Arizona, Jan – March, 2018

Yuma

I keep returning to a boondocking area just 17 miles west of Yuma, technically in Winterhaven, California. The BLM area is near the Ogilby exit off Interstate 8 on Sidewinder Road.  This was my fourth time camping on Sidewinder.  Sometimes alone and sometimes with friends.  Ralph, Mick and Deb were with me as we killed time before heading up to Quartzsite to meet up with other friends and attend the big RV rally.  Deb and I visited the Imperial Sand Dunes and took a few photos.  I LOVE sand dunes.  I don’t know why…I just do.

 

 

My nephew and his family, Kevin, Mariya, Mason and Kyle, came to visit and roast weenies.

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Mason, 5 years old
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Kyle, 1 year old

Quartzsite

When we arrived in Quartzsite we found a fairly flat area in the Dome Rock section about five miles west of Quartzsite.  I like to camp here because it is elevated and has great views of the Quartzsite lights at night.  You can see the sunrise and sunset right from this location and it is much quieter than camping in Quartzsite.   

Eventually there were five rigs: Deb and Mick, Cheryl and Jesse, John and Bill, Ralph and I, and one of my bookies, Lynn, who was on her maiden voyage with her new rig.  John brought a LOT of firewood and we had a campfire every night and even some mornings.  We all spent money at the RV Big Tent, went to the Desert Bar, looked for unique rocks and had a great time with wonderful friends. 

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That’s a “Mick” fire.  Those of you who know him will understand! 🙂

The frosting on the cake was the Blue Moon/Red Moon and total lunar eclipse. We got up at 5 am to catch the eclipse and also had a campfire and watched the sunrise.  What a unique experience!  Deb took some wonderful pictures.

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Blood Moon, Lunar Eclipse
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Lunar Eclipse

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We stayed two weeks and it went so quickly. Ralph hitched a ride back to Sacramento with Cheryl and Jesse, while Lynn and I headed to Martinez Lake to join a few of the Escapee’s Solos for the week.

Martinez Lake

Martinez Lake is about 10 miles north of Yuma on the Colorado River. Being near water in Southern Arizona is a rare treat.  Several Escapee Solos were also camped there, so we had a built-in social group.  Lynn did some work on her rig and Fred and I just hung out and visited.

 

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Martinez Lake

 

I had visitors every evening right after dusk.  Fred just watched them through the window.  I doubt he’d ever seen anything like this before.

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So cute and friendly.  I didn’t dare feed them. They would never leave!

 

I also crowned another Road Queen; my friend Lynn.

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The newest Road Queen, Lynn

 

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Freddy and Owen by the campfire

 

I was just getting ready to head to Tucson and spend a couple weeks with my friend Malia (Malia’s Miles blog) when I came down with the Shingles!  UGHHHHHH! What a nightmare!  First I had a lot of pain that I couldn’t explain and then the blisters broke out.  That’s when I realized what was happening. I went to a walk-in clinic and started the anti-viral meds, which worked to stop the virus in its tracks.  However, what was already there was bad enough. As of the date of writing this, I’ve had shingles for seven weeks. The blisters are gone, but,  I still have a lot of nerve pain.  I sure hope it goes away soon!

Instead of heading to Tucson, I went to my nephew Kevin’s house and parked in front of his house for another week. I stayed until I felt like I could handle the 240-mile drive to Tucson.  Kevin and Mariya took good care of me and I had a chance to spend more time with the little ones. Baby Kyle is one year old already. 

While in Yuma I took Fred to the vet for vaccinations, where they discovered that Fred needed a couple of teeth surgically removed. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of the end for our little buddy, Freddy the Freeloader.

Tucson

My original plan was to spend two weeks in Tucson with my friend Malia and then fly out of Phoenix to Florida to visit family.  However, after making the drive to Tucson it was clear that I was in no condition to travel to Florida, so I canceled my trip.  On top of feeling terrible, Fred was going to need surgery for his teeth.  Ralph decided to fly to Tucson to help Fred and me.  I was soooo grateful.  I had no idea what lie ahead for Fred.

We found a vet in Tucson and went in to have the pre-surgery blood tests complete.  This would tell us if Fred was healthy enough to survive the surgery.  When the vet opened the door he said, “I don’t have good news for you.”, my heart sank.  He informed us that Fred’s kidneys were failing and he could not perform the surgery.  He advised us to administer sub-cutaneous fluids for 14 days and return for another blood test.  Maybe this time he would be healthy enough to survive the surgery. After a few days of the fluids, Fred was a new cat!  He wasn’t sleeping the entire day, was very playful and wanted to go outside all the time.  I was so hopeful. 

When Ralph and Fred met up with me in Oregon, I noticed how much weight Fred had lost.  He was also drinking much more water and peeing a lot.  After Ralph left at the end of January, it was just Fred and me.  I could tell he just wasn’t himself.  He was hiding in the back of the rig, sleeping all the time and even vomited.  I now believe that his body was full of toxins because his kidneys were not working and he was close to death.

The vet told us that 65% of old cats die from kidney failure.  It was a surprise to us that Fred was an “old cat”.  Since he adopted us, we didn’t know how old he was.  We thought 7-8 years old.  The vet told us he was 11-12.  We lost 5 years with Fred overnight!  We also learned there is nothing that can be done to reverse or even stop the kidney failure.  Fred only had about 6 months to live and that’s if I gave him the sub-q fluids every day.  Ralph was leaving for Oregon to continue his house hunt and there was no way I could handle that by myself.  I couldn’t watch Fred die over the next six months, so we had to let our little Freddy go.  It broke our hearts and I cried for two days straight.  I cry every time I see his ghost in the spots where he always slept and on the back of the dinette next to the frig where he would perch and wait to be fed.  I miss his little face when he woke me up in the morning by touching his cold nose to my nose.

 

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The last photo of Fred

 

Fred was a wonderful travelling buddy and a friendly, adaptable cat that everyone loved.  Ralph said that Fred changed his mind about cats. I miss him so much.

After losing Fred we had to do something different. 

Our friends Mick and Deb we were at the Escapees Park in Benson so we decided to join them for a week.  It was only 51 miles and I knew Ralph would enjoy having someone to play with because all I was doing was lying around hurting and grieving.  The Escapees Park in Benson is a great park.  The sites are huge, the people are friendly and there are many activities.  They even have a workshop with equipment for the men.  Ralph was a hit with the ping-pong guys and shot pool in a couple of tournaments.  Deb and I went to a beading class.  Ralph and I even did some sightseeing and drove to Tombstone, Sierra Vista and Bisbee one day.  It was nice to finally get out and do something. 

Then it was time for Ralph to fly home.  We drove back to Tucson and I parked at the Diamond J RV Park.  I was finally going to get to spend a couple weeks with Malia.

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Lookin’ out my backdoor!
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Labyrinth in the desert

As of this writing, I’m still in Tucson and at some point I’ll head to Deming, New Mexico and begin my tour of the Land of Enchantment. I have Johnson relatives in Albuquerque and I am looking forward to spending some time with them.

Until next time…

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Flagstaff, Page, AZ and Kanab, Utah

Back to Flagstaff

As much as I love the Sedona area, it was getting very warm there and I was finished with the Elks Lodge camping.  I decided to head to Flagstaff and the Bonito National Campground.  The elevation in Flagstaff is 7000 feet and the temperature is cooler than Sedona.  The Bonito campground offers only dry camping and is located at the entrance of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The campground is 12 miles north of Flagstaff and is nestled in the pine trees with nice separation between the sites.  Since the weather is cooler there was no need for electricity for air conditioning. 

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Bonito Campground Site

My new friend, Malia Lane, drove up from Sedona for the day and we toured the Sunset Crater Volcano and the Wuatki Ruins. Malia has been full-time RVing for 16 years as a solo.  I’ve read her blog for a few years and actually she is the one that inspired me to travel solo.  We are the same age, drive similar sized rigs and tow a vehicle.  She answered many of my questions and I decided, “If she can do it, so can I!”  Malia is a wonderful writer and you can read her blog, Malia’s Miles here.   I met Malia for the first time in Sedona and we really connected. We are both independent, new age women who came of age in the 1960s.   We also have the same touring style: slow and stop a lot to investigate things. I loved the time we spent together and I know we will meet up sometime in the future. Malia is staying in Sedona for the summer to complete a book she is writing.

Sunset Crater Volcano and the Wuatki Pueblo

According to Wiki Sunset Crater Volcano Sunset Crater is a cinder cone and is the youngest in a string of volcanoes (the San Francisco volcanic field) that is related to the nearby San Francisco Peaks.

The date of the eruptions that formed the 1,120 foot-high cone  was initially derived from tree-ring dates, suggesting the eruption began between the growing seasons of A.D. 1064–1065. However, more recent geologic and archaeological evidence places the eruption around A.D. 1085. The largest vent of the eruption, Sunset Crater itself, was the source of the Bonito and Kana-a lava flows that extended about 1.6 mi NW and 6 mi NE, respectively. The Sunset Crater eruption produced a blanket of ash covering an area of more than 810 sq miles and forced the temporary abandonment of settlements of the local Sinagua people. The volcano has partially revegetated, with pines and wildflowers. Since the last eruption of the volcano is a recent occurrence, it is considered dormant by volcanologists.

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Sunset Crater Lava Field
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Sunset Crater Lava Field
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Malia at Sunset Crater
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Sunset Crater Lava Field

The remains of masonry pueblos are still in the area.  In the 1100s Puebloan peoples came together to build a vast farming community.  By 1180, thousands of people were farming the Wupatki area.  By 1250, the people had moved on and the pueblos were abandoned. In 1930, President Hoover established Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.  Wupaki ruins are well preserved and include two round ball courts and a blow hole where cold air flows out of the earth.  It was fascinating and we could feel the energy of those that came before us. Well worth the visit.

While in Flagstaff I was able to take care of some errands, shopping and visiting with a friend I knew from Rancho Murieta. I finally bit the bullet and bought a new iPad.  I still had an iPad 2 with 16 gig of memory and 3G cellular.  That’s practically an antique!  I purchased the newest iPad with 128 gig and WIFI.  It’s blazing fast compared to my old iPad. Now I have plenty of room for all my travel apps, TV shows and movies for when I dry camp and cannot use my Dish satellite. So far I’m very happy with my purchase.

I met my friend, Sandy, at the Continental Country Club for lunch.  Sandy and I lived in Rancho Murieta at the same time.  Sandy reminded me they left Rancho Murieta 15 years ago!  I couldn’t believe it had been that long.  It was great to catch up and compare retirement.  Sandy and her husband Bob have two homes in Arizona; one in Cottonwood and one in Flagstaff.  They are only 80 miles from each other, but a world apart in climate and temperature due to the difference in elevation.

I stayed in Flagstaff for one week and then I headed to Page, Arizona where Jane, one of my BFFs, joined me for ten days to celebrate her 60th birthday.

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The San Francisco Peaks in my mirror as I head north from Flagstaff

Page, Arizona and Lake Powell

I drove the 130 miles from Flagstaff to Page and settled at the Wahweep Campground on Lake Powell before picking Jane up at the airport. We were celebrating her 60th birthday. 

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The Road Queens

 

The Wahweep Campground is a great campground located on the shores of Lake Powell.  The sites are $44.00 per night and well worth it.  The view from our campground was beautiful. There is also a hotel, restaurant and marina nearby.

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View of Lake Powell from campsite

While at Lake Powell, we visited the Glen Canyon Dam, Horseshoe Bend, Marble Canyon, Lee’s Ferry and took a boat tour of three canyons. We also hung out with a couple locals one night and had a memorable time.

You can thank the Glen Canyon Dam for the making of Lake Powell.  According to Wiki, Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Colorado River in northern Arizona. The 710-foot high dam was built from 1956 to 1966 and forms Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the U.S. The dam is named for Glen Canyon, a series of deep sandstone gorges now flooded by the reservoir. Lake Powell is named for John Wesley Powell, who in 1869 led the first expedition to traverse the Colorado’s Grand Canyon by boat. Learn more about it here.  Lake Powell is 450 deep in some areas.  The Glen Canyon Recreation Area is very popular, especially with boaters.

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Glen Canyon Dam

We took a lake boat tour and explored three canyons; Glen, Navajo and Antelope canyons. The boat we took had an entirely female crew and the first female Navajo boat captain in the US.  This entire area is in the Navajo Nation. Learn more about the Navajo Nation here. 

One of the crew invited us to have sushi with her the next evening.  Believe it or not, the sushi was fantastic at the Blue Buddha and Joe, the bartender, made the best Cosmo I’ve ever tasted.  After dinner we went bar hopping in Page. I haven’t been kicked out of a bar in many years. One of us had a little too much to drink (and no, I’m not going to say who), and our little group of four was asked to leave the bar.  We were definitely the minority in Navajo country and had a great time mixing with the locals. We laughed about it for several days afterwards.

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Early in the evening at the Blue Buddha

I was also able to check off a bucket list item by visiting Horseshoe Bend.  This is an area where the Colorado River curves around an island in horseshoe fashion.  I’m sure you’ve probably seen photos of it.  If not, here you go.

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Horseshoe Bend – Colorado River.  Those little dots on the left are rafters.

 We did some site seeing by driving to Lee’s Ferry and Marble Canyon. Lee’s Ferry is named for its notorious settler, John D. Lee, who established a ferry at the site in the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The ferry shut down in the 1920s when the steel span of the Navajo Bridge replaced it providing a breathtaking view of the canyon below. Lee’s Ferry is the put-in point for those rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.  It is the only place for 100 miles where you can access the Colorado River.  We dipped our toes in the river and it was very cold.  I was told it was 46 degrees.  I thought there was a town there, but alas, there was not. 

Nearby is Marble Canyon with a resort and restaurant where we had a delicious lunch.  Marble Canyon, so named for its colorful rocks and cliff walls, is just below Glen Canyon Dam. Along with Lee’s Ferry, Marble Canyon marks the beginning of the Grand Canyon at its most eastern point.

After spending a week in our great camping site at Wahweep, it was time to head to Kanab, Utah so we could visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

 Kanab, Utah

The scenic drive north on Hwy 89 was a short 75 miles.  We stayed at the Kanab RV Corral for three days. It was an 80 mile drive through forest to the north rim of the Grand Canyon for Jane’s 60th birthday.  We took the short, but strenuous, hike along the ridge overlooking the canyon. On the hike we met a man who had bicycled from Oklahoma!  I can’t even imagine. We reserved the best seat at the Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge and had a delicious dinner overlooking the canyon. We reminisced about Jane’s 50th birthday in Venice, Italy when we spent a week there and had a costume ball the day of her birthday. Where will be celebrate her 70th???

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North Rim Grand Canyon
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Grand Canyon
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Grand Canyon
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Grand Canyon Lodge on right.
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Grand Canyon

We had  such a great time.  I love having my friends visit. The next day I drove Jane back to Page to fly home.  When I returned to the rig, I prepared to leave the next day for Panguitch, Utah just outside Bryce Canyon.

Cottonwood, Sedona, Jerome and Flagstaff, Arizona

After leaving Benson I headed up to Casa Grande which is half way between Tucson and Phoenix.  I decided to stay in the Escapee’s Rover’s Roost park to wait for my Michigan/Florida friend, Sandy’s arrival.  The Rover’s Roost is the first Escapee’s Co-op in the extensive co-op system.  Friends I made at the Escapade in Tucson are members of Rover’s Roost and told me about the park.  This is the second time in a month I found myself in Casa Grande, a town I never even heard of before.  I had a few days before Sandy arrived and I made good use of the time before my first two-week guest arrived.  I drove up to the Phoenix airport to pick up Sandy and we spent a few more days in Casa Grande before taking off for our new destination near Cottonwood, AZ. My book club friend was in the area and stopped by for the night.

 

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Lynn and I

It’s about 180 miles from Casa Grande to Cottonwood and required driving though the middle of Phoenix. I’ll admit that was a bit of a white knuckle drive for me.  There is SO much traffic in Phoenix.  Once you get through Phoenix on Hwy 17, you climb into the mountains for pretty much the next 90 miles. We decided to boondock in a popular spot off Hwy 260 and Thousand Trails Road.  I didn’t realize how popular it was until we arrived and could barely find a spot to park.  As luck would have it, (bad luck?) the Wondering Individual’s Network (WINs) were there for a gathering.  This brought an additional 20 or so rigs to the area.  Sandy’s keen eye found a spot for us and it turned out to be a wonderful site with great views.  The original plan was to stay for a few days and then move somewhere else or to a campground.  But, as luck (bad luck again!) would have it, it was Easter week and all the campgrounds were booked.  I was told that Easter week is their busiest week of the year! I have to keep better track of the holidays. This isn’t the first time holiday camping has caused a problem.  So we settled in for the duration.  It turned out to be a great site.  We were able to go 15 days on the holding tanks and still had water and a little room left in the gray and black tanks.  That’s saying something for two women who have to pee every hour!  This location was perfect for exploring Sedona, Cottonwood and Jerome.

 

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The view from our boondocking site

This was my first boondocking since I left and it felt great to be back in the wild. When we set up camp we didn’t realize there were cows grazing in the area.  Our first clue was a mooing alarm clock the next morning. I looked out the bedroom window and there was a cow right under my window.  There were about eight cows surrounding the few rigs in the immediate area.  When we went outside we found muddy footprints on the outdoor mat and nose prints on the portable solar panel.

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My alarm clock
We gave ourselves the name Sister’s of the Travelling T-shirt. Let me explain.  Sandy’s sister-in-law’s father (did you follow that?) has an outdoor store in Pinconning, Michigan and had t-shirts made.  Sandy had the great idea of taking pictures of the t-shirt (with her in it) at the various places we visited, so, that’s just what we did! Every time we went out the door I asked, “Do you have the t-shirt?” Here are a few of the photos.

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The travelling t-shirt

We kept busy while in the area.  Another Escapade friend, Rick and his rescue, wonder dog Nola, were camping in the area.  We went to dinner and celebrated Sandy and Mike Sikora’s wedding anniversary. Thanks Mike for buying a wonderful dinner for us, even though you weren’t there! At least we knew where we were 31 years ago…at their beautiful wedding in downtown Detroit. Rick took us for a jeep ride on the Red Rock Canyon Loop. While on the loop we stumbled upon the Pataki ruins.

 

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Etchings from ancient people

We also discovered another boondocking area on FR 525 and if you go about five miles from 89A you have stunning views of the red rocks.  We even ran into Rick at the Safeway while grocery shopping.  I seem to have a much busier social life on the road than I did at home!

 

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Rick and Sandy
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Red Rock Canyon
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The three amigos
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Sandy and the wonder dog Nola
 

We were parked closer to Cottonwood than Sedona so we went there to explore.  I’ve been to Cottonwood three years ago (as Facebook reminded me) with my friend Dianne.  Dianne has a timeshare just outside Sedona and we spent a week there.  Cottonwood is much smaller and less crowded than Sedona.  We stopped to eat at The Red Rooster, which quickly became our go to restaurant in Cottonwood.  On the way into Cottonwood I saw a sign for a Drag show. Drag show in Cottonwood, AZ, you say !?!  That should have been my first clue. We went to the show that evening.  First, the show started over 1.5 hours late.  Then, when the performers finally came out we couldn’t see well from where we were sitting and the stage was poorly lit.  By this time I was really annoyed so we decided to leave.  After seeing professional drag shows in San Francisco and Key West, this was a real disappointment.  Oh well…nothing ventured, nothing gained!

We visited some of the archeological sites in the area:  Montezuma’s Castle and Well.  Here’s the thing…Montezuma was never there. It’s not a castle, nor is it a well.  WTH?  Montezuma’s Castle is a cliff dwelling built into the side of a rock mountain.  I couldn’t help but think who looks at the side of a mountain and says, “That’s a good place to build an apartment building?” I am always amazed at human ingenuity.

Montezuma’s Well is actually a sinkhole with water.  The archeologists are still trying to figure out where the water is coming from.  Every time they put cameras down into the water they get sucked down into the water spouts.  Interesting places.  Of course we got pictures of the t-shirt!

 

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Montezuma’s Well

Because Sedona was a big traffic jam all week, we decided to go shopping early one morning before the crowds.  That was a good plan.  I always find something different to buy in Sedona, and this trip was no exception.  Sandy and I both found a few things we couldn’t live without.

We also drove Hwy 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff and visited Flagstaff for the day. This scenic drive goes through Oak Canyon and indeed, it was very scenic! I had driven through Flagstaff before, but never stopped.  We purchased a few items from the Navajo artists set up at the Oak Canyon stop. We found the Lumberyard Brewery for lunch  and toured the Riordian Mansion  The Riordian Family was some of the first settlers of Flagstaff and provided lumber for the railroad as it moved west. We learned a lot about the history of Flagstaff.  I will return to Flag (as the locals call it) after my trip to Mexico.  It is much cooler there due to the higher elevation.  There are several sites in the area to explore before moving further north in search of a cooler climate and other adventures.

 

Sandy and I drove to Jerome for late Easter Dinner at the Asylum Restaurant. The restaurant is at the top of the hill with great views.  The Asylum got great reviews on Yelp, but we found the food mediocre at best.  It was Easter and the kitchen was slammed, so maybe that is why our food came out lukewarm twice!  The view from the restaurant was spectacular! Sandy was in Jerome twenty years ago and said the town has really grown.

 

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Easter Flowers

The night before we were pulling out to move to the Jerome Elks Lodge, I noticed a very small Class A motorhome pull in looking for a spot to camp.  It’s very unusual to see a small Class A and I was curious about its size and configuration.  Sandy noticed two younger women get out and set up their outside sitting area lickity split.  So off I went to say hi and find out about the rig.  It’s only 26 feet and nicely configured.  Shortcoming, not enough storage room.  Vanessa (36) and Carley (30) invited us to have some wine and of course we accepted! 

I found both women inspirational and they gave me hope for the future!  They are intelligent, strong, fearless women and impressed both Sandy and me.  After a painful breakup and leaving unsatisfying jobs, they decided to rent an RV and hit the road.  They had no experience operating an RV, but that didn’t stop them.  I assume they got the 30 minute overview from the rental company and off they went in search of their future!  They had a lot of questions for me and I answered as honestly as I could.  They said they felt like Sandy and I were sent from the future and they could see their future standing (or sitting, as it were), before them.  We talked about everything…jobs, travel, relationships…everything.

They were definitely worthy of being crowned as Road Queens with the travelling tiaras.  So I went back to my rig, fetched the tiaras and came back for the crowning ceremony.  I wish I had extra tiaras so I could have given the tiaras to them.  But alas, I couldn’t leave my only tiaras.  They seemed very moved by it. We loved meeting these women and I surely do hope our paths cross again.

 

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26 foot class A Motorhome-  Cute!
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Vanessa and Carley
 

 

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The newly crowned Road Queens

I spent my remaining time at the Jerome Elks Lodge until it was time for me to depart for Mexico.  I’m stored the rig at the Elks Lodge while I was away.

I took this video for Sandy to send to her nephews and thought maybe some of you would like to see it.  So here is a short, unprofessional video of my little home on wheels. 

Now I’m off to Mexico for two weeks with the girls.  When I return from I’ll move up to Flagstaff and see the North rim of the Grand Canyon  and then head north to Page.

Till next time…

 

Benson, Bisbee, and Tombstone, AZ

After the Escapade 57 RV Rally in Tucson, I travelled a whopping 30 miles south on I10 to Benson, Arizona.  Benson was my home base for exploring the small towns of Benson, Bisbee, Tombstone and the Chiricahua National Monument.  I also become a member of the Willcox Elks!

Benson

Benson is a city in Cochise County east-southeast of Tucson. It was founded as a rail terminal for the area, and still serves as such. The population of the city is around 5,105.  There is an Escapees Park in Benson: Saguaro RV Park.  The Escapees have many RV parks around the country.  The parks offer co-op ownership for seasonal (or permanent) parking and open sites for temporary stays.  The fee for a first time visitor is $50 for a week with full hookups.  That is an incredible price!  The park is located just a couple miles south of Benson.  Most people here are fellow Escapees and are very welcoming and friendly.

 

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View of the Dragoon Mountains from the RV Park

 

I’m an Elk!

The first item on my agenda was to attend the induction ceremony at the Willcox Elk’s Lodge.  Many of you are wondering why I would join the Elks.  Well…here’s why.  Most Elks Lodges offer RV sites with hook ups and a built in network of people that can recommend places in the area and provide help if needed.  The lodges are safe, friendly places for solo woman RVers.  The lodge was recruiting new members at the Escapade 57 so I jumped on the opportunity.  Fifty-six Escapees where inducted on Monday night.  As the ceremony began, I couldn’t help thinking back to my time as a Rainbow girl.  The induction was very similar.  Joining Rainbows was one of the smartest moves I made as a 12 year old!  I learned so much about networking, giving to the community, making friends, public speaking and of course memorizing the rituals.  I’ll never forget the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo and violet.   Now that I’m literally a card carrying member of the Elk’s Lodge, in the future I will take advantage of their RV sites. Especially the Lodges located in cities that I want to visit.

 

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The Elk and I are one!

Bisbee

Tuesday I headed 45 miles south to Bisbee.  Bisbee is a small former mining town turned tourist area.  It reminded me of Jerome, Arizona near Sedona. 

“In 1877, a reconnaissance detail of U.S. army scouts and cavalrymen was sent to the Mule Mountains to search the area for renegade Apaches. What civilian tracker Jack Dunn found instead were signs of mineralization indicating the presence of lead, copper and possibly silver. The first mining claim was staked in what would later become the City of Bisbee. The filing of this claim, and a multitude of others sent prospectors and speculators scurrying to the Mule Mountains in hopes of striking it rich. Numerous ore bodies were located, and Bisbee soon became known as the Queen of the Copper Camps.”  Thanks DiscoverBisbee.com.

I visited the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. With a history deserving of National Landmark status, the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum joined forces with the Smithsonian’s Affiliation Program. Once known as The Queen of the Copper Camps, Bisbee is located in the Mule Mountains, and known for its diverse minerals and wealth of copper. The first floor of the museum contains exhibits on Bisbee’s colorful history and the second floor provides information on mining and the various minerals found in the mines. Here is just a few of the “rocks” found in the mines.

On the second floor you enter through a changehouse (where the miners changed into their mining clothes) before winding through an underground mine with minerals, a crystal cave, and the history of hard-rock miners who blasted, drilled, and mucked more than 2,000 miles of tunnels through the surrounding mountains. The invention and implementation of electricity in homes and workplaces increased the demand for copper, a great conductor of electricity. You then segue into today’s world of open-pit mining, where new technologies address challenges posed by a high-demand marketplace and low-grade ore.

To learn more about the museum click here.  If you find yourself in Bisbee, do not miss the museum.  It is time well spent. 

 After lunch, a visit to the Bisbee Brewing Company was in order. I find myself sampling flights of craft beers and discovering I like a wider variety of beer.  I explain to the bartender my taste in beer (smooth taste, not hoppy and slightly sweet).  The bartender picks the samples for me and the tasting begins. It is fun, tasty and supports small beer businesses.  An all-around win!

 Chiricahua National Monument

Thursday I drove to Chiricahua National Monument to explore.  It is an isolated mountain range rising above the surrounding grassland sea.  The Chiricahua Apache call the pinnacles “standing up rocks”.  The rocks are the results of eruptions of the Turkey Creek Volcano 26 million years ago and 1200 square miles of spewed ash.  The super-heated ash melted together, forming layers of gray rock called rhyolite.  Cooling and uplifting created joints and cracks in the rhyolite.  Years of weathering and ice wedging and erosion by water enlarged the cracks.  Weaker material washed away leaving an endless variety of spires, balanced rocks and other shapes.  The national monument was established in 1924.  I took the eight-mile drive to the summit at Massai Point for the bird’s eye view of the area.  This, out of the way, national monument is definitely worth a visit. For more info on Chiricahua National Monument click here.

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It’s hard to capture the uniqueness and beauty with a camera

 

Tombstone

What do I have to say about Tombstone?  Everyone probably knows a little about this old west town. Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, founded in 1879. It was one of the last wide-open frontier boomtowns in the American Old West. The town prospered from about 1877 to 1890, during which time the town’s mines produced $40 to $85 million in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Its population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years. It is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and now draws most of its revenue from tourism.

I’ll be leaving Benson tomorrow to head back up to Casa Grande to wait for my dear friend Sandy Sikora to fly in from Michigan. We will be Queens of the Road (tiaras and all, thanks to Jane)  for two weeks.  Don’t know where we will travel.  But, rest assured, it will be an adventure!

 

Yuma, AZ and Family

I arrived in Yuma on February 6 and left March 17.  The time passed so quickly with the highlight being the birth of Kyle Furtah, 7 lbs, 7 ozs, 21 inches.  He arrived via emergency c-section because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck three times!  Mother and baby are doing great!  We’re all so happy everything turned out fine.

Now I know what the phrase “bundle of joy” really means.  Ky, as we call him, pretty much sleeps all the time with short bouts of feeding and eliminating.  I understand that is what newborns do. I’ve never experienced a newborn before or held such a small baby.  He’s so light!  It’s been a joy to be here with Kevin, Mariya and Mason, and now Ky to share the experience of welcoming a new member of our family.  We will be doubly blessed because my other nephew, Michael, and his wife, Lauren, are expecting the next little Furtah in August.  We are all thrilled for Michael and Lauren. 

I’ve been helping out where I can and loving every minute.  Mariya and Kevin are such good parents.  Mason is adjusting and is very loving and gentle to “his baby”.  I had to remind him, “He’s our baby too”.

 

My niece, Theresa visited from Florida.  She flew into Phoenix so I was able to go a day early and visit with a book club friend, Lynn, in Surprise and my friends Mary and Gerard in Apache Junction at an RV park.

Unbeknownst to me, it is baseball spring training in Phoenix for the SF Giants and the LA Dodgers. It was so crowded! Hotels in the area were double and triple the normal prices.

Lynn was staying with a friend in a beautiful RV resort.   It had RVs and park models. The resort had many amenities including a large pool and many activity and craft rooms, a full woodworking shop, ceramics and glass workshops, sewing rooms, and painting and craft rooms, etc.  Plus they had many physical activity areas and rooms.  I think the monthly dues are around $600.  It looked like fun and you sure wouldn’t be bored. 

The second day I drove out to Apache Junction to visit with Mary and Gerard.  We drove the Apache Trail in the Superstition Mountains. “The Superstitions are the largest of the mountain ranges surrounding Phoenix, visible from many miles away along the straight roads through the suburbs east of Mesa. They rise steeply above the flat desert to a high point of 5,024 feet, and are characterized by sheer-sided, jagged, volcanic peaks and ridges separated by boulder-filled canyons, all covered by saguaro at low elevations, with other cacti and bushes higher up. Trees are found only at scattered locations, at springs or beside streamways. Early settlers named the hills on account of the many myths and stories told by the local Pima/Apache Indians about the mountains, and tales such as the fabled Lost Dutchman gold mine.”  Americansouthwest.net   .Click here for more info.

For more than 120 years, the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine has haunted the minds and souls of treasure seekers throughout the world. Said to be the most famous lost mine of all time, it continues to draw prospectors to the Superstition Mountains of Arizona in search of its rich gold. Read more here.

The Supersition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum is worth a stop. Formerly the Apacheland Movie Ranch, it was the shooting site of many Western television series, movies and commercials.  Many famous celebrities and movie stars have graced the grounds.  This list includes: Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen, Will Rogers, Jr, John Wayne, Audie Murphy, Linda Evans, Stella Stevens, Ida Lupino,  Rosemary DeCamp, and many, many more!

We also stopped at the Lost Dutchman State Park to take photos of the beautiful desert landscape.  They let you stay for 30 minutes to take photos for free.  We didn’t have time to hike, so the 30 minutes was plenty of time.  To learn more about the park, click here.

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Here’s an idea of the height of a Saguaro
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Mary Ann and Gerard
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Superstition Mountains

 

I’m so happy I had a chance to meet up with my friends and see the sites and see my favorite niece! 

On the way back to Yuma, Theresa and I stopped at the Painted Rocks.  I had a little trouble finding the right exit off I 10, but finally did.  I’ve camped here in the past. 

Painted Rocks near Gila Bend, AZ

For one week it was a Furtah frenzy!  This was a wonderful opportunity to hang with family.  I miss them all so much!

I think having a home on wheels will afford me the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family located around the US.

My next stop is Tucson for the Escapees’ Escapade 57, an RV Rally.  Read about it soon!

 

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Good words to live by!