Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Onward and upward - Lone Rock Beach and Horseshoe Bend - heading to Utah

At the beginning of May I joined the WINs, (Wandering Individuals Network, An RV Singles Travel Club.)  They had been in Cottonwood while I was there and I sat in on some of their afternoon "circle" meetings where they talk about what they did that day and events planned for the next day. 
I have been thinking of joining for a couple of years, visited a few times as a guest and finally decided to join to see if I liked traveling with a group.  They have different "circuits" and members travel together for the entire circuit, or come and go, visit the locations they want, and wander off to see other things for a while.  No obligation, of course, and you can pick and choose which trips appeal to you during the year.  Some people are full-timers, others are part-timers.
The first place I went as a member was Lone Rock Beach in Utah, right over the border from Page, Arizona.  It's a National Park and we had to pay to camp there, but it's only $14 a night - and with the America the Beautiful Senior Pass, it's reduced to $7 a night.  You can camp in the dunes, on the beach, or up on harder packed  ground overlooking the beach.
Here's Lone Rock:
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From the National Park Service website:  No designated campsites. Open fires permitted, must be within four foot squared area. Quiet time 10pm-6am. 4 micro flush toilets, 6 vault toilets, 1 comfort station/wheelchair accessible, outdoor cold shower, Off Road Vehicle area, dump station, potable water (seasonal), and day use area. No launch ramp.  No reservations.
Below is a picture of the view out my window.  It was really pretty at sunset.
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On cloudy days, the colors were completely different:
Lone Rock on a cloudy morning [800x600]
A large boat pulled in and tied up on the beach in front of where we were sand-camping.
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Here's the same view of the boat and Lone Rock in the morning, with kayakers between them.  Shows the size of both the boat and the rock, and the morning colors: bright, clear and peaceful.
Lone Rock Large Boat and Kayakers [800x600]
Check this website for more information on Lone Rock Beach. 
The weather was perfect for a few days, then LOTS of wind, and then a little rain.  Very changeable.  On the windy day it was very hot, and the wind blew all day, with HUGE gusts of sandy wind that rocked The Palms on and off all day.  Some of the WINs took off in the morning to do some inside sightseeing and be out of the wind, some moved up to the harder packed overlook location and the rest of us just hunkered down inside with our doors and windows shut tight and our air conditioners on.  It was a weird day.  One of the men who left his RV for the day said that he left some windows open, totally forgot to close them, and he had inches of sand over everything inside his Class A motor home.  He's probably still finding piles of sand to sweep away.  I did pretty well, The Palms seems to be pretty air tight, so far dirt or sand in a windstorm or water in a driving rain doesn't get in if everything is shut tight. Thank you, Forest River!
While at Lone Rock, the group had lots of activities scheduled, as they always do, lots of hikes, sightseeing, restaurants, etc., and one of things I chose to do was visit Horseshoe Bend.  I've seen photos of it, and thought it would be fun to post my own pictures.  
It was close to where we were camped and such a beautiful day!  Lots and lots of people there, too. Here are a couple of the shots I took - I think this one is the best:
Horseshoe Bend 3 [800x600]
There was a short sandy hill to climb and when we got to the top, this is what we saw - a long gradual sandy trek down to the overlook of Horseshoe Bend.  We could see people lining the overlook from one side to the other.   We started down and joined the crowd.  Of course as we were walking I was thinking, Sure hope I make it back up!  Turns out I'm in better shape than I thought.
Horseshoe Bend - Looking down toward Horseshoe Bend in the canyon [800x600]
See the feet of the man standing close to the ledge in the photo below?  I thought these people were taking a risk, but I have to admit, I went pretty close and leaned a bit to get that first horseshoe shot without the side rocks in the way.  It feels much safer than it looks, but people do fall over into Horseshoe Bend.
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I had to get a photo of this girl - she was on a ledge in front of that rock - pretty darn close to the edge as her friends were taking her photo:

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Horseshoe Bend 7 [800x600]
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Lots of red rock here, just like at Sedona.
Here's a picture of the people we passed on our way back up to the top and over and down to the car.  If you look closely, you'll see a line of people starting with the ones you can easily see, then behind them, curving around and then back to the right. About 2/3 of the way across the skyline is a structure, and to the right you can almost see people cresting the hill.  Coming back up was quite a trek, but we made it.  Then we continued on down the sandy path to the parking lot.
Horseshoe Bend - Looking back up to the top of the hill on the way back to the car [800x600]
It was a great day; I was really glad I went.

From me and Katie, have a nice day, everybody!  Smile Surprised smile Disappointed smile Camera Rolling on the floor laughing

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Good-bye Cottonwood, we're gonna miss ya!

After leaving Sedona, Katie and I went back to Cottonwood to camp for another 14 days on Forest Land.  The Rangers have done a great job of policing these free camping areas, and the "homesteaders" who have been staying for months in one spot and leaving all their trash when they leave - well, they're GONE.  The campsites are clean and there are many more available vacant sites than there were before.   But because of all the problems some of these people caused, there is talk of them closing these local dispersed camping sites to RVers in the future.  :(

When I was in Sedona I was talking to a man camped nearby.  I mentioned that I needed to have Katie's teeth cleaned and it was going to cost me around $500 - and that's if she didn't need any x-rays or teeth pulled.  Since she's 11, they won't clean her teeth unless she has an exam and blood testing.  Katie is worth it, but really?  Minimum $500?  I called a number of vets in the Camp Verde and Cottonwood areas, and they were all around the same.

So when I was talking to this guy, he said he has never had his dog's teeth cleaned, and his dog was older, 14 I think.  He said he gives him those marrow bones that are available in the meat section of a lot of grocery stores.  The next time I went to town, I got Katie some at the Cottonwood Fry's grocery store.  Her teeth all looked good except her canines, the two fangs on the top - they were covered with plaque.  A month later, after giving her a new bone every few days, one of the canines is clean, and the other has about half the plaque gone, and hopefully it will all be gone soon.  Obviously I'm going to keep giving her those bones. 😏

Sure saved me a lot of money - and she loves them!

The cattle were grazing around our site again, and there were a bunch of new calves, one looked like it was only a few days old.  They were interested in our site and the fencing I used to put Katie in sometimes.  She watched carefully and barked at them when they got close to her fence.

These three were so funny.  They walked around the fence, looked over at each other, looked down inside, like they couldn't figure out what in the heck this little cattle pen was for and even worse, what's that weird red thing inside?  Obviously something for teeny-tiny cattle.  Look at their faces.  LOL

This little guy was very interested in the pen, and I finally went out and shooed him away when it looked like he was going to knock it down.

So then he walked over to my little chairs and started trying to eat the shoulder strap.  I finally had to shoo him away again.  They're really curious creatures and fun to watch.

Another critter - during a walk, I saw this pretty lizard:

Then one day Diana and I drove up to Jerome and walked around the town.  Below is the Jerome Grand Hotel up on a hill overlooking the old buildings.  Wouldn't it be fun to stay there?

We went into a shop called the Nellie Bly - Kaleidoscopes and Art Glass.  Some really beautiful things!  One of the sales women offered to take our photos with our phones - through a Kaleidoscope.  It made us part of the design.  If you look closely at the photo below, you can see me around the darker spots.  Like petals on a flower.  Just call me Petal, Sir.  LOL

When I'm spending a lot of time in the desert, it's such a gift to see (what I consider) REAL flowers, like in a regular environment.  Don't get me wrong, I love the desert and the yellows, purples, blues, pinks, etc. of the desert blooms, but what can beat a trellis that's covered with fragrant old-fashioned pink roses?  Not much!  They smelled so good, I wanted to eat one.

We walked past a shop that had vinegars and oils and I wanted to get something to dip French bread in, and to use for salad dressings.  The shop's called Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders.  The man behind the counter, Bob, came out and concocted a couple of different combinations for me.  I was expecting a piece of bread to test out the blending of oil and vinegar, but he mixed it up in a small cup and gave it to me to taste.  I cautiously sipped it - and then sipped again, and I ended up DRINKING it.  Wow, it was soooo good.

Then he asked us to look at the different flavors and choose another two, so I did, and he blended the second vinegar and oil.  It was almost as good as the first blend, and I bought all four.  These are the ones I got.  I haven't use them for dipping yet, but the salad dressing has been delicious, and I've even mixed a little of the blend with some other creamy salad dressings, and they were really good.

And that's about it for this area.  I've since moved on and will post about my new adventures soon.

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  😊❤😉😎

Hey, I just noticed, this is my 800th blog post.  Happy 800th birthday to Me and My Dog ...and My RV!  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Catching up... Sedona - 11. CATHEDRAL ROCK

This is the last Sedona post for this visit.  And this one was really fun - Diana had been here before and knew where to go and the right time of day for the best shots of Cathedral Rock.

After we parked the car at Crescent Moon Picnic Area Park, we followed a path to Oak Creek.  On the way, we saw this water wheel.  It wasn't working, but was in excellent condition:

Below is Oak Creek.  To get a good shot of Cathedral Rock in the distance, you have to walk across - the Red Rock Crossing - to the middle of the creek.  It wasn't deep, and was easy to walk across.  The only problem was the crevices in the rock that were filled with mossy green slippery stuff.  If you can step across them and land on the rock with each step, you'll be okay.  I had my camera - my NEW expensive camera - in my hand.  Super bad idea.  I was lucky I didn't slip.

We walked across this rocky slab to the area where the people are.  It then falls off and the water gets deeper, so we stayed on the dry slab area to get our shots.

Here's Diana walking across.  You can see how shallow it is:

Cathedral Rock is considered the primary VORTICE area in Sedona. (A VORTICE is a place believed to emit power.)

We waded back through the water, then went back to the path and continued on closer to Cathedral Rock.  Along the way we saw some gorgeous cactus blooms.

We continued walking until we saw a large field on our left.  We went out to the middle of the field and could see another great view of Cathedral rock.  The rest of these photos were taken from that field.

I noticed a bird sitting on a dead branch - can you see him on the right of the rocks with the blue sky behind him?

One of the women standing near us heard us talking about him, and did a look-up on her iPhone.  She said he's a Common Black Hawk.  He sure was regal sitting there on that branch, looking around.  There must not have been any good food scurrying around below him, because he sat there for a long time.

As far as information on this place, if you'd like to visit Crescent Moon Park and Oak Creek to get photos of Cathedral Rock from one of it's best vantage points, the best website I found is Firefall Photography.  The author does a spectacular job explaining the area, how to get there, where the best photos are taken, maps, coordinates, etc.  I wish I had found his website before I went to visit this spot.  If I go again, I'll definitely check back and re-read his information.

He also has some very nice photographs of Cathedral Rock.  I'm not happy with my photos - they aren't clear.  Hmm, new camera.  I need to learn more about the settings I guess.  :(

You'll need to pay for parking at the Crescent Moon Picnic Area Park, and then it's a very gentle walk to the best shooting areas.  I walked across the Red River Crossing of Oak Creek in my regular running shoes, and they dried nicely the next day.  If you have water shoes, bring them. 

This was a super fun excursion, and I really liked walking through the Red River Crossing - made me feel like a kid again!

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  😊😎😍😎😊

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Catching up... Sedona - 10. DOWNTOWN SEDONA SCULPTURES

First up is a little cutie-pie - not a sculpture.  He's a real dog who was walking along with his owner and we thought he was darling in his "doggles."  (Remember Katie's Doggles?  I'll post that photo at the end of this post.  I got them for super sandy/dusty wind storms so her eyes wouldn't get full of dust and sand.)  Anyway, apparently this little guy has eye issues, including not having working tear ducts, so he needs to have eye protection.  Doesn't he look like a character?  His owner picked him up so we could get a good shot.

As we wandered through the Sedona downtown area, we saw lots of interesting sculptures and other things that were blogworthy.

This first one looks like a little girl taking a photo of the sculpture, but she is part of the sculpture.

This little girl IS real:

And here's Katie in her doggles and sun visor - remember these photos?  January 2014.  She looked so CUTE!  She was a good sport.

From me and Katie, have a great day, everyone!  😎😍❤😍😎