Friday, May 19, 2017

Escaping the Heat & Cold

OK, so I’m really, REALLY behind with this blog (& it’s heavy on photos) cause. . .I’ve been busy traveling & enjoying life during the last two months. March 12, John & I traveled together but in our separate RVs from Quartzsite to the Lone Tree BLM area north of Lake Havasu City, AZ to escape the heat. But. . .that didn’t work out so well. It was hotter in Havasu than in Quartzsite. John actually started his generator & ran the RV’s A/C one day, but the next day, we took the dogs with us down to the Lake to cool off. I don’t remember the last time I got into a lake, & although it was a bit cool at first, it didn’t take long until I was neck deep in coolness. John hadn’t been in water for years either, so sitting on the sandy bottom in shallow water with both dogs near by was just what we all needed. We were all comfortable the rest of the afternoon & evening as fur & clothes dried. Our last day, we hiked up a nearby hill to take pictures of the area. We were parked WAY DOWN there in this photo.

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After 3 nights, we headed east on I-40 for a few hours, to south to Prescott to park in the national forest. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any campsites big enough for John’s rig (plus my Casita & truck), so we spent a couple of nippy nights on an access road in the forest. We hung out at a campfire one evening with Carol & Peter from Quartzsite who we went to the Desert Bar with a few weeks earlier. We ate lunch at the Palace on the Square that still looks like it did in the 1800s. Loved the old tin ceiling in this hotel/restaurant. We drove around looking for a big campsite but never found one, so we headed east to Sedona.

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We tried John leading & then me leading but haven’t quite worked out the fine details yet. I have trouble imagining how long & tall his rig is, but at least when I’m leading, I can see the road ahead of me. Plus, I can drive a steady 62 mph where he has more difficulty maintaining a steady speed especially going down hills. So sometimes, he just passes me & I follow him.

West of Sedona, we found a slightly crowded BLM spot on Forest Road 525 that was big enough for both of us to get comfortable in, looking over at some of the big, red rocks. Fortunately, most everyone left Sunday so it was more peaceful.

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We spent a lot of time during our two weeks camped near Sedona to explore the area. We had a couple of cold days & nights but for the most part had pretty great weather. We drove up (then back down) Oak Creek Canyon first. It is FABULOUS. I took gobs of photos & enjoyed the panoramic views from the top.

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We took a kewl train ride west of Cottonwood up the Verde Valley along the Verde River thru a canyon.

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We visited Tuzigoot National Monument.

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Plus the little mountain town of Jerome which clings to the edge of the mountain. The view of the valley below Jerome is pretty intense.

We visited Montezuma’s Castle National Monument & Montezuma’s Well near Camp Verde.

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We saw Cathedra Rock & Bell Rock east of Sedona.

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We went up Airport Road & CLIMBED up onto a big rock with a fantastic view.

 

We also toured Honanki Ruins.

 

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We really enjoyed the Sedona area, so reluctantly moved after our 14 days on BLM land to Winslow AZ to McHood Park, a place I stayed last year on my way to the Wolf Sanctuary. We managed to get a large, remote site on the west side of the lake with a big shelter & picnic table. AND, the Canadian couple (Rick & Angela) who parked next to us in Sedona arrived after a few days to spend some more time with us. We had a couple of good campfires but the windy conditions kept that from happening most evenings.

We took a day to travel east an hour on I-40 to see the Painted Desert & Petrified Forest National Park. My favorite spot was Blue Mesa with a definite blue color to the soil/rocks.

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We took another day to head back west toward Flagstaff to walk around Walnut Creek National Monument. Boy were those 200 steps coming back up out of the Canyon exhausting – but fun. There was a controlled burn going on west of the Canyon so the smoke cut visibility down a lot.

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Overall, Winslow is an unexciting town but had a Walmart & several good places to eat. Again tho, we moved on after our free 14-day stay at McHood. I read a book a couple of years ago that took place in Big Lake AZ & always wanted to visit it. So, we actually spent a night at an RV park – PLUGGED into full hookups – to tour Big Lake. It’s just a lake, no actual town. Hey, at least I got to see the area tho.

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Next, we traveled east to Pie Town NM on Highway 60. It sort of hurt leaving Arizona after five months but at least we really enjoyed the three nights spent free in the City Park at Pie Town. And we were close enough to just walk across the street every day for PIE! The wind blowing thru the pine trees was nearly magical but we both were affected by the 7800’ elevation near the Continental Divide & lack of oxygen so leaving wasn’t all that bad.

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We got up close to & visited the Visitor Center at the Very Large Array east of Pie Town an hour. It’s interesting how many movies have used this facility in a film.

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So, the plan was to head up to Santa Fe & Taos before sliding into southern CO & Pagosa Springs. However, Mother Nature had other ideas regarding the weather & we just zipped south on I-25 to Truth or Consequences to wait for Spring to finally arrive to the north. My Casita friend Emily lives in TofC & I visit her each time I come thru the area. And, we discovered a BLM spot called Mitchell Point at Exit 92 north of town to camp for awhile. It was handy & free but not very scenic, no trees, & horribly windy. Fortunately, we found another free camp spot south of town right along side the Rio Grande River. It’s spring in the valley so water is being released for irrigation from Elephant Butte Lake & the River is running full, fast, & clean. We picked a spot with a huge shade tree that was real close to perfect. Had shade all day long under this tree, the river was right there, & we had very little traffic coming by. One of the very best campsites I’ve ever been at. AND. . .the city park in TofC had a free dump site, free water, & trash cans for our trash.

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We took a day to travel west up & over the Gila National Forest to Silver City & then thru City of Rocks State Park. It’s such an unusual & unexpected place.

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For years, people have talked about visiting the hot springs in Truth or Consequences (originally named Hot Springs) so since neither John nor I had ever been to one, we finally tried it. We picked Riverbend Hot Springs out of the 10 or so in town because it’s situated right along side the Rio Grande & all the pools overlook the river. The private room we had for 50 minutes had water between 105 & 107 degrees, & after the initial OMG that’s hot reaction, it wasn’t too uncomfortable. There was a cold water shower too if we got too hot. Not surprising, we were both like limp dishrags all the next day.

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We also took a day to drive down to Las Cruces & over the east mountain to White Sands National Monument. It’s the largest gypsum dunes in the world.

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So, very reluctantly – in spite of several 90° days & uncomfortable nights waiting for it to cool down inside – we left Truth or Consequences after our free 14 days along the Rio Grande River to head north, regardless of how cool it still is up there.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like an amazing adventure! So very happy you guys are having a wonderful time. Hope to see you soon.

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  2. Was so good to see you and meet John. The two of you are a good match for each other. That site along the River is really cool and really easy to find. Guess you are still running into a bit of chilly weather up north. Long Spring this year.

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