels have dropped drastically in recent years, notice the white line on the edge

Water levels have dropped drastically in recent years, notice the white line on the edge

Driving across the dam takes one from Nevada to Arizona

Driving across the dam takes one from Nevada to Arizona

Many men died while building this dam, I wonder if its haunted

Many men died while building this dam, I wonder if its haunted

they had some cool Art Deco metal work, I loved this Aquarians ass!

they had some cool Art Deco metal work, I loved this Aquarians ass!

rubbing the feet of this giant winged person is supposedly good luck

rubbing the feet of this giant winged person is supposedly good luck

I always gotta give a shot out to California... & LONG BEACH while I'm at it!

I always gotta give a shot out to California... & LONG BEACH while I'm at it!

after the damn we stopped at a seedy chinese buffet in a scary small redneck town

after the damn we stopped at a seedy chinese buffet in a scary small redneck town

the cocktails were damn good and a great way to celebrate our trip to the dam!

the cocktails were damn good and a great way to celebrate our trip to the dam!

So we were feeling pretty sleepy at this point but our next stop was the Grand Canyon and the anticipation was high! Another 3 hour drive and we were finally at the Grand Canyon. When you get there, the canyon isn’t visible; it just looks like desert for as far as the eye can see. We paid our National park entrance fee of $25; which is good for one car for 7 days. Once inside the park we went to check out campgrounds. Since it was the middle of the week, we didn’t make reservations… luckily we found a spot at Mather Campground. The campground had warm pay showers and we were content. There wasn’t much daylight left so we hurried to set up camp.

Home Sweet home for the next 2 days

Home Sweet home for the next 2 days

This is our kitchen setup (where the magic happens)

This is our kitchen setup (where the magic happens)

We didn't make it to the rim in time for sunset, this is from the campsite

We didn't make it to the rim in time for sunset, this is from the campsite

It was a full moon at the rim and the canyon was MAGNIFICENT! We joined the ranger along with 400 other tourists for a full moon nature walk. There were so many people it was hard to hear but still spectacular

It was a full moon at the rim and the canyon was MAGNIFICENT! We joined the ranger along with 400 other tourists for a full moon nature walk. There were so many people it was hard to hear but still spectacular

The visitor center had some children's wisdom: "Don't step on plants"

The visitor center had some children's wisdom: "Don't step on plants"

"Don't take sticks or branches or bark for a fire"

"Don't take sticks or branches or bark for a fire"

"Don't cut the flowers with a knife."

"Don't cut the flowers with a knife."

By this time were  we so tired we could barely keep our eyes open. We went back to camp, scrounged up some dinner and went to bed. In the morning we were going to see the canyon by the light of day, and we could hardly wait!



Arizona Road Trip Day 2: Grand Canyon
September 2, 2009, 1:38 am
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Cooking, Grand Canyon, Life, Photography, Road Trip, Travel

We woke up early; excited to explore the canyon. Since the National Park is protected, personal cars aren’t really welcomed at view points around the canyons rim. The parking lots just aren’t big enough to accommodate everyone Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year to see one of the Wonders of the World. The environmental impact of all the people and their cars would be too great so the park service came up with a wonderful solution. Visitors park their cars and take air conditioned trams to all points of interest. No one has to worry about parking or traffic or any of those mundane issues. Here are some of the sights we saw…

Abi, Ethan & June... enjoying the air conditioned tram ride to the rim

Abi, Ethan & June... enjoying the air conditioned tram ride to the rim

the first glimpse takes your breath away, "Grand" Canyon is not an accurate discription

the first glimpse takes your breath away, "Grand" Canyon is not an accurate description of how immense it really is.

a distant view of the Bright Angel Trail which goes down to the canyon floor

a distant view of the Bright Angel Trail which goes down to the canyon floor

a closer look: this is a strenuous trail that requires the whole day and LOTS of water. Its 20 degrees hotter at the bottom of the canyon

a closer look: this is a strenuous trail that requires the whole day and LOTS of water. Its 20 degrees hotter at the bottom of the canyon!

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

Millions of years of erosion by the Colorado River formed the MILE DEEP canyon!

Millions of years of erosion by the Colorado River formed the MILE DEEP canyon!

its huge and vast and no camera in the world can capture its greatness

its huge and vast and no camera in the world can capture its greatness

its SU-PER ABIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

its SU-PER ABIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

After a sweltering hike along the Rim Trail, we went back to camp to wash up and have a snack before going back to the rim to watch sunset. When we got to camp, we discovered why you are supposed to secure all your food items. A bird had ravaged our pantry, he ate everything from chips & incense to tea & cereal. Items and trash were strewn across the campsite. The bird was proud of his work and sat squawking in a tree high above us… laughing at our lack of caution.

We didn't even open the box yet and he ate it all!

We didn't even open the box yet and he ate it all!

He must be a professional, he even left a calling card!!!

He must be a professional, he even left a calling card!!!

A snack of honey mustard chips, seaweed and apples hit the spot!

A snack of honey mustard chips, seaweed and apples hit the spot!

Next we showered up and headed back to the rim to watch sunset. Sunset is amazing from any point in the canyon, there is no bad spot to watch the spectacle. The sky changes colors every minute and the sun paints the canyon walls in a million colors. I’m not even gonna caption these next pics, just marvel at how the sights changed from minute to minute. These pictures were taken in order over the span of about 30 minutes…

2DSC042552DSC042612DSC042652DSC042692DSC042732DSC042752DSC042782DSC042812DSC042982DSC042992DSC043022DSC043052DSC043142DSC043172DSC043182DSC043212DSC043242DSC043272DSC04328WOWSERS! That sunset was bananas! We went back to camp, cooked dinner and settled in around the fire for jiffy pop and beer. I gotta say it was a good day!



Arizona Road Trip Day 3: Grand Canyon to Slide Rock

Despite the sweltering heat the day before, we woke up to a cold and overcast Grand Canyon. It was time to pack up camp and head 2 hours south to Slide Rock State Park. On the way out we explored more of the canyon and tried to stay warm.

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Tusayan Museum offered a glimpse of how the Native Americans lived

Tusayan Museum offered a glimpse of how the Native Americans lived

This is where a kiva once stood

This is where a kiva once stood

The river was sooooo far down, it was hard to photograph but I got it!

The river was sooooo far down, it was hard to photograph but I got it!

bye bye Grand Canyon!

bye bye Grand Canyon!

We stopped in Flagstaff to get groceries for the next couple of days. For $13.77 each, we were able to get steak & wine for dinner plus breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next day! Driving into Oak Creek Canyon brought back memories of road trippin’ with my hippy parents as a kid. We got a site at Cave Springs Campground and set up for the night. The campground is one of the more beautiful I’ve visited.

E5 had some soft sand to set our tent on

E5 had some soft sand to set our tent on

the camp host was gracious enough to deliver our firewood on his golf cart

the camp host was gracious enough to deliver our firewood on his golf cart

a snack of chips & cherries while we waited for dinner to cook

a snack of chips & cherries while we waited for dinner to cook

sunsets do amazing things to the sky!

sunsets do amazing things to the sky!

no camping stove tonight, the fire gave us all the heat we needed

no camping stove tonight, the fire gave us all the heat we needed

I found Ladybug Wine!!! Organically harvested and it was yummy

I found Ladybug Wine!!! Organically harvested and it was yummy

camping dinner of champions... it was even better than it looks! YUMMMM

camping dinner of champions... it was even better than it looks! YUMMMM

After a while around the fire, we went to bed, excited to explore Slide Rock State Park the next day…



Arizona Road Trip Day 4: Slide Rock State Park
September 2, 2009, 1:36 am
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Cooking, Life, Road Trip, Slide Rock, Travel

Slide Rock is about a half hour from Sedona and a definite MUST SEE before you die. This place looks like a masterfully planned water park, but Mother Nature created it all. The river cuts through limestone forming a smooth and perfectly shaped water slide. During the summer this place is jam packed with water lovers but since it was still cold at the first of spring, we had the place to ourselves. Hiking the park is equally if not more satisfying than swimming it…

Our day started with a breakfast burrito and cherries

Our day started with a breakfast burrito and cherries

slide rock from the other side of the bridge

slide rock from the bridge

looking in the other direction

looking in the other direction

see how it forms natural slide chutes?

see how it forms natural slide chutes?

so fun on a hot summer day!

so fun on a hot summer day!

this is Dick's Boulder. I don't know why they named it that or who Dick is

this is Dick's Boulder. I don't know why they named it that or who Dick is

Trees fight an amazing battle to survive

Trees fight an amazing battle to survive

the water was crystal clear

the water was crystal clear

Dick's Boulder from the other side

Dick's Boulder from the other side

the canyon walls streched high above us

the canyon walls streched high above us

for some reason this looked like crusty red brownie batter to me

for some reason this looked like crusty red brownie batter to me

the colors were amazing

the colors were amazing

we hiked along this edge

we hiked along this edge

with my water shoes I even hiked IN the shallow parts of the water a bit

with my water shoes I even hiked IN the shallow parts of the water a bit

imagine yourself in a bathing suit and about 30 more degrees...

imagine yourself in a bathing suit and about 30 more degrees...

on the way back to the car we saw this

on the way back to the car we saw this

even though it was cold as shit, we shared a Fosters... and it was delicious!

even though it was cold as shit, we shared a Fosters... and it was delicious!

We hovered around the fire which burned strong despite the rain

We hovered around the fire which burned strong despite the rain

the rain even turned to snow for about 15 minutes!!!

the rain even turned to snow for about 15 minutes!!!

We didn’t really pack for snow or cold weather so Abigail and I chickened out and slept in the car that night. We drove to Sedona, got some gas and came back to camp. Then we slept with the engine running and the heater on blast. Ethan hated us for deserting him, be he had the proper gear plus… he’s Ethan, he was fine!



Arizona Road Trip Day 5: Homeward Bound
September 2, 2009, 1:35 am
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Life, Road Trip, Slide Rock, Travel

We packed up camp in the rain and headed for home. Cave Springs campground was so beautiful and we were sad to leave it.

this is the road in the campground... I wanna go back just looking at it!

this is the road in the campground... I wanna go back just looking at it!

Our first stop was in Sedona for breakfast and a few trinkets. Sedona reminds me a lot of Palm Springs. Next we stopped in an old mining town called Jerome. The town was a ghost town for many years before some eclectic hippies turned it into an artists town. They had some cool stores here with unique one of a kind items as well as a winery!

on the way up the hill to Jerome, AZ

on the way up the hill to Jerome, AZ

I had to Wikipedia this place because it has a pretty fascinating history. Check out this excerpt:

Jerome was incorporated as a town on 8 March 1889. The town housed the workers in the nearby United Verde Mine, which was to produce over 1 billion dollars in copper, gold and silver over the next 70 years. Jerome became a notorious “wild west” town, a hotbed of prostitutiongambling, and vice. On 5 February 1903, the New York Sun proclaimed Jerome to be “the wickedest town in the West”. In 1915 the population of Jerome was estimated at 2,500.

Jerome had three major fires between 1897 and 1899, burning out much of the town. The 1899 fire prompted Jerome to reincorporate as a city, and to adopt a building code specifying brick or masonry construction, as well as improving the fire companies. Despite these changes, the large and luxurious Montana Hotel, built of brick, burned in 1915. In 1918 fires spread out of control over 22 miles of underground mines, burning the inflammable massive pyrite. One of the mine fires continued to burn for twenty years. This prompted the phasing out of underground mining in favor of open pit mining at the United Verde. Blasting in the mines frequently shook the town, sometimes damaging or moving buildings; after one blast in the 1930s the city jail slid one block down hill intact. Lawsuits were frequent, but the mining companies usually won. By 1929 Jerome’s population was over 15,000. Arizona had become the nation’s leading copper-producer.

The United Verde and Jerome prospered in the war years, but the end was now in sight. Phelps Dodge closed the Clarkdale smelter in 1950. In 1953 the last of Jerome’s mines closed, and much of the population left town. Jerome’s population reached a low point of about 50 people in the late 1950s.

Today Jerome is a tourist destination, with many abandoned and refurbished buildings from its boom town days. Jerome has a large mining museum, presenting the town history, labor-management disputes, geological structure models, mineral samples, and equipment used in both underground and open-pit mining. The National Historic Landmark designation has assured architectural preservation in this town, a mile high on the side of Mingus Mountain. There are numerous bed and breakfasts in Jerome and two hotels. Restaurants range from hamburgers to fine dining. The community spirit in this town of 400 has created a vibrant group of events from its legendary Halloweeen Dance to the Jerome Home Tour in May. Jerome is known as an art destination, with more than 30 galleries and working studios. First Saturday Art Walk began in 2006, and has become a popular monthly event. In 2007, Jerome became a sponsor of The Sedona Plein Air Festival, and hosted some of the best-known plein air painters in the country. The Old Jerome High School is home to many artists and their open studios. Artists and craftspeople display their work in an open-air art park in nice weather.

a Jerome landmark

a Jerome landmark

Crazies usually live in small towns like this... crazy but fascinating!

Crazies usually live in small towns like this... crazy but fascinating!

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We stopped at the Jerome Winery for some tasting & took home some great bottles! (click the picture to visit their site)

We stopped at the Jerome Winery for some tasting & took home some great bottles! (click the picture to visit their site)

Once we saw the windmills near Palm Springs we knew our trip as almost over

Once we saw the windmills near Palm Springs we knew our trip as almost over

the end.