Just doing this and that in Cottonwood, AZ

I was grateful to Steve for organizing the three-day road trip for us to Canyon de Chelly and Walnut Canyon, AZ.  Not only did he take me to fascinating places, but the trip helped me in coping with my grief.  Like many other facets of our mobile lifestyle, returning after a major life event was challenging and interesting.  One part of that was reading every one of the comforting comments on our blog, and I thank you all for your thoughts.

After the road trip we mostly hung out at our home base at Dead Horse Ranch State Park (Steve’s review here).  Of course, there were many things to see and do in Cottonwood and the nearby cities of Jerome and Sedona.  Unfortunately I had a nagging cough and cold, plus jet lag that slowed me down a bit.

The upside was the gorgeous weather that allowed us to sit outside and be entertained by my favorite Arizona birds.  They came, they ate, they tussled, and then they scurried away. It was such a delight to watch and hear them again!

Great Road Runner
I caught this Road Runner in “non-running” mode
Gambels Quai
These male and female Gambel’s Quails seemed to strike a pose while foraging nearby

There was even one little guy doing an inspection of our coach:


A variety of activities can be enjoyed at this state park – fishing, horseback riding, hiking and bird watching.  Steve got me out of my chair to take a walk and get the blood flowing.  A sunny day with puffy clouds and chirping birds is enough to brighten anyone’s mood!  I felt my head cold clear up after walking around the park’s lagoon.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

During our walk, the erstwhile ghostly town of Jerome could clearly be seen high up on the side of Mingus Mountain.  It was beckoning us to go and pay a visit.

We saw that letter “J” on Mingus Mountain from our campsite

The town had changed little since our visit ten years ago during our flying days.  It’s been called “America’s Largest Ghost Town”, and is a tourist draw for its spookiness.

Our goal on this day was to check out a mexican restaurant that had been recommended for its food and margaritas, Vaqueros Grill and Cantina.  The moment we stepped in we were transported to a uniquely festive and colorful place:

Vaqueros Restaurant

We would say that the food was good but not great, and the margaritas were great but not good!  We enjoyed the meal and the view, and that margarita put my cough into sleep for a while.

Vaqueros Grill and Cantina
The atmosphere was fun, and the drinks rocked our world!


Finally, a dog I WASN’T afraid of…

On our last day at Cottonwood, we got a call from our friends Hans and Lisa who were camped nearby at Rancho Verde.  When these serious hikers invite us on a trek with them we try not to miss it (we enjoyed a great hike with them in Colorado), and we weren’t disappointed on this one either!  All of a sudden my malaise evaporated and I was really excited to see them again.


Apparently they had followed this trail twice in 2014 and called it The Best Hangover Ever, and now on their third trip they were sharing it with us and another couple.  I won’t repeat the details of this moderately-difficult 8.5 mile hike, but refer you to their second blog titled Hangover Hiking with friends.  We were introduced to a lovely creative couple, Lauren and Howard of the Nosh Bus.  Here are our pictures of this wonderful hike:

Hangover Trail
Yes Lisa, I’m right behind you!
Hangover Trail, Sedona
Lunch break at the saddle, bisecting two large red rock formations rising out of the canyon
Hang over trail, Sedona
The Hangover gang – Lauren, Howard, Hans, Lisa, myself and Steve – with a red rock backdrop
Hang over Trail
The section that gave the trail its name – rocks hang over the trail in spots



Hangover Trail Sedona
The trail winds down behind massive red rock formations rising out of the canyon
Hangover Trail
Hans, the leader of the pack gives us some information

This challenging opportunity to hike with Hans and Lisa was just the push I needed to get me back on the trails and more.








  1. I just adore roadrunners and that one is a beauty!

    It was so good to catch up with you again and hit the trail. And glad that it helped get you moving and maybe pushed that cold out of your system!

  2. Nothing like the great outdoors to fix your ills! And especially when you are with friends. Love the roadrunner! Glad you enjoyed Vaqueros Grill…we also thought it was cheery and fun.

  3. Glad to hear you are beginning to feel better both physically and emotionally:) Nothing like a good long hike with Hans running at the front to kick you back to reality:) Love the photo of the road runner and the quail:)

  4. Wonderful bird shots. How great to have them so close and willing to pose. But sorry to hear you had a cold. Grief and illness together is a lot to ask of anyone. What a fun looking restaurant. Love the decor. That and the great drinks would help with anything. Still, it sounds like Hans and Lisa providing such a wonderful hike really lifted your spirits. Love the picture of the gang. What memories.

  5. Beautiful indeed. Such spectacular views are sure to heal and revive. Thanks for sharing. I’m making notes of all wonderful places to visit. Be well.

  6. Hi! Read your blog today. Very interesting, especially the resuming of full time rving after a life changing event. We also just resumed our travels together after a life changing event. We are in our 6th year of rving and currently staying in Tucson. Our blog is harleyhawk43.WordPress.com

    Our home base is south of Boston in Marshfield/Scituate area. We travel with 2 Harleys, 2 bicycles and 2 kayaks in a 30 foot tag a long toy hauler. We are avid hikers. Would love to meet you guys. We will be at the BLM LTVA at Imperial Dam in Jan. and Feb.

    Hawk and Red Fox

  7. So glad to hear that you’re feeling better in every way, Mona Liza. You’ve been through a lot — how wonderful to have the loving support of Steve and a fun hike with good friends to lift your spirits. Your header photo of the Verde River Greenway is gorgeous! I’m glad you have your bird friends to make you happy, too — we’ve never managed to capture such a great photo of the roadrunner as you did. And it’s one of my favorite birds!

  8. The set-up of the Mexican place looks really really awesome! A lot of times, I tend to go to restaurants more so because of the settings and not the food itself. 😀 I love your creativity on the margarita shot.
    That reflection shot is whoa-insane too!
    Nice to hear you getting back on trails, and on the track. 😉

  9. Nothing like Mother Nature to soothe the spirit and heal physical ills. We stay at Dead Horse Ranch whenever we venture back to visit friends in Sedona. Although I wouldn’t want to move back to Sedona, I will forever be drawn to her beautiful red rocks and fabulous hiking trails. Great photos of some of my favorite birds.

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