Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Sad Day


We are currently at Windsor Beach Campround in Lake Havasu State Park. We stayed here for a couple weeks last November and really liked it, so we decided to come back on our way to southern California. We are actually in the same beautiful site on the lake that we were in last year. Too bad Arizona raised the state park rates from last year, so we are paying $18 instead of $15 per night with no hookups, and they aren’t doing the Pay 5 nights, Get 2 free, like last year, either. And we barely have an internet connection.

Unfortunately, Debbie’s dog Elton was having more trouble breathing and getting weaker the past few days, so she had to take him in yesterday and do the inevitable. That is always such a gut wrenching decision for those of us who love our pets like children. At least he is no longer suffering, and we have fond memories of him. We’ll miss you, Elton.The couch will never seem the same without you.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ


Spent the past two nights at Canyon Gateway RV Park in Williams, AZ, 58 miles from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. The weather was looking iffy, and we weren’t sure about the campgrounds in the national park, so we just decided to stay here and take a day trip to the Canyon. This is another Passport America park, with tax we are paying a little over $21 a night for full hookups. We can see I-40, but we’re far enough off the highway for the noise not to be an issue.

The weather looked decent yesterday, highs in the low 50’s, cloudy, but no rain, so we drove to Grand Canyon National Park. This must be a fairly slow time there, as we encountered very little traffic, and tolerable crowds, mostly foreign tourists.

We were dressed for the cold this time, so we hiked a few miles west along the RIm Trail, with mostly cloudy skies, but as we walked back, the sun came out for a little while. It is truly hard to describe the vastness of the canyon, the colors, the beauty. I’ll let a few photos do the talking.











We also had a very productive wildlife viewing day. One big horn sheep, a herd of elk, birds, and lots of these rock squirrels, which I read are the most dangerous animal in the park. We watched a poor woman getting harassed by one as she tried to eat. They just about climb up your leg if they think you have food.


This sheep was eating the shrub, then would walk to the edge and look down like it was thinking of going there. It finally just sat down to rest.



This elk herd caused a big traffic jam.


This Western scrub jay would never turn around. Jim isn’t a very patient photographer, so many of his animal photos are of the back side.


It was a short day at the Grand Canyon, but we had fun, scoped out the campgrounds, and definitely want to go back and stay in the park the next time.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Park, AZ


We spent the past 2 nights at Root 66 RV Park near Holbrook, AZ to visit Petrified Forest National Park. This may be one of the worst RV parks we’ve stayed at yet, due to the close proximity to I-40, and just the overall look of the place. But it is the nearest campground to the national park, and they honor the Passport America discount, which made it $14.50 per night for water and electric. This was our view yesterday, but we moved to a site behind the falling down old motel, which got us away from the road noise that kept us awake much of the night. This is one place we won’t stay at again.


We thought the rain and thunderstorms we had our last night in NM were going to be past us by yesterday, but we were wrong. Since we knew we couldn’t tolerate another night here, we drove to the Petrified Forest yesterday afternoon, anyway. Too bad it wasn’t sunny, because it would have made for nice photos.
The national park encompasses two large areas, the northern section being the Painted Desert, and the southern section is the Petrified Forest. We first stopped at the Visitor Center, then began the drive through the Painted Desert.


We hiked a trail which led to the Painted Desert Inn, originally built in the early 1920’s, and restored several times over the years. It is no longer a working inn and restaurant, but was declared a National Historic site in 1967. It is a lovely building with wonderful views.


Unfortunately, we got rained on walking the trail back to the car, and the temperature dropped to 52. Since it looked like rain when we left, I ‘m not sure why we didn’t think to bring our rain gear, but we didn’t. Wet, cold jeans are not the most comfortable thing to be wearing, and they don’t dry out very quickly.
Continuing on the scenic drive, we came upon a tribute to Route 66, which used to run through the park. The line of telephone poles is where the road once was.



We also got to see the ruins of Puerco Pueblo, and lots of petroglyphs, probably done by the Anasazis anywhere from 300 - 1,200 years ago.


This is Newspaper Rock, containing hundreds of petroglyphs on a huge rock.


Our favorite was this one on the trail sign, but we couldn’t find the original on the rocks. Is it depicting a stork bringing a baby to it’s mother, or a big bad bird stealing the baby away from her?


The rain let up and the sun started peeking through a little bit as we made our way into the Petrified Forest. We stopped at several trails but didn’t go far since it was so cold and we were so wet. In fact, Jim and Debbie stayed in the car most of the time while I went out to take pictures. I must admit, I didn’t think I would find the petrified trees so fascinating, but I was truly amazed.


This is a petrified tree bridge, which was reinforced with concrete many years ago.


Chunks of petrified wood were just scattered about everywhere. The process of the trees turning to fossils took place about 225 million years ago.





The rest of these pictures were taken from the Crystal Forest trail. The crystals in the centers of the trees were incredible.








We definitely want to come back here again on a sunny day, as there was so much more to see. We’re heading off for Williams, AZ this morning, for a quick visit to the Grand Canyon.
I also found this plant off one of the trails. I spent way too much time doing a Google search trying to identify it, but to no avail. If anyone reading this post is familiar with it, I’d appreciate you letting me know.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Still at Bluewater Lake, Prewitt, NM


It’s been a quiet week at Bluewater Lake State Park, just what we needed after two weeks in the big city of Albuquerque. It took a couple days of cleaning the rig inside and out to get rid of all the dust we accumulated there.

We’ve been taking walks around the lake, looking for the horses we saw here last year, but so far we’ve only seen them on the other side at a distance. The weather has been lovely, low 70’s during the day, but low 30’s at night, as you would expect at 7,400 ft elevation.


We took a drive to El Malpais, near Grants, NM, which we also visited last year. This time we went on the west side of the park, which wasn’t as pretty as the east side. We did a 3 mile hike to El Calderon, an old volcano, and got to see several lava caves and sink holes. It is pretty desolate country.



Yesterday was Jim’s birthday, just one more year until he qualifies for the Senior Access Pass and half price camping at national recreation areas. There has to be some good in getting old!

Our Birmingham, AL Lazy Daze friends, Don and Dorothy, arrived here yesterday on their way to Albuquerque from a 4 month trip to the Pacific Northwest and California. I invited them and Debbie over for dinner to celebrate Jim’s birthday and we had a very nice evening. They even pretended to like my vegetarian taco salad and fat free no-crust pumpkin pie.

Besides Jim’s birthday, October is our month of celebrations, the 9th being our wedding anniversary (#28!). We went out for an excellent pizza at Boston’s in Albuquerque with our old friend Debbie and our new friend Bill, another full time Lazy Daze owner. He has a brand new 2010 Lazy Daze rear bath model with the new paint job. We were impressed, but it doesn’t look like the Lazy Daze we’re used to.


And October 6th was our 2 year anniversary of being homeless vagabonds. It is really hard to believe we’ve been on the road that long, and we don’t foresee settling down any time soon. It’s been too much fun and there are so many more places we want to see.

I forgot to mention this unique RV that pulled in the other night. We initially thought it was the Beverly Hillbillies, but soon realized it was a really interesting looking rig. The first thing they do is hang a sign on the post, I’m guessing to keep from having to answer the same questions over and over again.


It was the most unusual RV we’ve ever seen.


The turrets raise up for the bedrooms. There is a working water wheel and a spiral staircase to the roof. They are traveling entertainers, he has a blacksmith shop on board, and they tell stories as he works. Here is their website for more info. Some people are so creative!