Just doing this and that in Cottonwood, AZ

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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.


Next up:  Really Chillin’ in Prescott, AZ






Time for a good cleaning and a Happy Thanksgiving

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Road Runner
75 mph Speedlimit

Wow, we can zoom by here!  But no, we keep it around 55 all the time.  What’s our hurry?

After an exciting night at a Casino parking lot, we purged our water tank of the mineral water from Tecopa and continued on with Arizona as the next destination. The southwestern states were very much in our minds as we experienced a wet and cold summer in Alaska.  Every time it rained there we longed for the dry, sunny and mild winters which can be had in the southwestern states.  We longed to be in Arizona this winter to hopefully bask in the sun and stay dry.  Don’t get us wrong, we had a fantastic summer in Alaska, despite the almost-constant rain.  So after trekking southward for the past two months, we have finally arrived at the Grand Canyon State. AZ sign

Weaving thru the fringes of  Nevada and California, we  crossed into Arizona and immediately  “lost” an hour of our day.  Arizona is the only remaining state to not follow the Daylight Savings Time (DST) change.  That means it stays light out a little later, so it’s ok by us!

Our first stop was Bullhead City, located on the Colorado river across from Laughlin, Nevada (where the casinos are).  Arizona and Nevada are bordered by the Colorado River and we found the location of both cities (Bullhead City, AZ and Laughlin, NV) interesting.  When we crossed the Colorado River we either gained or lost an hour, depending on our destination.  So, if you live in Bullhead City and work at a casino in Laughlin, you must leave for work an extra hour early – bummer!  But ok, you also get home an hour early every night. Bullhead

Bullhead City was named for Bull’s Head Rock, an old landmark located along the Colorado River.  In the era of steamboat travel up the river, it was used as a navigation point.  Unfortunately, we did not see this rock formation as we were told the water has covered it and only a small, undistinguishable part remains.

RV Wash

It took these guys just over an hour to wash the coach.

But first things first.  This stop was mostly for Betsy.  The mud, bugs and grime from Alaska and Canada, coupled with a recent sand storm have accumulated over time, and she was very dirty.  Figuring that it probably wouldn’t rain on her again for quite some time, we thought this a good opportunity to do a top-to-bottom spick-and-span cleaning job.  At the Ridgeview RV Park we learned that a couple of guys from the local cleaning service would make a house call to our site and give Betsy a good scrubbing and washing. The cost was $100, far less than would be required to make Steve get out of his chair and do it himself.  We scheduled them immediately and the next day Betsy was looking much better.

Enter Steve…during the next three days he labored with the pleasure of protecting the roof and polishing the entire coach until Betsy gleamed like new.  Then he cleaned and lubricated all of the compartment doors.  In the meantime, my contribution in this beautification project was as the interior master-duster and wheel polisher (8 wheels – Steve said I did such a great job on the RV wheels that I could do the car wheels, too.  Whoopee!).  Finally, we cleaned all of the interior windows and removed the screens for a good washing.  Wow, the old girl looks like new!

This stop was also a time to reconnect with my cousins, Merla and Estela, who live in Bullhead City.  We met their families and spent an evening with them over a delicious Thanksgiving meal and some playing of Texas Holdem.  We also played the dice game LCR (Left-Center-Right), since it was a fairly large group.  If you want to have a simple game that is always a smash hit at a party, pick up this inexpensive game at a toy store – it rocks!

Before strong winds kicked up we managed to walk quite a bit, but got in only one decent hike.  On this hike I saw for the first time BeepBeep – RoadRunner.  I loved the cartoon about the adventures of the Road Runner and Wile E Coyote, so I got very excited, snapping pictures like a maniac.  Look, isn’t it cute!  This was the first time I had seen in person the bird that always outsmarted the hapless coyote.

After spending a very productive Thanksgiving week here it was time to move along to another place that we have heard good things about and been wanting to visit for some time – Lake Havasu and the London Bridge.  Stay tuned!