Sunday, April 21, 2019

Old Friends, New Places

April 6-10, 2019
Cottonwood, Arizona

Ten months ago I made reservations at Dead Horse Ranch State Park for six of us (3 RVs) to spend a few days before our annual reunion. We follow Donnie and Anna out of the little park in Anthem, Arizona, and get set up a couple hours before Jimmy and Maggie arrive. 

I make green chili stew and cornbread for our first dinner, and we watch the March Madness Final Four - a fun evening!

Beautiful weather in nice size spaces.

Hanging out with friends - Anna, Donnie, Maggie, Bill and Jimmy.

Attempting to stay clean(er) - it's short lived.
Another good friend from high school recently finished their new home in Prescott so Sunday we make the pretty drive to surprise Bobbye and Mike.

Maggie remembers to grab a pic to start the day.

A beautiful home in the high desert.

Of course we all hang out in the kitchen.
Our unsuspecting hosts hiding in the back :-)
Edit: I forgot to include the small-world moment I have here! Following Sherry's blog for years I got to know their friends Bill and Nancy. I've seen lots of photos and read many stories of their times together on the east coast. Sitting outside here in Arizona with our friends, I look up and see a couple of very familiar faces walking by. Imagine their surprise when I jump up and say "You're Nancy and Bill!" I explain who I am, and they agree they recognize my name from comments on Sherry's blog. We laugh at the serendipity of being in the same park in these moments in this wonderful life.

Maggie hasn't been to Sedona, and it's been since she was in girl scouts that Anna's been here - so it's great fun to explore the beautiful red rock area with them. The guys are in Donnie's truck seeing the sights at a different pace. The weather is beautiful - warm with a little breeze. We meet up for lunch in town.

Javelinas at the visitor center where we watch one of the worst information videos we've seen.

Anna and Bill take in the sights.

Maggie captures the Courthouse

Wildflowers sprinkled among the trees.

The line of cars to the cathedral takes nearly 30 minutes so we grab a pic from the road.
Bell Rock
We all enjoy the natural beauty of Sedona, but agree that the crowds (which we contribute to) take away from the experience. Lunch at the Cowboy Club is a wait, but very good. 

Donnie and Anna leave on Tuesday so they can pick up family from Las Vegas on Wednesday morning. The rest of us spend the day visiting the nearby ruins, and making a late lunch stop in Cottonwood. 

The ruins at the top of the hill at Tuzigoot (so fun to say!) National Monument are beautiful.

Many small rooms surround the taller structure. Access was via ladders from the roof - including going from room to room.

In nearby Camp Verde is the cliff dwelling of Montezuma's Castle. The first view is breathtaking!! Knowing this structure of 20-50 rooms was home to the Sinagua people for over 400 years makes it even more amazing. The community was abandoned in the late 1400s and was protected in 1906 as one of the original four national monuments. 


Access into the ruins was closed in 1951.

Beaver Creek was important to the community.

Old growth sycamores line the creek.
The dog sitters wait for Maggie and I in the shade.
We'll be back to this pretty place.
Trying to beat the expected high winds Wednesday morning, we are on the road - wait for it - at 7 AM!! 

There's still a lot of wind, even a few snow flurries in Flagstaff, but we make it safely to our next stop in Laughlin, Nevada.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Reruns and New Space

March 26 - April 5, 2019
Tucson - Phoenix, Arizona

Proximity to Camping World and familiarity with places we can get errands done in a large city bring us back to the KOA in Tucson, Arizona. 

We drop off the rig for two new slide toppers and to have the rubber step cover (top, interior) installed at 8 am. After breakfast we drive to Clayton Homes to look at manufactured home models. We figure we'll check out at least a few of the several lots in town. Buuuut.....instead we find just the right home for us! Seriously, it's perfect for our needs, and affordable for our agreed budget. That was fun!

I like all the colors and surfaces!
To celebrate our find we head for the natural beauty of Saquaro National Park East. 

It's a nice, cloudy day for spending time in this pretty park that we've visited before. Still, we're happily surprised when we hear back from CW that our home is ready at 1:00!

We love the diversity of foliage here.

Every one is different.

Massive chain cholla.

A brief glimpse of wet.
Over the next several days we take care of errands in the city, and rerun a couple of our favorite drives in the surrounding desert.

The base of Mt Lemmon is covered in a thick Saquaro forest - more than the park.

Two of the falls at Seven Cataracts

The Hoodoos area is our favorite of the varied environments on this beautiful drive.

 At the summit we find deep snow in the shade.

Grasses line the small canyons.

A small creek at the bottom of the canyon.

Tucson Mountain State Park is covered in blooming Brittle Bush.

Desert Mallow makes a few appearances.

Beautiful balance on the steep slopes.
As the temps increase, the RV park thins out. We enjoy walks along the small pond on site. We've not eaten at the park's BBQ restaurant in the past, but this time we take advantage of the free delivery. The smoked meat loaf is fabulous!!

Curious turtles come to see what we're up to. I miss the baby swimming underneath.

Even with the street next door, the little pond provides a lovely and peaceful oasis.
With a few days before we meet up with our friends, we move north of Phoenix to a new area of Arizona for us. It's amazing how the city has spread in every direction - I don't know where they find the water.

The Pioneer RV Park is a well maintained campground between the historic Pioneer Town and a federal prison. Level gravel and asphalt sites, long but narrow. 50 amp FHUs with new trees throughout, and friendly staff. Other than an inefficient and lengthy check-in, we enjoy our stay here.

We visit two nearby regional parks and catch up with friends in Phoenix. 

Cave Creek Regional Park is small and the visitor center has less information than any we've visited. 

The area is blanketed with Globe Chamomile which is beautiful but is also an invasive weed that causes skin inflammation. 

Lupine border a field of yellow.

The hills are covered.

A peak of pink prickly pear.
We get off road on our way to see Lake Pleasant Regional Park.  Lots of lava.

Lots of signs for these guys in the area, but a small herd of four is our only sighting. So cute.

Dried flowers add a new color to the bouquets.

Room for speed.....

.....and for those at a slower pace.

Mountain layers

We always try to meet up with high school friend David and his wife Tina when we're on this side of Phoenix. They're both working so we grab dinner on High Street. It's also Bike Week and we've chosen a spot surrounded by live music and lots of bikes. A little loud for visiting, but good friends, good food, and good tunes make for a fun evening.

Good friends David and Tina - I finally got their pic!!
Friday evening our Tombstone pals Donnie and Anna join us at Pioneer. We'll head out together in the morning to meet one more couple in Cottonwood for a few fun days in the Sedona area.

Life is good.