Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Oxbow RV Park

October 17, 2022

Payson, AZ

Dover in glamping mode!

We enjoyed our week stay at Oxbow RV Park.  Being a trip we put together quickly, I didn't spend much time researching choices for parks.  Trip Advisor listed three parks in Payson (one of them was a mobile home park) so I went with the one that had the most stars.  Oxbow turned out to be a good choice.  We had full hook-up and 50 amp.  The sites were level, gravel, and a bit narrow, but we had NO neighbors on either side the entire week.  The big pluses were friendly park owners, very quiet days and nights, and the amazing dark sky.  The biggest downside was how inconsistent and slow our Verizon router was.  We felt safe thanks to the locals who kept a watchful eye out for the place...quite serious about the job I might add.

Our neighbor across the road...

And Sally was on her a game as well keeping a watchful eye out for the neighbors.  

Friday mid-morning, Joe and I made a stop at the Rim Country Museum.  The Gila County Historical Society operates the museum and it is only open on Friday and Saturday.  Historical  buildings, artifacts and exhibits depicting the culture and history of Payson are on display.  My two favorite exhibits...the rodeo and Zane Grey.

Payson is a small town in northern Gila County and is best known for having the "world's oldest continuing rodeo" established in 1884.  Back in the day, it had a reputation for being a rough and tumble town.  Local ranchers would get together to "entertain" themselves by demonstrating their cowhand skills and showing off their horses.  

Horse races became the favorite event in early rodeos. Many people consider Payson the Birthplace of the Modern Day Rodeo.  

The greatest storyteller of the American West was Zane Grey.  He was born in 1872 to a family of pioneers with stories to tell.  He was motivated by his own family's stories and the stories of many other pioneer homesteaders.  His romance with and marriage to Dolly was the inspiration needed for many adventure-romance novels to follow.  Zane Grey first came to  the Mogollon Rim near Payson in 1918 and by 1921 his original cabin, which he called the hunting lodge, was completed.  Zane Grey became the best Western author of all time and for most of his teens, 20s and 30s, he had at least one novel in the top ten every year.  Zane Grey wrote to live and lived to write...surely a balance rarely attained...until his untimely death at age 67 of heart failure in 1939.  

When all the posthumous works were finally published many years later, he left the world with almost 90 books in print.  The Dude Fire in 1990 burned the original cabin to the ground.  


Saturday was damp, rainy, stormy, cloudy and chilly.  So we decided it would be a good day to have lunch out and take a drive to Pine, AZ a few miles north on the Beeline Hwy. 

El Rancho was our (my) lunch choice...given a choice, I will always pick Mexican.  I had the best, most mouthwatering fried bread tacos ever.   


After lunch we headed north on AZ 87 for almost 13 miles passing thru Strawberry to the tiny community of Pine.  It was cloudy, but the promised rains held off until we returned home. 

Our destination was the PIEbar.  I LOVE pie ! The full name is PIEbar AZ-Empanadas, Cocktails, Coffee, and more.  


There was a line when we arrived.  Instructions were to look over the menu and be ready to order when you enter the small counter/kitchen.  It smelled heavenly and was very hard making a decision.  I ordered a pineapple upside down empanada and Joe ordered a Molten Chocolate one.  We were still full from lunch and had already decided to take them home for supper.   I was a bit surprised by the crowd...lots of laughter and conversations from the outside tables and chairs...and realized this small out of the way business has really taken off.  They have been there for a little over two years and last year yelp phoenix named them the best empanadas in the state.  

Everyday they make the crust and fillings for sweet empanadas and savory empanadas like chicken pot pie and and green chili pork.  

The ones we had were yummy !

Did I mention the drive?  Beautiful towering Ponderosa Pines line the highway for miles and miles.   

In fact, when googling about the area, I discovered that Arizona has the largest contiguous stand of Ponderosa pine forest in the world.  That's pretty cool !  The forest stretches from near Flagstaff along the Mogollon Rim to the White Mountains regions.  

Until next time, 



  1. The empanadas look so yummy! A very versatile pastry, either the main meal or the dessert. PIEbar looks like a must stop when we make back up to the 'Rim'.
    Looks like you'll have fun with the neighbors watching over your campsite :)
    Glad you spent some time at 'Zane Grey Museum'. After your last post I have started to re-read 'Riders of the Purple Sage' ~Zane Grey. The first ever western novel.
    Thanks for showing off the highlights of the Rim that are so often missed by the crowds of Sedona.

    1. Hi Jeff! I will definitely have to check out “Riders of the Purple Sage”. I’m pretty sure if we had not just eaten a big lunch, we would have stocked up on all kinds of empanadas…I love chicken pot pies!

  2. The PIEbar looks awesome! I think I have read one or two of Zane's books. I have or should say had all of the louis l'amour collection which I gave to our son. Maybe its time I start a Grey collection!

    1. Good morning Jim…I was thinking the same thing about the Zane Grey books…a collection for our grandson. I have always loved western stories and movies.

  3. Those empanadas look amazing. We are bringing our toyhauler and truck to AZ this year, maybe we will get out an explore some. Loved your photo of Sally on watch!

    1. Good morning Janna…hope your knee is healing and you are getting around more and more everyday. What a great idea. We saw so many side-by sides in Payson so I figure there is lots of exploring in the mountains there. I want to go back and do some trails in the jeep next time. Definitely visit the PIEbar! Sally is definitely in her own little world ALL the time!

  4. Another part of Arizona we've only "brushed"! Too far from Wickenburg for a day trip though, but those empanadas are mightly tempting...... Thanks for taking me there.

    1. Hi Sue...sweets are a real treat for us...they were mighty good!

  5. I love finding little gems like the PieBar!! I keep saying we need to get back up to that area and you've reminded me that it's not that far away! Love those beautiful pines. I read somewhere that AZ has more forested acres than MN.

    1. Hi Jodee…it is fun exploring close to home. Ponderosa pines are gorgeous and I read that their bark smells like vanilla or butterscotch…pretty cool! And Arizona can claim having the largest forest of them in the world.