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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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More Beautiful Campsites

I swear I’ve never seen so many gorgeous free campsites as there are around here!  Today I went to check out Rock Crossing Campground in Coconino N.F., on the recommendation of Aida Schenck who I think knows more than anyone about boondocking in AZ.  What a great place! It’s got water, toilets and even dumpsters! (Finding places to drop your garbage is one of the hardest jobs of boondocking, so finding a dumpster is like finding gold!) The water was not turned on quite yet. It costs $8 a night (1/2 price with Geezer Pass) though some are double sites so they cost…..double! There are several pull-thru sites but the best ones are back-in sites perched right on the edge of the Mogollon Rim. How would you like this as the view from your campsite?!DSCN2474

I really liked the bbq grills they provided at the campground…have never seen any like this before, they have hoods! That would allow you to be a lot more creative with your cooking!          DSCN2475

Someone suggested I give more complete directions to these campsites, so I’ll try to remember that.  To find Rock Crossing CG, go 4.4 miles from the intersection of Hwy 87 and Lake Mary Rd. in Clints Well. Turn right onto FR 751 and drive 2.3 miles to the campground.  N34.34082, W111.13258   Elev. 7222′

To get to Blue Ridge Reservoir, go an additional 2.1 miles past Rock Xing CG. There’s a boat launch and up the hill, a vault toilet and dumpster!!  I believe it you go farther up the road past there, there are some free dispersed campsites (Aida said there’s a road that goes off just before the “No Camping” sign). I went a little ways up the road; it’s very rocky but you don’t need a high clearance vehicle, just go slow. I turned back because I had to pee……boy that reservoir looked like a great place to kayak!   Here are a few pics, including some brave hardy flowers that seemed to grow right out of the rocks!  N34.5558 W111.19927  Elev. 6783′

There were also some pretty dispersed campsites between Hwy. 87 and Rock Crossing CG.

I haven’t been able to get a photo of them yet, but the squirrels here have about 1″ long pointy ears that stick straight up!!  I think all the squirrels I’ve ever seen have tiny ears close to the head so you don’t even notice them.

It’s supposed to get quite windy today, 15-25 mph sustained with gusts up to 40 mph. I hope these tall Ponderosa pines have good roots!  And I’m glad they took that huge dead tree down yesterday.

Yesterday I drove out to check out Kehl Spring CG, deep in the forest. It’s 7 miles from Hwy. 87 on a little one-lane dirt road (FR 300).  There are 5 campsites there with picnic tables, fire rings and a vault toilet.  I didn’t get the GPS coordinates for it, but you turn off of Hwy. 87 near Mile Marker 281 onto Forest Road 300. The sign out on 87 says “Rim Road and Knoll Lake”. Go just 500′ and then turn left and go 7 miles to the campground. At about the 6 mile point there’s a gorgeous overlook for the Mogollon Rim, and I got really great wifi and phone signals there! (no Verizon or ATT signals at all at the CG)  I think it’s at about 7700′.

The camp host here, Rudy, said that there were several elk feeding with behind my campsite at 6 a.m. a few mornings ago!  So I’ve been getting up around then and looking out the windows, with no reward. Yet.

 

 

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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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Happy Anniverary To Us

It’s the first anniversary of Roxie’s and my move from Ecuador back to the U.S.!  We both think it’s been a pretty good year, all in all.

We have a new family member, a little green pepper plant! I’m not usually big on naming things but somehow I felt she needed a name, so….it’s “Vegamite”!  “Veggie” for short.  Is that nuts?  Yeah, I’m afraid so. Anyway I hope I can keep her happy and alive with all the moving around we do.

I’ve been going to the Payson Library to use their free internet. I’ve never seen this before; in the kid’s book room they have a big-person door and a short little-person door!!  So cute!

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Yesterday we stopped off at the little dog park. At first there was just a little Yorkie in the small & not active dogs section, then two big labs came (they were old so it was OK) Roxie enjoyed the freedom, I think, but she didn’t play with any of the dogs.

I’ve been trying to substitute yogurt for ice cream, since my fridge does not have a freezer.  I can tell you that it definitely is not the same at all. 😦

We are moving tomorrow, I think to Clints Well Campground near Happy Jack, AZ. It’s a higher elevation, around 7000′ and the nights will be in the high 30’s but I think it’ll be OK, my little heater does a pretty good job.

 

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Verde River

We’re still at the Verde River campsite; I’m tinkering with the idea of moving but I seem struck with inertia when it comes to actually packing up and doing it.  I’ve been looking at the weather for some of the surrounding areas but can’t decide where to go next.

This morning I saw this bright yellow bird across the river….and I can’t identify it. It appeared to be mostly yellow with some black on the back or wings. Anybody got a guess?  Sorry the photo is not very good, it was far away and it kept hopping around a lot. It sure was a bright splash of color!

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It’s been cool at nights, down to 35 degrees sometimes but the days have been really nice, right around 70.  We had two days of rain!!!!!!  That was strange, after going so long in the desert with no precipitation at all. We even get dew at night here!   The sunsets are pretty but much milder than in the desert too.

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I saw this sign near the library. I just love weird signs!  Ehhhh…no comment on this one, though there are several that come to mind!

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I need a dentist again.  That bridge I got in Mexico is already loose and wanting to fall out!! Well I can’t afford to go to a dentist until after my next SS check on April 27, so it’ll have to be loose til then.  How depressing that it seems like there’s always something going on that needs money thrown at it.

 

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Payson, AZ

I hope everything goes OK today; we are moving to Payson, AZ. It’s supposed to get hot here in Wickenburg (high 80’s, low 90’s!) and Payson is at a higher elevation, around 4500′, so daytime temps should be in the mid-70’s.

I got my rear car window fixed yesterday, yayyy!  I hated driving around with it wide open all the time. One of our “neighbors” here was able to get the inside door panel off and had it fixed in about 15 minutes!!  I guess it had just been jostled off it’s track on the rough road in Chloride. When I had talked with his wife earlier she said she was excited because today was Payday for them and they were going to go buy a $20 stovetop griddle that would span 2 burners. Well I had one of those that I never use, so I gave it to them in exchange for fixing the window, and we all were happy!!  Nice.

THANK YOU all for using my Amazon link to order your goodies!  I earned $127 this month!  There’s a link at the top right, and if you use that to get to Amazon, I get 4-6% commission on everything you order! And it doesn’t cost you anything extra.  (If you get the email version of the blog, you’ll have to actually go to http://www.littlebittyliving.com to find the link)

Well. Two days later. The first time I used that window, it broke again! So now I have it pulled up tight and a very pretty piece of duct tape holding it shut. I’ve said it before….my poor car!!

I’m camped at Flowing Spring about 3.5 miles outside of Payson.  Deb was going to stay an extra day and Bernii was going to take the scenic route through Prescott and join me.  Once I got to Payson I discovered that  Bernii had decided to stay with Deb an extra day. Then the next day, I hear that they’d both changed their minds and were on their way to Pahrump, NV! Wow, my head is spinning from all the changes! But it’s fine, I don’t mind; y’all know I am fine being alone.  We’ll all meet up later at Kingman on May 1 or 2.

I thought Flowing Spring was just 2 big parking lots with a vault toilet in the middle, and nice tenting sites on 3 sides.  I had a really hard time getting my camper leveled and it still could be a little higher in front, but my jack leg is up as far as it’ll go! On the 2nd day I drove farther up the road and discovered some beautiful dispersed campsites right on the Verde River!  They were all full but I’m hoping some of them were just weekenders and maybe I can move today to a nicer site.  I saw the sign below and I didn’t have a bucket so went to the Dollar Tree in Payson and bought one. I actually do carry a shovel! I found one with a broken handle somewhere and brought it along. Later I realized these tools are only needed if you have campfires, and I don’t!

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There are high hills all around with sections of layered rock exposed; it reminds me a lot of Eastern KY and TN.

There’s no ATT wifi signal here but I get 2 bars of Verizon phone, so I can send and get texts. And town is really close. Right now I’m at a national forest campground which has flush toilets and running water, dumpsters and a nice shady place for me to part and write!

Payson is a much larger town that I thought it’d be….Wal-Mart, PetSmart, Dollar Tree, etc. are all here. And gas is quite a bit cheaper than we’ve seen in a while; only $1.85 a gallon.

Doing my monthly bookkeeping. Since Jan. 27 I have spent $20 on campsites. I think that’s something like 8 cents a day??   Since Dec. 23 I’ve spent $20. Isn’t that amazing?!!  Well I think so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to Wickenburg

We’re baaack! There were really high winds predicted for Kingman and a huge surrounding area today, plus a very cold snap starting tomorrow, so we packed up on short notice and moved back to the Box Wash (at the Vulture Peak Trailhead), about 6 miles S. of Wickenburg. They’re having some wind here too, but only 15-20 mph, not the 25-30 mph predicted for Kingman!  And the nights here will be going down to the low 40’s, not mid-30’s.  We scored a really nice big campsite about 1/3 mile from Vulture Mine Road this time. Last time we were very close to the road, in a big gravel parking lot. Our new site has quite a bit of Teddy Bear Cholla though, and Roxie has already gotten a little clump of it in her leg hair, just from walking in the parking area! I caught her trying to pull it out with her teeth….no no no! She would NOT want cholla spines stuck in her mouth!  Deb came to our rescue with the needle-nose pliers while I held onto her leg and head so it wouldn’t get embedded. I learned that last time we were here that you can’t just pull them off with bare hands, as they leave little teeny microscopic hairs in fingers.  I guess I should start carrying the pliers while we walk.

I’m  very surprised to get a decent wifi signal occasionally here, especially since we are about 1/3 mile from the road! It comes and goes but I’m grateful to get anything at all. I couldn’t get anything when we were parked near the road last time.

We met up with our new friend Cheryl yesterday afternoon and had a chat-session. She is just up the road a little ways; I can see her van from here.

I don’t think we have any plans except I’m kinda hoping to experience some more of that good pie from Nana’s Sandwich Shop.  Deb’s friend Bernii is held up in Tucson waiting on a new windshield for her RoadTrek, and will be joining us here on Wednesday or Thursday, and by Saturday it’s going to be getting hot again here so we’ll probably leave for cooler climes.

Here’s my new view out the door. I am right next to a small palo verde tree that really doesn’t throw much shade at all. The bark is really VERY green! I had to look up “palo”. Palo Verde means “green stick” in Spanish, which certainly is appropriate! DSCN2385

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There are quite a few saquaro cacti here; I really love them. Those fuzzy cacti in the foreground are the Teddy Bear Cholla. Hey that’s a lot better than being around the Jumping Cholla, which can throw their spines at you if you get too close!DSCN2389

The desert is starting to really blossom. This is an Ocotillo tree, naked except for the strange blooms.

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The creosote bushes are nearly done blooming, and where there was a bloom, now there are the cutest little tiny round balls of seed fuzz, like dandelions but tiny, only about 1/4″ in diameter.

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Chloride

Just got back from a little day trip to Chloride, a little tiny silver mining town incorporated in 1865. It’s now an almost-ghost town. It’s got a lot of character!  Lots of metal “yard art” in several places. (Click on a photo to make it bigger)

A boot fence,

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Pretty cool little general store with lots of Rt. 66 goodies (naturally)

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And I loved these boot birdhouses:

And Deb says she’s changing her Facebook photo to this. Yep, we buried her still wearing her sunglasses and her Breathe-Right nasal strip.

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Outside the store was this fantastic rock!  I wanted it BAD but it’s a bit too big.

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This old gas station had a tiny railroad track running around it, and it even had a little roundabout for changing tracks!

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A nice young lady in the store gave us a map and showed us what to go see. She told us about some Roy Purcell rock murals that were 1.3 miles down a dirt road…hahaha, ROAD!  It was a really rocky little path (at best). A couple times Deb had to get out and show me where to drive so I wouldn’t bottom out on the big rocks sticking up.  But once we finally got out there, the murals were pretty cool.

On the way out to the murals we saw a couple bright red patches way up the side of the mountain. We looked at them with the binoculars but still couldn’t figure out what they were; they looked like mums!  Then later in town we saw this cactus in full bloom, and we are pretty sure that’s what was on the mountainside.

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After that rough road, the next time I stopped the car and rolled down the windows to keep the dogs cool, one of my rear windows would not work! It will not roll up at all, and if I pulled it up by hand, it just slid back down. So Deb had the bright idea to pull it up all the way and jam some little sticks in at the bottom as wedges, to hold it in place. So far it’s working but….my poor car! It’s going to be a total wreck by the time I get done with this trip!

On the way out of town we saw this old station wagon passing by….heaped up with pure junk on the top of the car and all over the hood!  ???

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We had lunch at Yesterday’s Restaurant which used to be an old stage stop, and there was a big group of people there who were filming a music video! We weren’t able to find out the name of the group, but the waitress said they were from France.  Who’d come from France to make a music video in little bitty Chloride, AZ?!  Maybe someday we’ll find out. There was also a very strange stuffed Doberman behind a glass case inside the restaurant. We should have asked for the backstory on that!  We could have had Spam sandwiches, or peanut butter & bologna, or peanut butter & bacon sandwiches!!  (We didn’t.)

 

 

 

 

 

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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?!!

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Kingman, AZ

We left the 85 degrees heat of Wickenburg on Wednesday and only drove about 15 miles, to the North Ranch Escapees RV park in Congress. It was hot there too but I wanted to use their $5 dry camping (for members; $12.50 for non-members) and take a shower. I haven’t had a shower since I was at my cousin’s house in January, so I probably was about due for one, LOL. While I was in the shower, someone exited the other part of the bathroom and turned out the light….it was pitch dark in there!  I had to grope around and fumble for my flashlight, and I dropped it on the floor but finally got it to light and found the light switch. Sheesh!  I really wanted to do laundry there too, it was only $1.25 for wash or dry. But I didn’t want to unhook the car and drive over there, and it would have been too much to carry all my shower stuff plus the laundry in one trip.  With my knee hurting so much, I knew one trip was all I had in me.  Deb was able to use their dump station, buy propane, fill up her water tanks and have a shower.

This morning we were headed for cooler temps in Wikieup, but when we got there it still seemed way too hot so we just got gas for an outrageous $2.19 a gallon (the two gas stations up the road wanted $2.99!) and headed to Kingman. We found a GREAT campsite just off a paved road, with trees and shade and a 4G ATT wifi signal and pretty good Verizon signal!  And it’s higher elevation here so seems to be 5-6 degrees cooler here than in Kingman which I think is about 10 miles up the road. At I-40 Exit 59 you head south on DW Ranch Road and go about 3 miles, it’s on the left before you get to the private residences.  There’s space here for lots of RV’s, though there’s a dip that I scraped bottom on a little bit. ( I do not have a high clearance vehicle)

Here’s the new view out my door. Yes, it’s just a tree. But how wonderful to have a TREE after all that desert camping!

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Here’s the view looking the other way. More trees; aren’t they wonderful?!!

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And here’s poor Princess Roxie, still having Bad Hair Days in the dry air here. Looks like she stuck a toe into an electric outlet!

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Saguaro National Park

Yesterday we went to Saguaro National Park West. We saw a 15 minute slide show in the visitor center and then took the Bajada Loop drive, which is a very bumpy dirt road. After the first couple thousand saguaro cacti, they all start to look alike.

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It looked like some of the Mickey Mouse….er….Prickly Pear cacti were starting to bloom??

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I was sitting in my lawn chair in the shade the other day when I heard a loud buzzing sound, and a beautiful hummingbird flew right up to my face and hovered there for a few seconds!  At the park I found out, it was an Anna’s Hummingbird. Here’s a photo I got from the internet; isn’t it gorgeous?! A lot of RV’ers bring hummingbird feeders with them. I am thinking about buying one.

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Deb and I went to the Casino del Sol the other day. We signed up for their club and got $5 in free slots play plus a coupon for 50% off food.  I lost my $5 in less than a minute so I went and had a delicious chocolate soda at Moby’s (only $2 with my coupon!). Then I lost another $7 of my own money very quickly and called it quits. I HATE myself for squandering that much money.  Deb ate at the buffet for only $7.50 with her coupon, and said it was incredible. I hate her. Oh…no I don’t, but I wish I’d just eaten instead of blowing it on slots. She also spent money on slot machines. I guess I should just limit my slot machine playing to my Kindle, but there’s always that slight chance that you’ll win BIG! (I often win big on the Kindle!)  Now I am craving chocolate sodas.

Deb’s thinking about going to Wal-Mart to get new tires for her truck today. I’m thinking about washing my hair, that’d be my big project for the day! (And I may not get around to it)  Deb and I are falling into a pretty good routine; neither of us are morning people so somewhere around 11 a.m. one of us will check  to make sure the other is not dead, and then go back to our important job of reading.

The weather has been wonderful…around 70 degrees daytime! It’s supposed to be hot (84) both tomorrow and Friday. I think we are going to get all hitched up and ready to go on Thursday evening, then leave Friday for Wickenburg, and drive during the hottest part of the day.  The temps look great there; mid-70’s daytime and mid-40’s nights.

 

 

 

 

 

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On The Road to Chiricahua

February’s Amazon Associates income was a bit over $200 this month!! Can you imagine what a difference that makes in the life of someone who’s income is $1200 a month?  It’s HUGE!  You guys are the BEST; thank you so much for remembering to use my Amazon link!

I have big news; Deb, a camping friend from Gulf Shores, AL is on her way out here! Unless I drive her completely nuts, she’ll be following me around for the next 7 months, from AZ to Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, and then up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the summer!  I know my friends who were worried about me being all alone can now breathe a sign of relief.

So I got off my duff and finally moved from Sedona. I didn’t even like that site all that well, it was so terribly dusty! But I think inertia set in and I would have stayed there forever if Deb wasn’t arriving soon. I am backtracking and meeting her at Chiricahua National Monument tomorrow; hoping to snag one of the really nice creekside boondocking sites just outside the park.  When I first got to AZ I was actually on the backside of Chiricahua at Sunny Flat CG but didn’t make it to the actual National Monument. Sunny Flat still remains the most beautiful campsite of the trip so far.  I’m hoping the little one lane dirt road over the mountain is ice-free now and I can show Deb my favorite campground. If it’s not passable, then it’s about 100 miles by road!

I drove about 6 hours today, through the Tonto National Forest, up & over some mountain passes, through the piney woods and then into the hilly saguaro cactus terrain, and then down into the valley with lots of irrigated farmland. Went past Roosevelt Lake and the shoreline camping looked awesome! I stopped in at the visitor’s center to get info on the new Tonto Pass rates. Camping used to cost $3 a night for seniors but now there’s no discount at all and the rates went up to $8 a night! The only discount is on the annual Tonto Discovery Pass, it’s $60 for seniors instead of the usual $80. That does entitle you camp free at the shoreline sites, but not in any of the campgrounds. (I’d want a shoreline site anyway). Just not sure I’d get my money’s worth out of it.  The pass is good for shoreline camping on three different lakes though (Apache, Bartlett & Roosevelt) so I’ll have to do more research to see if any of those are higher elevations that would have cool enough weather for me.  Deb also hates heat!

I am camped for the night (didn’t even unhook the camper) on some BLM land about 8 miles south of Safford, AZ. It is 1.1 miles from Hwy. 191 on Haekel Rd. The entrance is in the middle of a big curve in the road; the road goes left and the road to the boondocking site goes right. Haekel Road is paved, so I won’t be eating any dust tonight! I’m the only camper here but there are hundreds of cow-pies all over the place so we might get some bovine company later on! If so, I hope they’ll be nice and friendly.

I didn’t take any photos along the way today but here’s the view from our camper door.

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Travel Insurance

I had to purchase another travel insurance plan today.  I don’t need all the fancy bells & whistles like Trip Cancellation or Interruption coverage; I just need a bare-bones policy that’ll cover my deductible & co-pay for medical costs, the stuff that Medicare won’t cover. I always purchase my travel insurance through Squaremouth.com, they seem to have the best rates & the most options. I got a policy good for 90 days with $100k secondary medical coverage and $250k medical evacuation coverage for $29! Not $29 a month; $29 for 90 days! InsureAndGo USA is the provider. It’s comforting to know that at least while I’m traveling, a major health problem would not be life-altering for my pocketbook.

I’m so impressed with myself….aside from last weekend’s state park stay for the A-Frame rally, which I had paid for back in November, in the past two months I only spent $15 on campsites!  And that $15 was for SIX nights of camping, too.  So that averages out to $.25 a day, not bad!  I stuck to my budget this month and was even able to save a little bit.  Yayy!

Yesterday I got up early (for me) and saw the hot air balloons traveling really low. Can balloons go under power lines?! I swear these two did, though they were beyond the hill so I couldn’t see the baskets. Boy, if they did, imagine the poor people in the baskets…..that must have been a little stressful!

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It’s been dipping down into the 30’s the past two nights, so I’ve kept the little Coleman SportCat 15o0 btu catalytic heater going. It keeps the camper at 62 degrees, which seems very luxurious! Here’s the heater setup with the little u-shaped barrier I made so Roxie won’t accidentally swish her tail onto the heater and burst into a ball of fire. The little green battery fan circulates the warm air and runs on rechargeable batteries, which have to be recharged daily. I’ve stuck a piece of foil over the front of the fridge so it doesn’t get too warm. This is a great little heater, it just sips propane….it will run for more than 24 hours on one bottle! I’m not sure why Coleman quit making them, unless it’s because they don’t have oxygen sensors or automatic shut-off switches if it turns over. I also have the Coleman ProCat model that’s 3000 btu but it’s too much heat for this tiny camper unless the outside temps are less than 25 degrees. DSCN2201

Finally I dragged myself out of bed early this morning to see the sunrise. Maybe I was a bit late, as it wasn’t that exciting. But here’s a photo just to prove I did it.

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Honanki Heritage Site

Yesterday we drove out to the Palatki and Honanki ruins, which are both on our campsite road. I was pleased to find a drinking water spigot at Palatki, so I was able to fill up 4 gallon jugs.  I didn’t go into Palatki; I thought I’d save that for when Jeanne joins me but it’s a 1/2 mile walk which I think I can do. I did go into Honanki to see the cliff dwellings; it was also 1/2 mile walk rd. trip and my bad knee is NOT thanking me today, but it was pretty interesting. There are 15 rooms left more or less intact. It’s hard to comprehend that these mud & rock walls are almost 1000 years old!  It looks like each family had a little tiny room walled off from each other. I meant to ask the docent what they used as a water source but Roxie saw me coming and started barking and people were looking around for the duck and I forgot. Yes, my dog sounds like a duck; the result of being 1/2 debarked. It’s weird but MUCH more pleasant than the brain-piercing shrieky bark she had when I first got her.

On the walk I saw this really cool burl on a tree stump. I love all the texture it’s showing.

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I also loved the textures of this rock; I thought it looked like wood grain! Erosion can sure make some amazing sculptures.

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On the way there the scenery was just gorgeous. It’s so frustrating to me that I can’t capture the brilliance and color with my little point-and-shoot camera. When I got back I looked up digital SLR cameras again but I was right the first time; I can’t afford one, let alone the filters & lenses I’d also want!

I have woken up early the past three mornings and have really TRIED to at least get up and look out to see if the sunrise was worth photographing, but I couldn’t make myself do it.  It’s cold in the camper (around 50) and I just don’t want to have to get out of bed before Roxie makes me.  I did drag out at 7:30 this morning and take her out though, and was rewarded with a wildlife sighting!  The whole time I’ve been in Arizona, I think the only wildlife I’ve seen is a couple of bunnies in the state park campground. But today I saw a couple mule deer!  They were a ways off and on the move, but it was gratifying anyway. I really thought I’d see more animals camping out here in the desert but it just hasn’t happened…..there aren’t even many birds here! I also got to see the hot air balloons lifting off over Sedona, which I think happens every morning.

I dug out my brand new cast iron enameled dutch oven that I bought back in May and never used, and I made meatloaf!  I cut and folded the edges of a small foil bbq drip pan and lined it with heavy duty foil to make higher sides, plopped my meatloaf mixture in and started it cooking on the stove. With the dutch oven it’s impossible to tell what temperature you’re cooking at, but in about 20 minutes it smelled dreadful and I realized all the grease was leaking onto the bottom of the pan and I was going to have a horrible mess to clean up, and me with no running water! Why didn’t I think to line the whole bottom of the pan with foil?!  I let it bake for almost an hour and then checked it, and it was beautiful!  And it tasted just exactly right; a miracle since I didn’t use a recipe or measure anything.   It really hit the spot, and the cleanup wasn’t as bad as I thought. I scraped off the worst of the goo with a nylon scraper, then heated some water on the stove & put several tbsp. of baking soda in, swirled it around and let it sit awhile, then later everything came off easily and the pan looks like new again!  Yum.  My next project is to try and figure out how to bake my sourdough bread in it. I just need to find a pan that will fit, and I’m thinking those small disposable loaf pans might work!  Next time I go to town I’ll stop at Dollar Tree and see what they’ve got.

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A Little More of Sedona

My Ben & Jerry’s did not stay solid but it was the BEST chocolate soup I’ve ever had.

Well my tire was flat again this morning; I expected that. I am very impressed with Good Sam road service! I called them at 9:29 and the guy showed up 18 minutes later!! He was all done and out of here by 10 a.m. He put the spare tire on and it might be the original spare which would make it 9-10 years old.  It has plenty of tread and is in good shape, so I left it on. Who knows how old the other tire is, it’s the used one I bought and it could be just as old. So we’ll try this. I’m glad I got to see how to access the spare tire (it’s tucked up underneath the car) and what tools to use. Not that I’d ever change a tire willingly, but you never know; I could have a flat and be out of cellphone range. There was a big ol’ nail in the tire but I took it in to Sedona and got it fixed for $15.

I saw this raven strutting around downtown….I love ravens!

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While we were waiting for the fix we drove around a bit. What a gorgeous place….around every turn is a different stunning view!

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And I thought it was interesting, how this tree has grown all twisted.

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