Not Quite Sedona

March 1 – 14, 2019

I proudly told everyone we met that we’d be spending the whole month of March in Sedona, Arizona.  A month in one place sounded too long, though, so I broke it up with a two week stay 30 miles south followed by two weeks actually in Sedona.  Let’s just say 30 miles south of Sedona is NOT Sedona.

Camp Verde

Camp Verde wasn’t without it’s appeal.  We did find some places to eat and Pat found the elusive oil cap replacement at the auto parts store.  Plus we’re now professional roundabout drivers.  (Two roundabouts to Camp Verde and six to Cottonwood in the other direction)  We’re back in a tight spot in a private campground, but the people are friendly and we can get our Amazon Prime delivery fix.  Plus I only have to walk 20 yards to the very affordable laundry, and Jackson has a dog park practically all to himself.  Now if we could just keep our revolving door of neighbors from cutting through our site….

Arizona Copper Art Museum

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When we first arrived, we had a few grumpy weather days so our friends Linda & Henry suggested we meet up for lunch and go to the nearby copper museum in Clarkdale.  See that big copper shape of the great state of Arizona?

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Upon closer inspection we discovered it was made entirely out of pennies!

A fascinating place with copper everything paying homage to local copper mining and smelting.  They had the museum organized by types of things.  Cookware, where I saw what resembled my mom’s RevereWare copper bottom pots, trench art made from empty copper artillery shells, lots of home decor, and even musical records.  The copper master records (or LPs for those of you of a certain age) are used for mass producing vinyl.  In the ladies’ room, I couldn’t resist the “mirror, mirror on the wall” shot.  I didn’t realize until I looked at the photo that they have the word copper showing up in the mirror.

Montezuma Castle & Well

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We’re back sightseeing with Linda & Henry, this time to Montezuma’s Castle National Monument.  It was a chance to see some of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America says the National Park Service.  It was also our chance to renew our national park pass for another year.

The water in nearby Beaver Creek was racing along fueled by snow melt.

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We loved the texture and patterns in the Arizona Sycamore tree bark.  Almost camouflage.

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Next stop, Montezuma Well National Monument.  This spot is advertised as tranquil in the NPS brochure and we all agreed it was a peaceful spot.  More cliff dwellings, a variety of birds swimming in the water and shade trees leading down to the water.

A constant supply of spring water flows into the well and the temperature can be up to 20 degrees cooler down by the water.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Linda & Henry camped at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, so we visited them for cards and hiking.

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We’re all trying to find the historic kiln on the trail at Dead Horse SP.  We looked and we looked, but never found it.

In this area just outside of Cottonwood, we’re just starting to see some of the red rocks.

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Back in the campground, we disturbed this fellow fishing for his dinner around the ponds.  He’s doing his best to ignore us.

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But the most fun of the day was the kids’ playground complete with a zipline of sorts.  I’d never seen anything quite like it.  Such fun and we all took a turn or two.  We got together with Linda & Henry a few more times for cribbage and dinner until they left us to fly back to Maine for a while.

Jerome and Mingus Mountain

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Jerome, Arizona is another mountainside mining town turned tourist haven.  It’s perched on the hillside with expansive views of the Verde Valley.

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Looking out on the valley with the mine tailings in the foreground and the silver smelter smokestack in the distance.

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A zoomed in shot to capture those snow-capped mountains. They’ve had a ton of snow this season.

Some of the buildings are just shells, but I do like the derelict look.  People leave locks on the iron fencing.  And down below they have two toilets set up like wishing wells so you can toss coins.  Pat tried his had, but couldn’t make it in the bowl.  And Spring is sprung with the trees starting to bloom.

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My favorite building chunk and home to a glass-blowing studio.

We strolled around town looking into the artsy shops.  Of course strolling this town involves leaning forward and backwards to make it up and down the steep hills.  You’ll be setting your parking break here.

On another day, we went back through Jerome and took the scenic drive to the top of Mingus Mountain.

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Quite the stunner of an overlook.  We were treated to snow showers in the distance and some flurries on us, too.

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Pat took a picture for a nice Canadian gentleman and he returned the favor for us.

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Another installment of where the pavement ends and I thought I might have gotten us into trouble on this road.  Not only did the pavement end, but it got muddy followed by icy.  “Go slow” Pat says so that’s what I did.

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The other side road was paved, but we knew better than to head any farther.  The only way for us is back down.

That’s about it for almost Sedona.  We read books and watched movies during the rainy days and Pat had a low-key birthday here, too.

Next Up – The real Sedona!  See you on the way.

White Tank Mountain Park & Civilization

February 22 – 28

Ahhh, back to civilization with its dining and shopping options.  We’re glad to be back in the land where both our phones work and we don’t have to cook every meal.  The bonus is being so close to all that a metropolitan area brings, yet feeling like we’re still out of the way.

White Tank Mountain Park

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The Phoenix area has some great regional parks on the outskirts and we’re at the one most raved about online.  White Tank Mountain Park is quite popular and lucky for us we booked our site for a whole week a year ago.  Otherwise we’d be hopping site to site like everyone else.

 

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Getting here was kind of nasty with a wet and windy travel day.  But, as soon as we got set up and were headed out for dinner, we were treated to an intense rainbow.  I only had my cell phone handy, so this bad picture will have to do.

Met new friends David and Sharron, also full-timers, formerly with a house in Florida.  We sat around their campsite getting to know each other, and David made pizza.  We were amazed watching him roll out dough and slap it directly on the grill.  That’s on our list to try for ourselves.  They like the same types of campgrounds as we do and we’re going to miss them in Abiquiu, NM by one day.  They plan, make reservations, and prefer short travel days just like we do.  Nice to meet like-minded folks.

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The one trail that Jackson would walk on had some pretty excellent views with snow-capped mountains in the distance and Saguaros standing sentry duty with Phoenix in the valley.

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Poppies and little purple flowers were thankful for all the rain and lined the trail.

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Our other neighbors, Anne & Ray came out one day and asked it we’d seen the coyote in our campsite.  Of course we always miss the close up wildlife.  She sent me this cell phone picture to prove it.  Just to the left of our picnic table and beside the tree is indeed a coyote.  We saw this same fellow prowling around two more times in our area and that’s about the time Jackson refused to walk the trail anymore.

Meeting Up With Our Friends

Fellow full-timers Rich and Kathie drove to see us when were in Tucson, so it was our turn to return the favor.  We took a day trip up to Congress, AZ where they’re spending the winter at an Escapees park.  We originally met them in the Escapees park in Bushnell, FL.  They gave us a tour of their new fifth wheel and we enjoyed watching the hummingbirds come to the feeder outside their living room window.

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Rich is volunteering at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, and treated us to a personal tour.  They have an amazing collection of Western art and sculpture as well as some excellent historical exhibits chronicling the area’s history.  Here’s Rich & Kathie posing for me in the blinding sun outside the museum. After the tour, we had a fabulous meal and a great time swapping travel stories again.

Other Stuff of Note

Local law enforcement was conducting some kind of training in the park and had a command center set up down the road.  Their giant generator ran 24×7 for five days and we saw a regular parade of S.W.A.T. teams, command centers and search & rescue vehicles drive in and out of the park.

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Also in the park is a branch of the local library where we browsed for new books, and there’s a nature center with snakes, tarantulas and lizards.  I’m a big fan of  gift shops, so we took a look around in that, too.  For only $7, you can buy foil-wrapped owl puke.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Owl puke is a hard act to follow, but I’ll move right on to dining out.  We erased our cooking personal best – three meals a day for a week straight – by eating out over and over and over again.  We hit all our favorites – Raising Cane’s, Pei Wei, Carrabba’s, Chipotle, and the list goes on.

Oh, and our oil cap has mysteriously disappeared as of this stop, so Pat is working on getting another one.  Truly always something.

We think the pack rats finally struck one evening.  We read that they “trade up” for better goodies for their middens.  After returning from dinner one evening we found a chewed napkin beside the outdoor rug, and a big hole chewed in the rug.  I guess they traded the napkin for a chunk of fabric.  So, Pat’s back to lighting up the car & RV engine areas at night.

It’s warming up finally, but now we can see the smog ringing the Phoenix area.  We’re blaming that on our headaches and we think it’s time to say goodbye to the big city area.

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I’ll leave you with another trail shot from White Tank Mountain Park.  We’d definitely stay here again.

Next up – Almost Sedona and catching up with Linda & Henry again.  See you on the way!