Williams-Golden Valley, Arizona
Newberry Springs, California
Other than mooch-docking at our friends' Tombstone home, we have not been to any place more than twice. And even those are very few in our relatively short time as full-timers.
Wednesday morning we drive to Williams, Arizona, where we set up at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park for the third time. Just a nice, clean, concrete park with small gravel space between sites, it's really not anything that special. But we like it, even being right next to the active train track. It is one of two places we've stayed that requires pads under the jacks. The WiFi works most of the time, all sites are 50 amp FHUs. Although we don't use it, the laundry/shower/restroom building is very nice. A major draw is the Passport America rate of $22/night for up to a week :-))
The smoke we saw the day before is a controlled burn in Coconino Forest, north of the interstate and still visible for miles. Fortunately the light wind keeps it away from Williams, and they have it out by the end of the next day. Presumably as planned.
One of the things we love about this location is the access to miles and miles of forest roads. We check out Dogtown Lake, and an old corral at the edge of a wide meadow. Mostly we enjoy being out in nature where no one else is. The weather is perfect, and we spend several hours just exploring. Life is good.
|Bill Williams Mountain behind Dogtown Lake.|
|These Albert's Squirrels with their tufted ears and thick bushy tails entertain us along the trail around the lake.|
|The forest opens up to golden meadows.|
|Old corrals have such interesting textures.|
|Old cattle chute.|
|I love having the quiet time to discover small treasures - like a thread flower on weathered wood.|
|Too late for this old guy to pull energy from the light.|
|A tiny hole in the forest floor.|
Friday we're back on the road, driving 175 miles to Golden Valley, Arizona. This section of Interstate 40 has some great views and interesting geology, but the condition of the road is still awful in places. Miles of construction indicate there may be some relief in the near future.
Taking Hwy 95 at Kingman we pass a couple miles of backed up traffic - coming from Las Vegas and Laughlin? We're just glad it's clear in our direction.
Coming over the hill, Golden Valley is spread out for acres and acres. We soon learn it's all housing with almost zero services. No grocery store, two eateries. There's the local Hair Stylist/Massage/Auto Parts place so it's not without "amenities." With Kingman just 10 miles away it's not truly remote.
We check into Tradewinds RV Park, another Passport America Park, where we enjoy the $17/night rate for three nights. Just off Hwy 68, the all gravel park is a perfect "en route" stop for us to spend the weekend with a day trip and football before moving on to California. FHUs with 50 amp, wide open skies, nice hosts, and well maintained grounds. For there being nothing nearby, the park is surprisingly 3/4 full.
Saturday we visit the nearly-ghost town of Chloride. The oldest active mining town in Arizona, it also has the oldest post office. Another day of perfect outdoor weather for playing in the desert.
|One of several vintage road warriors.|
|Many of the original homes are still inhabited.|
|In 1966 while on a break from his fine arts degree at Utah State, Robert Purcell worked the mine at Chloride for several months.|
|With the support of local residents, including funds to purchase automobile paint, Purcell painted a 2000 square foot mural about two miles out of town.|
|In 2006, Purcell returned with ten other artists to refurbish the murals which have become a vibrant part of a small community of artists now calling Chloride home.|
|Only visible from immediately in front of the rock face, the murals manage to provide a stunning piece of art without defacing the natural beauty of the surrounding desert.|
|A few wash-outs along the 1.3 mile trail to the murals make a high clearance vehicle a good idea. There is space to park at the bottom for those who prefer to walk.|
|Local yard art.|
|Alien? Robot? Purple water heater with legs?|
|What is it about a big machine that shovels dirt that makes me want to go play with it?|
|We find a short wash to explore and look for rocks.|
|We never tire of these desert playgrounds.|
|The oldest post office in Arizona - established in 1862 - has been serviced by stage coaches and trains during its wild history.|
So we make a one-night stop in the "interstate-killed-the-little-towns-on-Route 66" of Newberry Springs, California. Newberry Mountain RV Park is literally between Interstate 40 and Route 66, and a nice, clean spot to break up the drive. A Good Sam park, the initial impression is "iffy", but once we pull in and set up it's just fine. The few seasonals are some of the best kept we've seen, and the sites are well maintained.
It's interesting to see both the interstate traffic and trains passing our window, and neither keep us awake.
|This classic sits alone in the lot next to the cafe - empty window frames mirror the vacant roadside stop.|
|The site of the cult classic movie by the same name.|
|Every wall is covered with patches, paper notes, shirts and hats. Every surface is dusty, flies show more life than the server, the food isn't bad, it's not a place you have to come back to once you've seen it.|
|Our first California sunset in six months - seems longer!|
Tuesday morning we make the final leg back to Santa Clarita, California.
Returning to our former hometown always feels like putting a period at the end of a sentence. We don't plan "trips", we just go. And no matter how long or how far we've traveled, coming back is always the end of something, and the beginning of something else.
Our time here is special, getting caught up with our six sons (one will fly in from Seattle next month), and of course those darling grandsons. We always look forward to it, no matter how long we plan to stay, and what other necessities are scheduled. We also look forward to heading out on new adventures at the other side.
This visit will include minor surgeries, doctor and dentist appointments, financial transactions, catching up with friends, picking up mail, getting passports (a hint of travel to come), and a Thanksgiving trip to see Bill's family in Fresno.
We have no travel plans until New Years in the desert with high school buddies, so we may be here until then.
No matter what else we get up to, there will be lots and lots of Ezra time!