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Oatman, AZ

Today we drove out old Route 66 to Oatman, AZ. It’s 28 miles from Kingman, mostly on a very twisty road up & over Sitgreaves Pass, with lots of switchbacks and sheer drops with no guardrails. Flatlander Deb was a little concerned about that.

DSCN2555It’s an old gold-mining town from the early 1900’s that’s now a bunch of cute shops, with wild burros roaming the streets looking for handouts. Many of the stores sell burro pellets, and I had brought some old carrots to feed them. As soon as we parked, three burros came over to welcome us. Annie wasn’t too sure about this thing, but they did get nose-to-nose. I missed getting a photo of that, but here they are having a little discussion.

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I think Jeanne and this burro are french-kissing??  Well, they would be if the window glass wasn’t in the way. It looks quite passionate!DSCN2559

And this one is after the bag of carrots I’m holding….really! It sure looks like he’s interested in something else…….     burro

Here’s the old Oatman Hotel, famous because Clark Gable & Carole Lombard spent their wedding night there in 1939, after getting married in Kingman.   DSCN2562

We were going to leave the dogs in the car but Roxie was barking incessantly and getting herself all overheated, so I had to take her with me. One shop owner told me to be sure and not let her anywhere near the burros, as they had already killed four dogs! They STOMP them to death! The local dogs know to leave them alone.   DSCN2563

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Because of my knee, I couldn’t keep up with the other two so Roxie and I just sauntered along, stopping to rest on benches along the way. So I got to see all kinds of burro capers.  One lady was walking along trying to eat an apple and she had two faithful sidekick burros that stuck to her like glue. She’d turn and go back the other way and they’d follow like trained dogs!  She finally took some big bites of the apple and gave them to her new devoted friends. Another lady stepped off the sidewalk onto the street carrying a paper bag and a burro came up behind her and ripped the bottom out of the bag! The lady was shrieking “my CANDY!” and she and the burro had a big race to see who could pick up the most candy. I didn’t see what it was and don’t know if it was wrapped candy or what, but I think the burro was winning.

On the way back we stopped alongside the road so Deb could hike up to check out a mine. That little tiny black dot in the lower right is her.   DSCN0012

On the way back we stopped at In-N-Out Burger. Jeanne was anxious to go there because it had been 24 years since she’d had one in California.  Pretty apt name as far as I’m concerned, because I could barely make it back to the camper before that burger came back OUT.

I took this photo of last night’s sunset….very serene, and I love seeing the shadows on the folds & shadows of the mountains.   DSCN2550

 

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Hoover Dam….almost!

Jeanne and I went to the Hoover Dam today but we didn’t actually get to see it. I usually research places I’m going to go but for some reason, this time I didn’t do it. Wish I had. It was only a little over an hour’s drive from Kingman and we stopped in Chloride along the way to show Jeanne the cool junky yards, boot fences, bottle trees and the neat little general store.  When we got to the dam I missed the parking garage closest to the visitor center so had to drive over the dam to the other side. We turned around and went back, and the lady in charge of collecting the money ($10 to park, but free if you have a Handicap Placard) asked us if we had any dogs in the car. We said yes and then she said we could not leave the dogs in the car alone, someone would have to stay with them. We asked if there was anyplace we could park and see the dam and she told us to go to parking lot #9. So we drove back over the dam again.  We could NOT, in fact, see the dam from there but I took a photo of the teeny bit of water we could see:   DSCN2545

I don’t know what those big columns are for.  So we decided to go back over the dam to the parking garage and Jeanne would stay in the car with the dogs while I went into the visitor center, since she’d already been there before. This time when we pulled into the garage, the lady said we could not have the dogs in the parking garage at all, not even if someone stayed with them! So Jeanne offered to drive the car somewhere & wait while I went into the visitor center. I walked down to it (farther than my knee wanted to go) and found out it costs $10 to get in!  That’s not for the tour, just to enter the visitor’s center. Hmmmm.  Well I can’t pay that, and the Geezer Pass doesn’t work there, so I called Jeanne and asked her to pick me up out front.  She came along and I hopped into the car and we went over the dam, turned around and headed back to go back to Kingman.  Have you kept track? We went over the dam six times! But never actually SAW the damn dam.  Oh well, nice day for a drive.  (Pouring rain the whole time, actually!)   I guess I can still say I’ve been there.  When we got back I read that pets are not allowed on the premises at ALL.  I wonder why?

Yesterday I finally bathed poor filthy Princess Roxie. We went to the do-it-yourself dog wash for $10.  She did not appreciate my efforts at all but I’m a lot happier!  She looks pretty grumpy, eh?   She HATES water! DSCN2536

Yesterday we went to check out a sort of tiny quartz quarry (?) that Deb found on one of her walks. LOTS of pretty white rocks there with red and/or golden veins, and Jeanne loaded up some medium-sized ones for her rock garden at home in NC. This is only the first stop and she’s already loaded up at least 20# of rocks in her car….wonder what she’ll have collected by the end of the 6 week trip! DSCN2540

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This is the 3rd straight day of rain…sometimes off & on, sometimes hard rains. I hope this is the last of it. I guess I’ve been pretty lucky so far that there hasn’t been much rain at all.

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Blowin’ In The Wind at Petrified Forest

Boy this the second time I’ve had to completely rewrite a blog post; I hate when that happens!

I met up with my best NC camping buddy Jeanne and we camped at Crystal Forest Gift Shop & Museum at the South entrance to Petrified Forest National Park. They offer free dry camping with picnic tables (some covered!) and dumpsters, and you can use the restrooms in the gift shop when it’s open. Across the street is camping with electricity for $10, but you know I’m on a roll here with the free camping thing, so we chose that. They sell petrified wood in the gift shop for $2 a pound, but they have a bazillion dollars worth of it just laying around in the parking lot!  I guess it would take a forklift to steal it though. Here’s a few photos of the log that’s near my campsite:

 

For some reason I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. When I went outside to walk Roxie, I was amazed by the gorgeous sunrise.

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A couple pulled in next to me in a Jucy Van. They’ve got everything you need in a mini-van, including a “penthouse” popup tent on top! There also must be a dinette/bed inside because the wind was too strong for them to pop the tent up, and they slept inside. Open the back hatch and there’s the kitchen.  They can be rented! Here’s the website:  www.jucyrvrentals.com   DSCN2493

Yesterday we drove through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks. We picked up Junior Ranger booklets (it’s not just for kids) but I was too lazy to complete all the tasks so I had to resort to BUYING my way into the program….$2 for my Junior Ranger badge! OK, I’m not proud of myself, but isn’t it pretty?DSCN2519

All day the wind was blowing at sustained winds of 40 mph and gusts up to 65. Wheeee!  At one overlook we had to hold onto our glasses so they wouldn’t get sucked right off our faces! Here’s Jeanne blowin’ in the wind. DSCN2503

We stopped at one of the vault toilets. Ya know, those toilets are vented to keep the smells down. Boy….you sit on one of those things in a 40 mph wind and REALLY get air-cooled Lady Parts!!   Here are a few photos I took in the park. Frankly I found these parks rather underwhelming.DSCN2500

Then we went into Holbrook for a few groceries and had lunch at a Holbrook landmark, Joe & Aggie’s Cafe on Route 66. It’s been in continuous operation longer than any other restaurant in town. The interior is pretty tired but the food was good!   DSCN2518DSCN2517

We also went petrified wood-hunting. There was a site mentioned in a book I have on gems in AZ so we drove out there and found a few small ones, which thrilled us. Then we went on up a little dirt road north of Woodruff on our way back to camp, and Roxie was complaining so I stopped at the side of the road and took her out. Well! There  was lots of nice petrified wood just laying in the road, and more alongside! Here are a couple nice pieces I got.

Today we are en route back to Kingman to meet up with Deb for a few days. As I was driving into Holbrook I saw this pickup truck with a big black & white dog in the back.  No…..it’s a GOAT!  Poor thing!  DSCN2525

 

 

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Clints Well

 

I’ve moved to a beautiful little campground in the Coconino National Forest (free, too!), Clints Well CG.  It is just 1/2 mile outside of Clints Well on Lake Mary Rd (Hwy. 3), though it’s not much of a town….gas station, mini-mart, post office and little restaurant. The post office is housed in an 8×10 metal storage building!!!  That’s a first.

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There are 7 sites in the campground, in the Ponderosa pines. There’s a camp host there in summertime and he keeps the vault toilets well stocked and immaculately clean. They even have fly strips and good-smelly thingies inside! I think all the sites have a mix of sun & shade, so it’s good for solar energy, though I do move my panel around a bit from morning to afternoon sun. Here’s a couple views. The first two are of the gigantic tree the forest service guys felled this morning!

Nancy Brooks, another A-frame camper, joined me on Sunday until today. We had a nice time yakking and one day we went to Payson via the very long way around!  I saw a sign that said “Mogollon Rim” so we took that little dirt road to see what was up there. Well it turns out, it was 20+ miles on that little one-lane dirt road before we got to the Rim, but it was stunning!

And as a matter of fact, I’m parked at that same overlook right now, it’s the closest place I can get a wifi signal for my ATT mobile hotspot! It’s another 8 miles further to get back to the paved Hwy. 87, and when we got out to there we saw a sign that said “Payson 28 miles”.  We’d gone almost 30 miles on a teeny dirt road that would have been only 5 miles via Hwy. 87!  Oh well, it was a gorgeous drive through the Coconino National Forest, beautiful Ponderosa pines with lots of beautiful dispersed campsites all along that road (FR141) And as I always say when I get lost, “It’s a nice day for a drive”.  We saw one wild turkey (don’t they usually go in groups?!) and a coyote along the way.

I’d be tempted to move to one of the dispersed sites except I like having a picnic table for a change! And I’m getting a good Verizon signal there. (no ATT signal at all in Clints Well)  Here are a couple of the dispersed sites on FR 141, less than 1/2 mile from Hwy. 87:

I am staying at Clints Well until the 25th or 26th, when I meet up with my best camping buddy from NC, Jeanne Lloyd.  We meet back up with Deb & Bernii around May 1, back in Kingman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chillin’ Out

Brrr!  The cold snap has officially hit. It was down into the mid-30’s last night (but my little Coleman SportCat heater kept us toasty) and today’s high will probably only be around 60. Still, it’s a bright sunny day; who can complain about that?!  Yesterday was super-windy, 18-25 mph with gusts up to 50!

I have many chores to do now that I got my Social Security check for the month. I was down to only $11 in the checking account so was not able to do any money-spending for the past couple of days.  Now I need to wash clothes and Roxie, refill my propane tank and get an oil changed in the car. Funny how I resent having to do ANY chores at all.

We can stay here until 3/31 and I’d like to go to Clints Well Campground (free!) near Happy Jack, AZ next. But the elevation there is 6868′ and they are still having nights in the 20’s and even some snow in the forecast!  So maybe I’ll end up going to the free Oak Flat CG near Superior first. The problem there might be that it’s too warm…..the elevation there is only 4050′ so we will just have to keep an eye on the weather forecasts and make a last-minute decision. We have a little over a month before our friend Jeanne joins up with us in Winslow and we head off to “do” Sedona, The Grand Canyon,the five national parks in Utah and Canyon de Chelly.

A friend of Deb’s is on her way out here from Gulf Shores; we think she might arrive Saturday or Sunday. Her new RoadTrek’s windshield got stoned twice so she’s held up in TX getting it replaced.  What am I, the Pied Piper of boondocking?? I seem to be attracting quite a crowd of followers; who’ll be next?!!