A Word About Quartzsite – February 2019

Tuesday Feb 5: Real clouds and chilly wind this morning. I make coffee by candlelight and lanterns this morning, then head out for a walk in the desert. I find a place to sit and write in the journal, but the wind is too chilly to stay out long.

Morning in the desert
Ocotillo in bloom
A nice place to sit

Back at camp, after making smoothies for Clifford and myself, I get the journal caught up, take care of emails, send query submissions for Princes & Priests, send photos/texts to siblings and kids, hearing back that Montana is being hammered with blizzards. We have an early dinner, then go to Quartzsite for the Hardshell Harmony bluegrass concert, which was fun. Then back to camp and soon to bed.

Wednesday Feb 6: Chilly morning, only 38 degrees. I go for a walk in the desert, but don’t take time to journal there as we are headed to Parker today.

Sunrise in the desert
The sunflowers have made their appearance

The spaghetti special at the Blue Water casino at Parker, Arizona, about 30 miles north, is a big draw for Clifford. At Walmart we get groceries and I find the perfect backpack for my trip to Atlanta. I will be flying there later this month to visit Becka.

Thursday Feb 7: It is 30 degrees outdoors when I get up and not much warmer inside. When I light the stove and turn on the furnace, the propane goes out and I don’t get it switched to the other tank in time. With fussing around trying to get heat going, I miss the morning walk at sunrise, but go for a walk a little later. I end up in the wrong wash and disturb the camper up the wash from us by alarming his dog when I get too close. Oh well, no damage done.

A new color in the desert

It is after I get back that Clifford has a severe gall stone attack, which is quite alarming. Ultrasound helps and after he rests, he and my brother Rollie work on installing a Mr. Buddy heater for auxiliary heat. Once everything is in place, we discover that the hose that was purchased is the wrong type. We try Mr. Buddy out with a small propane bottle, finding it to be warm and quiet. We have a light dinner, but Clifford doesn’t eat much, as he is not feeling very well. We both go to bed early.

Friday Feb 8: It is even chillier this morning, 29 degrees outside. I don’t go for a sunrise walk, as I want to see how Clifford is doing when he gets up. Not better, not worse, so I go for a longer walk, taking photos of sunflowers and the desert rose (that is not a rose), and stopping at the topknot saguaro sitting spot for journal and coffee. My son Matt calls, so I chat with him as I walk back to camp.

“Rose” that is not a rose

Today we go to Quartzsite for a different hose for Mr. Buddy. Then on the way back to camp, we stop at the Tyson Wells market to buy t-shirts — 3/$10, finding that they are of good quality and well worth the money. Back at camp, we discover that we still wrong hose for Mr. Buddy, so we will have to go back again, but not today.

A word about Quartzsite: The town of Quartzsite, Arizona, at the crossroads of I-10 and US highway 95 has a resident population of less than 2,000 people, with infrastructure accordingly. However, during the winter months, especially January and February with the Gem Show and the RV Show, there are a million visitors, most of whom are camped in RVs in the BLM land surrounding Quartzsite. Take a grocery market for a town of 2,000 and expect it to handle the million visitors – you get an idea of how well that works. Same with the post office. There aren’t that many eateries in Quartzsite, considering the influx of visitors, but Silly Al’s Pizza, if you don’t mind the wait, is the best pizza ever with great service. Most of the town, as it is seen driving through or from above on I-10, is one giant flea market, with row upon row of white canopies housing every sort of merchandise imaginable. During the RV Show, the BIG TENT is set up, with hundreds of vendors selling their wares, while in the outdoor parking area hundreds of RVs are for sale. This year we did visit the BIG TENT during the last days of the RV Show (mentioned in a previous blog), and this week we went to one section of the flea market conglomeration known as Tyson Wells, mentioned above. Later we found out that there are booths that sell marked down canned and dry goods at a great price. One just has to get to know the place.

To me, Quartzsite and the surrounding BLM land seem like going to another country, not a 3rd world country with poverty and disease, but a way of life different than any other place I’ve been. Even though many of the motorhomes seen in the desert are valued at several hundred thousand dollars, the life-style is more down-to-earth. People sit out in lawn chairs watching the sunset, sand under their feet and a light breeze cooling the warmth of the afternoon, same as the folks in the simple 20’ camper trailer next to them. It seems to be understood that we are each and all merely sojourners in this land.

Carnicom Brothers – February 2019

Most mornings I walk in the desert at sunrise, as I love the quiet ambiance and the glow of first light.

More flowers are blooming, which is quite delightful.

The short saguaro family

It is during these early days of February that the Carnicom Brothers Reunion is held in Parker, Arizona, about 30 miles north of Quartzsite. We first all meet in Quartzsite at Silly Al’s pizza, as brothers Jim and Frank arrive from California, and brother Gene with his wife Clare arrive from Texas. Clifford and I are close at hand, being camped at LaPosa South, just a few miles south of Quartzsite. We are seated at a big hexagonal table and have the best pizza ever, as well as really good service.

Carnicom brothers gather: Clifford, Frank, Jim, Gene and his wife Clare

The next day, we all gather at the motel in Parker where Gene and Clare are staying, and set up in a small lobby area to watch the Superbowl, with big screen, snacks and all. I am not too interested in the Superbowl, but I am really liking the power and free wifi – downloading photos from the “cloud” and preparing blogs. It is fun to see all the brothers, and I especially enjoy having time to visit with Clare during the couple of days of the gathering.

Frank, Jim, Clifford

Another big deal is that my daughter, Becka, has purchased a ticket for me to fly to Atlanta later this month to visit her there for the first time. That is very exciting and plans are made for a fun visit.

Besides the desert walks and the gathering of the brothers, the other usual activities continue: ham radio, dulcimer, and CI projects for Clifford; editing, blog writing, meals and domestic chores for me. Rollie and I do music most days, outside when we can, and he joins Clifford and me for dinner and a game of cribbage every evening.

I catch the sunset when I can.

Sunset in the desert

Last Days of January at La Posa South – January 2019

Although I think calling one day January and the next day February is artificial, merely a construct for the convenience of convention, like calling one mile Utah and the next mile Arizona when really the flow is continuous …. this blog is called Last Days of January. Usually blogs are based on the number of photos I want to share, not a certain set of days, but today I will honor “January,” and this blog will wrap up January 2019.

Waiting for sunrise

Almost every morning, I walk in the desert at sunrise and the day I got up too late, Clifford and I went over to Rollie’s place for a morning campfire.

Walking in the desert at sunrise
The sun peeks through
Morning in the desert

Every day I write in my journal, sometimes taking it with me on the morning walks, sometimes writing when I get back, sometimes finding a spare moment during the day. My favorite is taking it with me on the morning walks and finding a place to sit and write in the desert. And I visit “rose” on my way back to camp.

Journal writing in the desert
Good morning “Rose”

Almost every day I work on projects that involve the laptop: editing books, blog writing/posting, editing photos, agent research, and this week I completed and emailed nearly a dozen agent queries for Ang’s novel Princes and Priests. It’s all good and fine as long as the sun shines and the cell signal is strong enough for the hotspot to work.

Some days I walk in the desert at mid-day, most especially to visit the “rose ” that is not a rose, as I am able to see the tiny blossoms open at mid-day. I think it is actually some desert variety of globe mallow. And I find other little flowers along the way.

Almost every day Rollie and I play music with Clifford as our audience, although this week our sessions were short because Rollie has injured his shoulder. Every day Clifford works with his ham radios, plays his dulcimer, and works on CI projects.

The two things that are different this week: we go to the RV Show, which is a BIG deal in Quartzsite, drawing thousands of people, but it is winding down now and isn’t too crowded. We have time to walk the aisles of the Big Tent. Rollie gets a couple of things for himself, I buy a pair of silver-looking earrings, Clifford purchases a flag pole to use as part of his antenna set up. There are hundreds of vendors with a lot of interesting and useful stuff here and it is fun to look.

The other not-so-fun thing this week is that, after telling Clifford and Rollie how much I love taking photos with my cell phone, I am having problems accessing the photos and editing them. Big bummer. Online research does not come up with answers, but then the phone starts working again. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it was just a fluke and continue taking photos.

Every evening I make dinner for the three of us, Rollie and I play cribbage, and then I do dishes.

Sunset in the desert

Almost every evening I go to bed later than I really think I should, but there is so much I want to do, I squeeze in whatever I can.

Quartzfest Week – January 2019

Sunday January 20: As most days here at La Posa South, my day starts with a walk in the desert, and my thoughts today are of Mary Oliver and her connection to nature so elegantly expressed in her poetry.

Sunrise in the desert

Today I work on a website for my daughter Ang and get some basics in place, but it is slow going, as the net is not great here. The usual evening routine of dinner, cribbage, and dishes finishes the day.

Monday January 21: It is really windy this morning, but I go for a desert walk anyway, visiting Grandmother Saguaro and the rose-bud looking blossom in the arroyo.

The “rose” that is not a rose
Grandmother Saguaro

Clifford and I go for an outing to Quartzfest at nearby Roadrunner BLM camping area, as today is the first day of classes and events for the week-long ham radio festival. Other years we have camped onsite, but this year we are staying at La Posa South, as it is easier to not pack up and move. Then we go to Quartzsite, visiting a funky bookstore, Family Dollar, and the market.

A funky bookstore

Tonight Clifford has a call with his brothers after dinner, while Rollie and I play a game of cribbage.

Tuesday January 22: Desert walk at sunrise, still windy, but better looking sky than yesterday.

Today Rollie works on the Suburban, replacing garden hose parts with the real deal parts purchased from a Chevy dealer. We have an early dinner then head to town for MacDougal West concert – the Peter, Paul, and Mary Trio clone. They are quite good and we enjoy the concert. Bed late.

Wednesday January 23: I go for a longer walk in the desert this morning – my quiet time.

In the afternoon we go to the Outdoor Survival class at Quartzfest. Back at camp, I post a tribute to Mary Oliver with one of her poems and one of my photos.

Thursday January 24: Today is the Quartzfest Trail Ride, which Rollie and I are participating in. Nearly 60 vehicles are in the lineup this year.

Trail Ride

We follow the leader, Frank, down Pipeline Road to Tyson Wash and down the wash to Tyson Well. Using our 2-meter radios, Frank points out the petroglyphs and gives us a history of Tyson Well, an important stop for desert travelers. We are here long enough to climb to the hilltop above the well.

Tyson Well

Cone’ cabin and studio and Coombs cabin are other historical sites where we stop as the journey takes us on back roads through the desert.

Rollie uses binoculars to look over the desert
Back country

Following Tyson Wash, the caravan heads to the Hi Jolly Monument on the edge of Quartzsite. Plaques detail the history of the camel experiment.

Back at camp, I am experiencing problems with the net, making it hard to send my entries to the Quartzfest photo contest and I am limited to photos taken today and the “rose,” which had been previously downloaded to the laptop. Very frustrating. In the evening we drive back over to Quartzfest to attend the Hootenanny for awhile. It was a very full day and midnight by time I head to bed.

Friday January 25: Words and not even photos come close to the experience of being in the desert at sunrise. The ambiance is more than the fresh air and the smell and sounds of birds. I find a perfect seat in the wash to sit and write in the journal, and visit Grandmother Saguaro, “rose,” and desert marigold before heading back to camp.

Smoothie, new kombucha tea, texts with photos, and preparing a blog from early September fill the morning until time to head to Quartzfest for the Antenna Walkabout. Looking at the bulletin board, I see four of my photos have made it to the finals.

New kombucha

Saturday January 26: For the desert walk this morning, I go to my sitting spot by Top-knot Saguaro, with coffee and journal.

A place to sit and write in the journal

Winter field day starts for Clifford, but is interrupted when we go to the Quartzfest closing. Lots of prizes are given out, and the photo contest is one of the highlights. I am delighted to take 1st in General, 1st in Pets, and 1st in Nature, as well as the Grand Prize. Needless to say, I am quite pleased to have done so well.

Subtle evening colors

Back at camp, Clifford continues with Winter Field Day, making radio contacts through the evening, while Rollie and I play cribbage after dinner. And as always, whether I win or lose, I am the one who does the dishes. And so ends Quartzfest week – 2019.

La Posa South – Minor Adventures – January 2019

The next several days at our camping area at LaPosa South, south of Quartzsite are marked by lows in the 30’s and highs in the 60’s – not bad for January, but generally too windy to spend much time sitting outside.

Morning and evening walks in the desert happen almost daily for me, as I find myself very drawn to the stillness. I like the openness without barrenness, always finding interesting trees or rocks or flowers to take photos of, but it is the ambiance that I wish most to share. The morning “quiet time” routine of inspirational reading and writing that I had established in Monticello is harder to maintain here, so my quiet time is now walks in the desert.

Morning light on the trees and shrubs along the arroyo

After repairing his drone, Clifford takes it for a flight… and it gets away from him, becoming a smaller and smaller dot until it disappears.

Clifford takes drone for a flight

Well, this is a bit discouraging, but Clifford knows by line-of-sight which direction it has gone. Clifford, Rollie, and I go look for it, with a starting point a couple of miles past LaPosa South. Rollie and I go one direction along the trajectory line, inquiring of campers if they have seen a drone, but no one has. We are hoping it didn’t crash into someone’s RV. Clifford goes the other direction along the trajectory, back toward our campsite. As he’s walking in the desert, using his binoculars to scout around, he comes across a couple of RVs a ways out from LaPosa South and he approaches a man who seems a bit unfriendly. Turns out Clifford is near the area of a nudist colony and the guy thinks Clifford has come to spy on the nudists. After a bit of conversation, the man is finally convinced that Clifford is indeed looking for a fly-away drone. The man’s cousin and husband who are camped nearby might have noticed a drone, and the fellow will inquire of them when they return from town. Clifford describes where we are camped without much hope that anything will come of. Keep in mind there are thousands of RVs camped in the desert south of Quartzsite.

The next day after plotting a distance as well as a trajectory, we plan to go search again, but before we leave, a pickup comes up our driveway (we are quite a ways out from the main part of LaPosa South). Turns out the couple in the pickup are the cousin and husband of the man Clifford talked to yesterday, and the drone had landed in their driveway. They had taken it inside, but the fellow Clifford talked to didn’t know that. He happened to mention talking to Clifford, and sure enough, they have the drone and set out to find us. So the drone is returned, none the worse off for its adventure.

Drone returns home

Another not quite so fun adventure is our trip to Lake Havasu City, about 90 miles to the north. We are going there to buy a Mr. Buddy heater, with plans to stop for photos on the way back to Quartzsite and lunch at the casino near Parker.

Driving to Lake Havasu City

The Lake Havasu City Walmart is on the north end of town, but before we get there, as Clifford steps on the gas to merge into the correct lane of traffic, the Suburban starts steaming, big time, with the heat gauge rapidly going up. We barely make it to the Walmart parking lot, coasting in and stopping at the outside edge.

Rollie and Clifford assess the problem and it appears that broken motor mounts allowed the engine to jump enough to break a housing that holds hoses to the radiator and heater. We check out the Walmart auto supply, but they don’t have the right part. A nearby Toyoto dealer orders the part for us and we have lunch at Subway while we wait for the part to be delivered. When the part arrives, it is the wrong size and won’t work. We are back to square one, but now it is mid-afternoon. After much searching and some ingenuity, we come up with a series of garden hose parts and clamps to jury-rig (thanks to Rollie) the hoses so as to be able to drive without overheating the engine. This has taken hours, many trips back and forth to Walmart auto and garden centers, and me taking Ninja for long walks. It is after dark and the guys are working by flashlights before it is all back together and we head to camp. No photos and no stopping at the casino for a meal.

Working by flashlight

Other than the drone adventure and Suburban misadventure, which both ended well, we continue our projects. I do more editing, look into starting a website for Ang, and write a couple of blogs. Rollie and I play music almost every day and cribbage after dinner.

Cribbage after dinner and tonight I have a winning hand!

Clifford is busy with CI research, ham radio, playing his dulcimer, and flying the drone when it is not too windy. And we all went to the New Christy Minstrel concert in Quartzsite one evening, which was good entertainment.

Evening in the Sonoran desert south of Quartzsite, Arizona

Arizona Here We Come – December 2018

Sunday December 30: Snow and forecast for snow storms delay our departure from Monticello, Utah, but we finally make our get-away on December 30th. We finish packing, say good-bye to our place, and by mid-morning we are on our way. It is 13 degrees and the landscape is snowy, but the highways are clear.

Good-bye to snow-covered Abajo Mountains
Heading south
Rugged Arizona mesas

Due to the forecast for a big snow storm in region of Flagstaff, Arizona, we push on through Flagstaff and make it all the way to Seligman, Arizona, along I-40.

Last view of the San Francisco Peaks at Flagstaff

It was a super long day’s drive for us – 350 miles, but we needed to get far enough west to be out of the storm.

A truck stop in Seligman provides a place for us to set up for the night. It is chilly enough that we use the furnace for the first time to warm Cougar up a bit, but we are dismayed that we can’t get the fridge to light. Maybe too cold? I wanted to play viola and write in the journal, but I am too tired. Since the bed is cold, I nap on the couch until Clifford, the night owl, is ready to go to bed.

Monday December 31: I wake up about 7:00, don warm clothing, and walk across the dark parking lot to the restroom at the truck stop. When I get back to Cougar, I am too awake to go back to bed, so start making tea for the thermoses. By time Clifford gets up a short while later, it has started to snow here. That was not part of our plan! So Clifford skips his shower and we pull out as soon as we can.

Mountain in the background, west of Seligman, obscured by falling snow

For the next 50 miles we are driving in a snow storm, which wouldn’t have been so bad except for towing a trailer. Certainly not ideal conditions, but Clifford is steady, and I don’t make any moves that might distract him. We are nearly out of the storm before I feel okay about taking a few photos of this rather scenic drive.

This is when it starts to get better!
Snowy but scenic drive

As we near Kingman, the snow lets up and we stop at a Petro truck stop for gas; the gas in Seligman was highway robbery, which we decided not to give in to, but it did mean running a bit closer than comfortable to the empty mark. In Kingman, lunch at Cracker Barrel is a treat and then we stop at Walmart for supplies. What a zoo! We could hardly find a spot big enough to park our rig so we could go in to shop.

Heading south out of Kingman, still on I-40, at the junction to highway 95, we pull into a Love’s truck stop for the night. It is cold out, but with the furnace and burners on, we are quite comfortable. We have a restful night here, glad to be out of the snow and eager to reach our destination tomorrow.

Trip to Tucson – May 2018

Trip to Tucson – May 2018

Thursday May 10: We are leaving for Tucson today to participate in the StopGeoengineeringTucson Conference in Tucson, Arizona, an event being put on by activist Matt Landman. Clifford has been invited to speak, along with several environmental activists.

It is a hot dry windy drive from Monticello through the barren land of the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Atrizona. Sand/dust twisters are frequent and we are even hit by one that crosses the highway, shoving us over at least a foot or two.

Northern Arizona landscape

As we approach Snow Flake, Arizona, just north of Show Low where we will be spending the night, we see ponds, trees, and green fields. What a difference!

Green

We arrive in Show Low in the early evening, find our motel, then meet up with our webmaster, Kaylee, who will be joining us at the conference. While Clifford naps, Kaylee helps me make small changes to the CI website, as well as setting up a gallery on my photography website. Good to see him and to have such personalized web assistance!

We go out for a late dinner, visit awhile – lots to catch up on – and then bed way too late.

Friday May 11: After showers and making tea for the thermoses, we are on our way. It is even hotter today, still dry and windy, but at least the landscape is more interesting, especially as we go through the Salt River Canyon. I would have liked to stop for photos, but the pullouts are on the wrong side of the highway, and Clifford is eager to get to Tucson.

Winding highway through Salt River Canyon

Heading south after leaving Salt River Canyon

Arriving in Tucson, we find our air B&B. It is locked and we can’t get in, so we hang out in the little courtyard. Eventually, in a round-about way, we are given the combo to unlock the door. The place is funky in a grungy sort of way, but it was the only place available this weekend. So, we will make do, including me giving the kitchen a cleaning before it is suitable for our needs. We are joined by others who will also be participating in the event.

Saturday May 12: We leave our B&B early, without breakfast, so we can get spots in the parking garage at the event center. We had been told there would be a food court open, but unfortunately, this is not the case and finding food during the day takes a bit of a scrounging around. A Panda open nearby and a Starbucks are most helpful.

The conference goes well, as all the speakers are exceptional as they speak on their topics.

Clifford speaking at the StopGeoengineeringTucson

After the conference, we all help with cleaning up the auditorium. Back at our B&B, a group of folks gather in the small front room and interesting conversations ensue. Later we all walk to a street where night-life is active and we find a place where food is still being served. It is way too noisy for me (and Kaylee, also, I’m thinking), but everyone else seems to have a good time.

Sunday May 13: Mother’s Day. Many of those who attended the conference, either as speakers or audience, turn out for a protest against the environmental toxins that are being deliberately introduced into the atmosphere. It was interesting to see teenagers, young families with small children, middle-age folks, and the senior group all participating in this protest.

 

There are lots of us who are aware and care about what is being done to our Mother Earth and her delicate atmosphere.

As the protest winds down, we say good-bye to our friends and begin the trip home. It is not as hot and windy today. I am excited to see saguaro in bloom for the first time, but it sure is hard to get photos as we drive. A brief stop at a possible camping area helps out.

Landscape north of Tucson

Leaving the saguaros behind

At Salt River Canyon, we  stop at a couple pullouts, but the shadows are already too deep for good photos.

Salt River Canyon – the Salt River can be seen at the edge of the shadow

We also stop briefly at the Visitor’s Center at the bottom of the canyon.

View from the Visitor’s Center at Salt River Canyon

Salt River Canyon as we head up and northward

Beyond that, the landscape is quite barren and I knit more than watch the scenery.

Tonight we enjoy a nice room at Motel 8 in Holbrook, Arizona. The long drive through the hot dry desert, as well as lack of proper nutrition and sleep these past few days, has been exhausting. I am glad for the comfortable room and head to bed as soon as I can.

Monday May 14: After the continental breakfast, which was quite good, we hit the road – another 325 to Monticello, most of it through the deserts of northeastern Arizona.

Northeastern Arizona landscape

Junction of Arizona State Highway 160 and highway 191, which takes us to Utah.

Utah, here we come

We take a break from driving when we cross the San Juan River in southern Utah, exploring the campground there.The river is a joyful sight to me!

San Juan River

Although we are now in Utah, we still have a ways to go.

Utah landscape

We arrive in Monticello in late afternoon. It was an important and jam-packed few days, but I’m really glad to be back home.

 

 

Grand Canyon – Heading North – March 2018

Thursday March 29:   This morning, we – Clifford, Rollie, Ninja, and I – are going to the Grand Canyon National Park, about 12 miles to the west of our boondocking spot on FR 307 off Arizona State Highway 64. I make tea for the thermoses and a picnic lunch, and off we go.

Our first stop is the Visitors Center at Desert View, located at the very east end of the park. We tour the Watchtower, an amazing and beautiful architectural work of art, inside and out. The architect and builder, Mary Colter, was a woman of great vision.

The Watchtower at Desert View

Panels of Native American art adorn the walls on every floor of the Watchtower

The staircase spirals upward along the outer wall, leaving an opening to the top

Replicas of petroglyphs on the walls of the Watchtower

Carol and Clifford at the Watchtower

Carol and brother Rollie at the Watchtower

I take photos of the canyon from Desert View. The lighting is not the best, but it is what it is.

Canyon views from Desert View

Far below, the Colorado River carves its way through the canyon

Every window of the Watchtower is placed so as to frame a geological feature, including this formation

After we leave Desert View for more sight-seeing, we stop at a picnic pull-out and enjoy our picnic lunch.

Picnic at the Grand Canyon

Then we drive on to Grand View Point, hoping to find the Rim Trail so Ninja can get out and walk with us, but no such luck, so he stays in the car.

A little slice of the Grand View

Next is Yaki Point and we find the Rim Trail. We have an enjoyable hike along the rim before we head back to camp.

Life on the trail near Yaki Poin

Rim Trail near Yaki Point

Along the way back, we stop to explore other dispersed camping areas on highway 64, but we like the spot where we are the best.

Back at camp, we enjoy a campfire and play music until it gets too chilly.

Then I make dinner for all of us and play a game of cribbage with Rollie. Later Clifford and I have a discussion about ozone and ether, topics of interest in connection with his research. And bed late.

Friday March 30: We are going to the Grand Canyon again this morning, leaving earlier and planning to be back in time for lunch here. No need to make a picnic, and since Rollie is going to buy me a latte at the Desert View Gift Shop&Store, no need for thermoses, either.

Rollie, Carol, and Clifford at the Grand Canyon

At Desert View, as we enjoy our hot beverages, we take more photos and chat with a couple from Pennsylvania.

Enjoying the view from Desert View while we chat with other visitors to the Grand Canyon

Today we go to Navajo Point, Lipan Point, and visit the Tusayan Museum.

Navajo Point

Lipan Point

We take lots of photos at every point and then return to camp in time for peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Easy and tasty!

Rollie and I explore further up the road from where we are camped and find a much larger campsite, one that could work for us in the future, should we come this way again.

We have breakfast burritos for dinner by the campfire, a pleasant and relaxing end to our couple of days here.

Dinner at the campfire

Saturday March 31: We start packing as soon as we are up, leaving FR 307 once we are all ready. It has been a good spot, but it really is time for us to get back to Monticello. Rollie is going to caravan with us that far, which will give him a day to relax and get his laundry caught up before he heads on north to Montana.

The caravan leaves FR 307

We backtrack to highway 89, then travel north until we reach the junction with highway 160, which runs east across the northern tier of Arizona.

Badlands of northern Arizona

There are some crazy drivers here, passing when it is not safe to do so. There is a roll-over near Kayenta… not surprisng, but still sad for those involved. There is a long delay before we can go on.

Arriving at the junction to highway 191, we turn north and soon we are in Utah and back to our home base, no longer nomads for the time-being.

The Abajo Mountains come into view

It was a lot of miles, with many good camping spots and beautiful places to see, photograph, and hike. Plans are already underway for a trip to Montana in this summer…..

Leaving Red Rock Country – Northward Journey – Spring 2018

 

Wednesday March 28: 31 degrees this morning, a bit on the chilly side at our campsite on forest road 525 outside Sedona, Arizona.

Today is moving day; we will be heading north toward southeast Utah. I make tea for the thermoses; Clifford is soon up and we begin packing. Once we are ready to go, we see that our tail lights are not working. It is a blown fuse and replacing the fuse doesn’t help. Rollie helps figure out what is causing the short, and we are soon on our way with Rollie right behind us.

Clifford and Rollie fix the electrical problem

At Sedona we turn southeast at the junction to Arizona State Highway 179 and take this scenic route to the Visitors’ Center/Ranger Station where there are great views of Bell Rock (except for the jet trails which are really not good for photos or our health).

Scenic route – Arizona State Highway 179

Bell Rock as seen from the Visitors’ Center on state highway 179

Bell Rock detail

We watch a documentary of this red rock desert area, and then we are on our way.

The landscape changes dramatically once we are heading north on I-17, leaving red-rock country behind. We are headed to Cameron, north of Flagstaff, Arizona, for an overnight stay at a quiet truck stop (yes, this one was quiet the last time we were there), but Clifford sees a sign that indicates that the Grand Canyon is only about 65 miles away, so there is a quick change of plans.

We take the junction to highway 64, which leads to the Grand Canyon from the east. There are a few miles of forest service land between the Navajo reservation and the park boundary, and there we find dispersed camping on forest road 307.

Precursor canyon along highway 64.

We get set up on a spur road, a pretty spot with  junipers and sage, and a small mountain behind us.

Setting up camp on a spur road off FR 307

We pick up trash and rebuild the fire ring before I make nachos for dinner for all of us. Clifford has a call with his brothers, so I go over to Rollie’s camper for a game of cribbage. Later, back our camper, dishes are done, but I’m too sleepy to write in the journal. Off to bed, happy that we found this nice spot and that we have the Grand Canyon to look forward to.

Sunset colors from our campsite

Jerome, Arizona – Heading North – March 2018

Tuesday March 27: The sky looks better today; it would have been a good day to go sight-seeing and taking photos of the red rocks around Sedona, Arizona. Oh well, hard to know.

I visit Rollie and we look at maps, as Clifford has mentioned going to Jerome while we are here. After breakfast, Rollie and I play music outside in the sunshine; sure nice to be able to do that. The neighbor in the airstream comes over with his guitar and joins us, which is great fun. Afterward, he shows us his airstream – big enough for his wife, four daughters, a big dog, and himself full-time. An airstream sure would be a nice way to go, so well designed to utilize space.

Then we make a trip to Jerome, Arizona, once a mining town on the side of the mountain, now a tourist place.

Main street of Jerome, Arizona, once a mining town, now a busy tourist town.

It was hard to find a place to park, but once we did, there was lots to see and do: we looked inside the old Catholic church,

The old Catholic Church in Jerome, Arizona

went through a museum (guess it is not the main one), popped into a few other shops, and had a tasty lunch at Mile High Cafe. Fun outing.

View from Jerome, Arizona

Heading back to FR 525

Almost looks like rain

Back at camp, as it almost looks like rain, we set up the screen house again and anchor it down so Rollie and I can do music outside even with a breeze and a sprinkle. Another neighbor comes over to take photos of us as we play, and a perky college girl traveling in her car during spring break comes over to chat after she gets her tent set up. Sometimes a village can be quite fun.

I don’t fix dinner tonight, since we had a big lunch in Jerome, but still play a game of cribbage with Rollie before heading into the evening routine and to bed.