Saturday, December 16, 2017


Alright, I know it is way past Thanksgiving, but it’s never too late to showcase family.  This year we were thrilled to have all of Ron’s descendants (and spouses) come to Mesa.  You’re probably picturing people sacked out all over our little 2-bedroom house, but the reality is that only Ron’s son stayed with us.  The others rented a large house only about 5 miles from our house.  It worked out beautifully.

Their house had a pool and hot tub which were a big hit for all the Denverites.  However we did drag them out for a couple of hikes.  After all, we had to counteract all the good meals we ate.

The first was an out and back along Saguaro Lake and everybody participated.  Here are the two youngest with Grandpa.  All three are wearing Ron’s hats.

Here’s Ron with all four of his grandchildren – Adam, Shannon, Harper, and Elsie.

Elsie got tired (translation – bored) after going just a short distance, but Harper led us the whole way.  He even came upon a snake which made his day.

It really is a pretty hike along the lake.

Harper enjoyed looking through the monocular that I brought along.  After about ¾ mile, he turned around and led us back.

We went to Organ Stop Pizza one evening for dinner.  Both Harper

And Elsie really got into the organ music.

We did one more hike with just four of us.  It made me happy to see three generations enjoying the same thing.

As for the big day, we ordered a turkey from Safeway and had dinner at the rental house.  So other than a couple of sides, I didn’t do anything!  My sister Diana joined us and took the group picture, leaving me with no excuse for not being in it.

I was impressed when sons-in-law Tom and Sean (with some supervision from Kim) did all the cleanup.

But I had to laugh a little later when I snapped this ‘after’ picture.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lovely Sedona

When the weather cooled down a bit, we moved to our favorite boondocking spot between Cottonwood and Sedona.  Man, do I love Sedona!  Even driving into town is a picture.

As promised in the last post, here’s the story of the third drive we took that we’ll never do again.  I’ve always wanted to drive up Schnebly Hill Road as it climbs 2000 feet from Sedona to the top of the Mogollon Rim.  It’s, at minimum, a high clearance road, but we had tried it in our Ford Escape and didn’t feel comfortable.  Now that we have a 4-wheel-drive truck, we knew it was time to do it.

I made Ron let me out so I could take a picture of the road.  This was pretty typical, although there were a few worse sections.

Beautiful views all the way up.

And after the longest and slowest 5 miles imaginable, we made it to the top.  In the distance, you can see route 89A, which is the easy way to climb up the rim through Oak Creek Canyon.
 Needless to say, we took an easier route back down.

We also did the Chimney Rock loop, hiking among all those gorgeous red rocks. 

Chimney Rock is actually a double, but looks single from this angle.

We passed Lizard Head Rock.

But, really, doesn’t this look more like a lizard?  In fact, I see two lizards.

Looking back, in the distance we could see the Mogollon Rim that we drove up the day before. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fossil Creek

One day we decided to check out Fossil Creek Wild & Scenic River outside of Camp Verde.  It’s hard to imagine that Arizona would have wild and scenic rivers, but this is one of two!  Fossil Creek originates from artesian springs and has a constant year-round flow of nearly 30 million gallons per day.  To ensure that everyone has a place to park, a permit is required from April 1st to October 1st.  We went on October 2nd and didn’t have a problem with parking.

This was the second of three drives we took this year that we decided we were glad we did, but would not do again.  Mills Canyon, which we drove in July, was very scary, but at least it was short.  The third will be in the next blog post.  This one, Fossil Creek Road, was 14 miles of He__!  (That was ‘Heck’, of course.)  Alright, it was just washboard, but, after a couple of miles, it really became annoying and, by mile 14, we were ready to scream!

We were so thankful when we crossed the pretty river at the bottom of the canyon.

The hike to the waterfall is only 2 miles round trip, with some pretty ripples along the way.

Look how clear the water is and filled with so many fish!

The waterfall was worth the short walk, but what’s that speck at the top of the falls?

Watching the jumpers definitely added to the fun.

In order to get the trees out of the picture, wading was required.  Since I didn’t want to take off my shoes and socks, I asked a nice young person to take a picture for me.

Is it me or are there two faces in the waterfall?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

My Bad

Although we have been back in our Mesa house for quite a while, I have yet to finish blogging about the remainder of our travels.  I figure I’m about four posts behind, so here goes.

After leaving Show Low, we parked for a while in the national forest outside of Payson.  We checked out RV parks in the area with the thought that we might want to summer there sometime.  We didn’t see anywhere that tempted us to stay, although it is a very pretty area.

We rarely go to museums, but we made an exception for the Rim Country Museum in Payson.  Surprisingly, a docent takes you through the museum rather than wandering on your own, but she was very knowledgeable.  There is also a reproduction of Zane Grey’s cabin which he inhabited while writing some of his famous western novels.  The docent for that part of the tour was a rabid Zane Grey fan from England.  Very interesting.

We also took a couple of hikes.  The first was Horton Creek Trail which is a lovely walk through the woods along the creek.  It seems to be a dangerous place for kids’ shoes.

I was surprised to see what I thought was a Kaibab squirrel, which is only supposed to be in the Kaibab Forest along the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  Upon further study, I think it’s not, but it still is very pretty.

It does have big ears like the Kaibab, though.  Maybe it’s a mutant.

If you go far enough on the trail, I believe there is a nice waterfall, but after a couple of miles, I turned around at this pretty spot.  (Ron had given up a little earlier.)

We also did the Monument Peak Trail, which loops around Monument Peak.

It used to be a nice trail, but now that ATVs are using it, it is really rutted.

After Payson, we moved to another National Forest spot above the Camp Verde/Cottonwood/Sedona area.  It was still hot, so we stayed at altitude.

Here’s the view out our dinette window. 

Wandering around the area, we found a lot of grinding holes that the natives had used long ago.  Here’s Ron demonstrating.

It’s hard to imagine finding enough seeds and grinding them.

Scary story.  One evening we were driving back up hill from Camp Verde and passed a fifth wheel RV on the other side of the road that was on fire!  The driver was very smart and stopped right on the road, instead of pulling over to the side which would be the instinctive thing to do.  With the dry grass, that would have set the whole forest on fire.  Since several people had already stopped, we continued uphill.  I feel we did our part by stopping twice to put out little fires in the road about a half mile back.  Luckily, we had water in the truck.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Happy 90th!

After my flights across the country, we hurried to attend our friend John’s 90th birthday party.  He and several other RVing friends own large lots between Show Low and Concho, Arizona.  At 7000 feet, the weather was perfect in mid-September and we happily settled in on Roy’s lot, who unfortunately wasn’t there. 

We had requested that John put us away from the main group because we assumed they would have nightly campfires.  Here’s a picture from the roof.

These lots were sold to unsuspecting out-of-staters who didn’t realize the problems associated with building there.  To dig a well, it would have to be over 1100 feet deep.  The ground is very rocky and a septic is either difficult and expensive or nearly impossible.  A few lots have electric, but it’s thousands of dollars to have brought in.  But it’s a beautiful place to boondock with an RV.

The celebration was five days of fun and reconnecting with old WIN friends.  Here’s John snuggling up to Corrinne.

And here he is with the shirt that Ron and I bought him.  I can’t take credit for the idea since Diana bought one like it for our father’s 90th and Ron’s girls both bought similar ones for his 80th.  (I know, I know, it’s hard to imagine that Ron is 80, but all who know John find it just as hard to believe that he is 90.)

There were daily activities planned, both onsite as part of the celebration and off site.  One day we joined several other vehicles for a rough trip through the national forest to the top of Greens Peak.  On the way up, we had some excitement when Sue had a flat tire. 

Ron to the rescue with our can of Fix-a-flat.  He used up the whole can which only brought it up to about 20 psi (which might have been because it was a really old can), then he got out the 12-volt air compressor to finish it off.  I was sure I got a picture of him at work, but it seems to be gone.  Sue is certainly braver than I.  Instead of turning around at that point, she just continued to the top with the rest of us.  However, days later, we heard that the tire was remaining fully inflated.  Amazing.

The view from the top was quite impressive.

But it was also very windy as demonstrated by Larry and his ‘stay puft’ jacket.

Later that day, we found out that Carol also had a flat caused by this giant metal spike that was so far in her tire that the end was level with the tread.  She’s smiling because she made it home before it went flat.

The actual birthday party was on Saturday and what a shindig it was!  His children had ordered unbelievable party favors, including can cozies, cups, name tags, and in the bag . . .

Personalized cookies that really did resemble John.

John even got the Mountain Saddle Band to entertain and they were terrific!

They had lots of pictures of John as a young stud,

But he demonstrated that he still has it when he and Sally ‘pole danced’ on top of the storage container.  Sally was a real sport – even wearing his Budweiser shorts for our amusement.

This last picture was posted and reposted so many times on FaceBook that I don’t know who to credit for taking it.  It’s most, but probably not all of John’s well-wishers who attended this very happy event. 

We love you, John!