Monday, October 28, 2019

A Visit to Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Sedona, and the End of an Era

On the road again. Decent site at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

The week before last week we took the Lazy Daze a couple hours north to Cottonwood, AZ for a little vacation and some red rock hiking since we didn't go to southern Utah this fall. Plus it was Jim's birthday and I thought we needed to get away for a celebration. We were pleased that everything in the RV worked well after sitting in storage for five months, but it sure did seem small in there. We both marveled that we lived in it for 10.5 years!

We hiked several of the trails in the park and a couple others in Sedona. It was just as beautiful as we remembered from previous visits.

Dead Horse Ranch has three lagoons with trails surrounding them. It's a lovely area to walk.


We were about 20 miles from Sedona and found a couple of hikes we had not done before, the first being the Hi Line trail, located between the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona. This is one of many challenging mountain bike trails in the area, so we only saw a few bikers. We would have been pushing our bikes over much of it but it was a fairly easy hike after the initial climb. 

Looking back at Courhouse Butte and Bell Rock

We were heading towards Cathedral Rock

For a good part of the trail we walked and talked with a nice couple from Toronto who were on vacation for a few days in Sedona, then spending the rest of the week in Scottsdale, as they like to visit warm places. It was their first time in Sedona and they were impressed.

Some huge homes among the red rock

We got near the base of Cathedral and turned back for a 5 mile hike. You can also hook up with other trails for an 8 mile loop.

I couldn't talk Jim into seeing if we could climb it.

On Jim's birthday we went out to dinner in Cottonwood with an old friend and former coworker of Jim's from his days working with the state of FL in the Department of Corrections. We hadn't seen Frank in at least 15 years and had only once briefly met his wife Barbara. They were on a big RV trip from Tallahasse, where they live, to most of the western national parks. They had been at the Grand Canyon and Cottonwood was sort of on their way as they were heading back home, so they spent a night at Dead Horse Ranch to visit. We had a great dinner and conversation at Colt 804 Grill in Old Town. We were so busy talking I forgot to take photos.

The next day we hiked in west Sedona starting at the Andante trailhead, making a loop with the Sugarloaf Mtn trail, taking a detour to climb to the top of Sugarloaf. It's less than a 400' climb and up to just under 5,000', but it was still fun to climb a "mountain".

Views of Sedona from the top of Sugarloaf. We only saw a few other people on the trail.

After that we took a drive up into Oak Creek Canyon hoping to see some fall color. Unfortunately, we were too early. It's still a pretty drive, but traffic going through Sedona was awful.

So as strange as it feels to write this, that was our last trip in the Lazy Daze. Some of you may have read Box Canyon Blog's latest post where Mark talks about their new used RV, which will be ours. We just decided that we were done with RVing for now and did not want the hassle of maintaining a vehicle we weren't using much. Mark always said if we sold the Lazy Daze, be sure to let them know, so we did. They will be here tomorrow to pick it up. 

It's been a busy week of cleaning out and cleaning up. The Lazy Daze served us well as our home on wheels for over ten years, without a mechanical breakdown or tire blowout in all that time. It took us to places we never would have imagined and allowed us to meet so many people who became good friends over the years. It's been fun and we will miss it, but as Jim said the other day, if we miss it too much, there are many other RVs out there looking for a new home. 

If you happen to come to McDowell Mountain or the east Phoenix area over the winter, give us a shout. Fountain Hills is a lovely place to visit. We can even take you across the street to Fearless Kitty Rescue to meet some of our favorites. 😸

Chris loves to give hugs, whether you want them or not.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

RV for Sale (not ours) and a Day at the MIM

Yesterday was our 37th wedding anniversary so we wanted to do something to celebrate. As many years as we've been coming to Fountain Hills, other than to attend a concert we haven't visited the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix, about 20 miles from here. 

Over 7,000 instruments from 200 countries are displayed, and you get to listen to various instruments and music on headphones that are given out when you purchase a ticket ($20).

We got lucky as it was a quiet day at the museum. I read it can be a zoo when busloads of kids on field trips are there.

There were some very unique instruments on display.

Woodstock exhibit

Elvis memorabilia

Portion of the Italy exhibit

There are many rooms and galleries, so for over two hours we toured the downstairs and part of the US/Canada room upstairs. We took a break to head out for lunch at Mellow Mushroom Pizza, just a mile from the museum, and wandered around the High Street area after eating. We then returned to the museum to check out the rooms of the rest of the world. We got a bit bogged down with the Asian, African, and Middle East sections. By that point all the music was beginning to sound alike, and not at all pleasing to our ears, so we called it a day. It's a very impressive museum and worth the price of admission. To really appreciate it all would require multiple visits but we enjoyed what we saw and heard. It was fun to do something different for a change.

If anyone reading this is in the market or might know of someone interested, our friends Alex and Ellen are transitioning from a class A to a 5th wheel and are selling their motorhome. It's a very classy and well cared for 2003 42' Monaco Dynasty that is rigged out for serious boondocking, with a lot of extras and upgrades.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Last of ABQ and the Beginning of our New Life in Fountain Hills

Our new home, within walking distance of almost everything town has to offer.

Yes, we are alive and well and settling into our apartment in Fountain Hills, AZ. I've been meaning to do a blog post but it's been a busy time and there isn't really a lot to tell. I decided to write this because I followed a lot of full-time RV blogs over the 10.5 years we were on the road, and I was always struck by how most people just dropped out of the blogging world after they moved out of their RV. Now I fully understand, since most of what we've been doing is not really blogworthy, but I was always curious about how they made the transition since I knew we would be doing the same one day, so here is the short version of our past couple months, in case anyone is interested.

But first, a few more photos from our house/catsitting gig in Albuquerque. We loved the location of the Sandia Heights neighborhood we were in but didn't get a warm fuzzy feeling about Albuquerque in general. It was still a good three months living in a lovely house, with tolerable temperatures, and very sweet cats.

We miss Luke and Keira. They were both such fun to have around.

On some of the days when temps got near 100 we were happy to drive less than an hour up to 10,000' Sandia Crest for a cooler hike.

Very scenic views from our last hike on the Crest trail

New restaurant "Ten 3" that opened a couple days after we left

Our first housesitting experience was a good one, and it's something we will most likely do again in the future if we can find one in the right location.

Waiting for us next to the garage when we pulled up one day.

We left Albuquerque on August 16th just after the homeowners returned from Italy. They kindly invited us to stay another night but we were anxious to move on and get settled in our new apartment, despite the fact that it was still triple digit heat in AZ. We spent a night in Show Low,  a fun evening of margaritas and dinner with some Jojoba Hills friends on our way to Fountain Hills. 

Unlike some fulltime RVers, when we left Pensacola in October 2008 we didn't keep anything that would not fit into the car or Lazy Daze, so furnishing an empty apartment was a daunting task. Since our friends Terry and LuAnn were already living in the apartment next to ours, they got our key so we could have a few things delivered before we got there. We were so glad we did that since at least we had a reclining loveseat and mattress and were able to spend the first night there in relative comfort. The following day we went to the Lazy Daze and grabbed a few things from the kitchen, then began the long process of shopping for everything else. If anyone is in the market for a mattress, so far we are very happy with the soft hybrid one we ordered from Amore.

Besides hours spent in furniture stores, we also did a lot of internet shopping, mainly on Amazon. Of course, that meant assembling everything since things came boxed. We got pretty lucky and most of what we ordered was not too difficult to put together, except for some patio furniture we bought locally, which we returned in mid-assembly due to missing parts and various other issues.

Below is the anatomy of a dining table and chairs. It wasn't the easiest to put together due to the number of pieces, and the seat frame of one of the chairs was cracked. Amazon's offer was to return it (they would send someone out to pick it up and we would not have to box it back up), or they would pay to have it repaired if possible. I really liked it and they would not have a replacement for a few weeks, so Jim found a local handyman who came out and fixed it in a day for $25 and Amazon gave us a credit. They got off easy.

Here are some recent photos of the apartment which is now mostly furnished. The rest are things we can live without for now.

The bedroom is still a work in progress

Went from barely 12 inches of counter space in the RV to now over 12 feet but I'm not complaining.

Decided to go with "only" a 55" TV since the living room is not that big. It seems huge!

Our balcony, which has been getting more use now that the mornings and evenings are cooler. Fearless Kitty Rescue is the building with the red awning on the right just across from us.
We have a little view of the lake and fountain when it's going off.

We also have a front row seat for events along the Avenue. This was the high school homecoming parade. Next up is Halloween in the Hills, which might be more entertaining.

So other than working on furnishing the apartment, we've been walking early in the mornings when it's cooler, working out at the gym, volunteering at least a few times a week at Fearless Kitty Rescue, and Jim getting some minor medical issues taken care of. We're enjoying living here so far. It's great having Terry and LuAnn next door, and Alex and Ellen showed up early at the nearby RV park a few weeks ago, so with friends around it feels like home here already. 

There are many sculptures around town.

The community center and library are just a couple blocks away.

Very nice library. We haven't been to the museum yet.

Great views from the Lake Overlook trail.

Monsoons were sparse this summer so the desert is quite brown.

Unlike the park around the lake that gets watered with reclaimed water.

Some of the locals out strolling down the street one morning,

In case you were worried, yes we have cat photos.

Beautiful Sibbi got adopted despite having some stomach issues.

New Mexico kittens. The shelter in Las Cruces was out of space so Fearless Kitty took some. Pictured are Taos (on the floor), Santa Fe (black and white), Soccoro and Belen. There were 5 but Las Cruces got adopted.

Jim is holding Chris, who has been adopted twice and returned, not due to anything he did. It shouldn't take long for him to find another home since he is very sweet and affectionate.

Dodge loves laying in whatever box he finds.
Even if he barely fits.

It's a challenge cleaning the kitten rooms. They run to the cabinet and try to get in as soon as we open the door.

So that's about it for now. The Lazy Daze survived the summer in storage but the house batteries did not, so we replaced them a few days ago and all is well. In a couple weeks we are planning a little trip to Cottonwood to see if we still remember how to do the RVing thing. Stay tuned.