Sunday, October 30, 2016

New friends in the campground, human and canine

Katie and I had so much fun in Sedona and Cottonwood.  The area is beautiful, the weather was perfect, and there weren't any bugs flying around to ruin sitting outside during the day or evening.  It was really nice.

We made new friends and did a lot of visiting.  One of my favorite new camping buddies is Steve:

Such a handsome boy!  Steve is quiet, super well-behaved and he loves to play.  He's really good at paying toss and fetch with either a ball or a stick.  He loves playing ball and played by himself in a way I've never seen before.  His owner, Dean, said Steve used to have a football he'd play with.  He'd put the ball between his legs and kick it back behind him with his front paws so it flew backwards.  Like he was "hiking" a football.  Then he'd run to get it and hike it again.  He didn't have the football, so he was hiking the tennis ball and running after it.  When he wasn't playing ball, he picked up sticks for us to throw.  He was so entertaining!

Dean and I were camped near each other in Sedona and when we moved to Cottonwood we met Dale, who was not far up the road from where we were.   We got lots of visiting in during the two weeks we were there.  Here's Steve with his dad, Dean, and Dale on the right.

Dean is a pretty active outdoors guy and went mountain biking and hiking and running in Sedona, always with Steve, who keeps up on 10+ mile rides. 

Dale does a lot of walking and sometimes stopped to visit on his way to or from the long road down to the river.  You can read Dale's Blog, My Trails, here.  He thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 2012 and posted about it starting here, April 2 and ending September 28, 2012.  

I'm reading the A.T. section of his blog and it's really interesting.  I've never known anyone who thru-hiked the A.T.  According to The Appalachian Trail Conservancy website, "Completing the entire 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in one trip is a mammoth undertaking. Each year, thousands of hikers attempt a thru-hike; only about one in four makes it all the way.  A typical thru-hiker takes 5 to 7 months to hike the entire A.T."  Impressive, right?   I'd love to undertake something like that, but on a MUCH smaller scale.  

So here I am meeting up and visiting with men who are really active - way above my activity level - and I think they may have put a fire under me.  Wouldn't that be nice?  I really need to get out and exercise more, but I have to say it helps to have a walking buddy.

Another new camping friend, who I actually met first, was John.  I met John and Dean when we were camped at Sedona in the Coconino National Forest.  After our 14 day limit was up, we all ended up moving to Cottonwood in the Prescott National Forest, so we had another 14 days there.  John was camped closer to the main road, and we visited him in his camp or he visited us in our area.  Sure was fun.

My last night at Cottonwood before heading south, John treated Dean and me to dinner in town.  We all had a great time; the company and food were both delicious.  Thank you, John!  

I just have to show you more pictures of Steve.  I took so many of him.  He'd go out into the desert and search out the perfect stick for us to throw.  Some were big, some were little - he'd chase after them all and return them for another throw. 

He never watched the stick, he'd keep his eyes right on the human's eyes.  

This was a long stick, it had more little branches coming off it that got knocked off after a few tosses:

Here's a little fat stick.

Waiting for the throw - so intense:

This was a good one - I'd love to see him try to bring this one through the door:

Waiting for someone to pick up his stick to play:

The other thing I got such a kick out of was when Steve would walk away from me.  The way his coloring is configured, his back legs and butt are black and his feet are white.  As he was prancing away and all I could see was his rear, it looked like he had black ballet tights on.  LOL - made me laugh every time.  I tried to get a good photo, but these kind of show what I mean:

Katie was really interested in this stick tossing stuff and wanted to play, but she also wanted to chew on the sticks which were really dry and brittle.  I didn't want her getting part of a branch stuck in her throat so I put her in the stroller.  Poor thing, mean Mommy, but Katie got to run around and chase her ball, too, and she had a good time.  I think watching Steve running around and having so much fun got Katie excited to do the same thing, and one day especially she was really running and playing with John and chasing her ball like her old self. 
So...  I'm hoping to meet up with all my new friends down the road.  Friday afternoon I left our camp and drove to Quartzsite to stop off on my way to San Diego.  More on that next time.

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Laundry in the desert - TMI?

Men are so funny - they have no problem hanging their "delicates" outside for all the desert walkers to see.  LOL  When I saw a laundry line stretching from an RV to a bush that was lined with men's shorts, I had to take a picture.  I did get permission to post it, but I'm not posting photos of the man.  You're welcome, sir.  :)

Two other interesting photos - first a tarantula in the next campsite.  I was glad he was over there and not close to me and Katie in our campsite.

Katie has been different lately.  This laying on the kitchen floor is so weird.  She always picks the couch, lays next to me on the dinette bench, or sits/lays in her carseat.  Lately she seems to like the smooth, cool kitchen floor.  It hasn't been that hot, so it's not a heat thing.  But I get a kick out of seeing her there.

That's it for now - just a quick post, and I only have a few more photos from this area which I'll post in a few days.  I'm leaving here on Friday.  My annual medical/dental/optical appointments in San Diego are on the books for next week, and I'll start heading that way Friday.

From me and Katie,  take care, everyone!   ❤❤❤

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mom! Help!

Well, we are in our final campsite before leaving for Quartzsite.  It's funny, I've been really looking forward to heading south and finding that perfect site in Q, but now that the time is coming up to head that way, I'm feeling nostalgic about this area.  The spring and summer between Camp Verde and Flagstaff, AZ has been so enjoyable.  Perfect weather, nice campsites, I've met some really nice people, and the months have flown by.  But it's cooling down now in Quartzsite, and in a week or so, we'll be leaving this area.

Yesterday I looked out the front window and saw a big black bull with a white face in front of The Palms.  I watched him for a while, then got busy doing other things.  Katie was sitting outside in her stroller, which she wants to do a lot lately, and a while later I heard heard her whining softly.  I looked out the window again, and this is what I saw:

I think the bull was getting a little too close for comfort.  I went outside and took a photo, then picked her up and brought her inside The Palms.  She loves sitting outside, will lay down curled in a ball and sleep, so she feels very safe as long as she's in the stroller.  But she didn't hesitate when I wanted to pick her up with that bull behind her.

It kept it's eyes on us until we were inside and then continued to graze around The Palms.

He came closer and walked around the back of the rig, getting pretty close.  These photos were taken  out the kitchen window:

I took this one below out the side window when he rounded the corner of the rig.  I'm sure going to miss these beautiful animals when we leave the area next week.  They really raise my desert camping experience!

I saw this walking stick - at least I think that's what it is - poking out from my wheel well in the back.  He's smaller than the others I've seen in this area, and he was multi colored.  He also has flat ends on his antenna.  They were a reddish color, and his legs were yellow and green. Really pretty.

I have some packages to pick up in town this afternoon - my Sirius radio has been giving me grief lately and I have a new one coming today, as well as my regular mail from my mail service.  I don't go to town often, but always look forward to a drive into town to break the day up.  All is well in Cottonwood.

From me and Katie, I hope all is well in your world, too. πŸ”†πŸ“«❤

Sunday, October 16, 2016

More early morning air balloons

Air balloons landing near our campsite a few mornings ago:

We are happily settled in a great campsite near Sedona, AZ.  It's peaceful and quiet here, and really dark at night, which is nice.  Except for the moonlight.  Yesterday evening we had the most beautiful full moon.  I just happened to look outside as it was peeking over the horizon, a huge orange moon.

I haven't seen a lot of birds in this area, but yesterday this guy landed on my truck mirror and settled into a tree right next to my window.   He was really interested in both my truck's side mirrors.  It looks like he has whiskers around his beak. 

This morning I woke up to the hot air balloon trucks driving past, going into the field near my site.  I looked out my bunk window and thought they were landing.  I snuggled back under my covers, but then I heard the sounds of the balloons being filled and jumped out of bed and grabbed my camera and went outside.

This is the first time I've seen them launch:

Can you see the flames in the balloon on the right?  There's a loud WOOSH sound when they do that.

There were four balloons, and they sure were beautiful up in the sky.  Such a gorgeous morning, and what a way to start my day!

I'm looking forward to another great day - and wishing the same to you! πŸŽˆπŸ•ΆπŸ˜Š

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dodged a bullet - whew!

Thank God I have a TPMS - Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  I got it at The Big Tent at Quartzsite a couple of years ago.  I have the kind that has batteries, and I can replace them myself.  I had two batteries that that needed to be replaced, but had let them go for a couple of weeks.  So...

Two days ago I'm driving between Cottonwood and Sedona, AZ in the "slow lane" and I start feeling thump, thump, thump from my rear passenger tires.  I slowed down and looked in the side mirror and saw something black flying out from the back of The Palms.  I thought I had a shredded tire.  As I was pulling off onto the side of the road, the drive was smooth again.  Weird.

I got out and checked the tires as well as I could on the side of a highway, and didn't see any issues.  So I walked back along the road looking for what came flying out of my tires.  I found a bunch of chunks of black rubber that were from a tire right about where I saw the flying black stuff, and I collected them.

After bringing them inside The Palms, I saw the top right piece wasn't from a tire, but the rest were.  I took them outside and compared the markings with my tires, and they didn't look the same as my tire markings.  Plus they weren't as dusty as my tires.

I drove slowly down 89A until I came to a place I could pull off the road and do a better check on the tires.  I couldn't find anything wrong, inside or outside, with the tires.

I also got out two new TPMS batteries and installed them.  One tire was fine, but the other was showing ZERO PSI.  It wasn't the battery, because if the battery is bad, the readout shows two dashes, and this showed "O" PSI.   That was pretty scary!  It was the inside rear dual tire on the passenger side.

I bought the tires at Discount Tire in Yuma, so I drove slowly back to Cottonwood to the Discount Tire store. Unfortunately they were closed since it was Sunday, and I drove on to Walmart to shop and noticed their tire store was open.  I drove up and they checked the pressure, and it was, indeed, empty of air.  They aired it up and looked at the tire pieces I picked up on the side of the road.  He said the pieces were from large big rig tires, so that was good!

I decided to spend the night in Cottonwood at the nearest dry camping spot - by Thousand Trails - a mile or two down the road.  The next morning the pressure in that tire had gone from 65 the day before, to 27 pounds, and I went back to Discount Tire and asked them to examine my rear tires for damage.  He took off the two passenger side tires and the inside one had a large bolt stuck in it.  He fixed the tire for me and then examined all four rear tires, which were good, put the proper PSI into each, didn't charge me a cent, and I was on my way down the road.  What a relief!

I'm back in the Coconino Forest again until my 14 days are up. Nice site, I've met a couple of nice people camped nearby, and everything is good again.  I'm SO glad I ran over that piece of big rig tire which caused me to stop, which caused me to replace the bad batteries in my TPMS sensors right then.  Who knows how long it could have been before I checked the tire pressure if I didn't have a TPMS.  I wouldn't have known my inside tire had a bolt in it, and had no air in it.  I could have ended up with a  blown tire going fast on a freeway, an accident, who knows?

Lately I've had some issues that were serious and had to be fixed, repaired, checked, etc. immediately for my safety and comfort.  It can be stressful when that happens.  You have to do what's necessary right now, but then when the problem is fixed, the sky is blue again, the sun is shining and all is well.  That's how I feel after getting the tire fixed.  And this time, it didn't cost me $$$!

I always think these kinds of things keep my mind sharp, too.  LOL

Below are photos from one of my sites in Cottonwood - first (no surprise) a cow having a munch lunch - she was grazing all over the place:

And one of those Walking Stick insects - this guy was really big.  I was leaving my site and saw him.  I didn't want to drive with him on my tire, and he wouldn't get off.  So I had to pick him up in the center of his long body and was surprised that he was really soft, like a little green worm.  I guess since he looked like a stick I was expecting him to have a hard body.

And finally the beautiful sky one evening as the sun was going down.  Sure do love these Arizona skies:

That's it for now - take care, everybody, and check your tire pressure!  πŸ’πŸ’

Friday, October 7, 2016

Cottonwood campsite photos

A few weeks ago I went to the Prescott Valley area for a couple of days and spotted a bunch of these critters - crickets? - on a wall.  Isn't he beautiful?

Here are some photos from my favorite campsite in Cottonwood. 

First my favorite - a Roadrunner.  It's funny - there don't seem to be many in any particular area, they don't hang out in flocks from what I've seen.  Sometimes I'm lucky and park right in their daily path from "here" to "there" and can see them right out my window, and other times I'm facing the wrong way to see them out the window, or I'm just not in the right place.  But whenever I'm in this site, I always see a roadrunner and here he is:

Hey, Barbara - you're back!

Look at how well he's camouflaged in these bushes:

Here's a view of The Palms with cloudy skies overhead.  This area has good hard ground and I wasn't worried about getting stuck here if we had a few days of rain. 

It was super hot this day, and the cattle that were grazing in our area were trying to find any shade they could get.  There are no large trees here, but they managed.

This one was pretty smart - it had quite a bit of shade earlier on, but is starting to lose it in this photo.  Then it was time to mosey on...

I love that in the desert things are so sharp, thorny, prickly, sticky, etc., but then when they bloom, the flowers are soft and beautiful.  These white flowers have always been a favorite of mine.  Absolutely pure white petals:

 This next plant had really pretty flowers, too.

There's so much to see if I take the time to walk around and notice.  And TAKE THE CAMERA!  Sometimes I forget, but when I miss something blog worthy, I make sure to bring it the next time.  LOL

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone!  πŸ’ŸπŸ’Ÿ

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A1 Mountain Road - driven out by the dust!

I wanted to check out the dispersed camping at A1 Mountain Road, and when we left Willard Springs, we headed there.  It's in the Coconino National Forest - 6.6 miles west of Flagstaff, off I40.   This is the road we came in on, and just pulled off to the left and stopped.  Easy, peasy.  Good road, and tons of flowers. 

It's nice that it's so close to Flagstaff.  I found a level, solar friendly site right along the main forest road, and I set up camp.  The weather was perfect and we settled in.  Then a huge lumber truck went past us on the road, in a cloud of dust - you can see in the photo above how close we were to the road. A while later he drove past us the other way, loaded with huge tree trunks.  This went on all day, for two days.  It wasn't terrible, but on Friday I was thinking, it'll be a calm, quiet weekend, then I'll see if I want to head on to other places.

(There are other roads running off this main road that I could have moved to, but honestly, I had just experienced two "oops" moments when I drove too close to a large round rock and damaged the step on The Palms, then a little later, brushed the corner of the roof past some small, leafy branches and got a little dent from a sharp branch that I didn't realize was so unmoving (it looked like some easy, leafy branches to swish past, which I've done many times), and I needed to stay on easy roads at this point.  Sometimes boondocking can be rough for a solo driver, constantly jumping in and out of the rig to check clearances, but both these times I didn't think I'd have a problem clearing the rock and the branch.  These things happen, and no permanent damage was done.)

We were parked in the middle of a field of flowers, and I picked some to put in The Palms.  I love having fresh flowers.  I hung them on the knob of my beautiful pantry door.  I'm collecting photos to blow up and hang on the walls of my future Park Model - this one might make the cut.  I love the way it looks:

Saturday morning started at 3:00 am, with traffic on the road.  It sounded like another big truck, but it sure was early.  I went back to sleep, and when I woke up in the morning and looked out the window, there was a line of pick-up trucks, some towing flatbed trailers, as far as I could see in either direction.  They were crawling along, no problem dust-wise, but when the traffic started moving, it became really dusty, of course.  I wondered what was going on!

After a while, trucks started coming back past us in the other direction loaded down with truck beds and trailers full of cut firewood.  Must have been the smaller pieces from the harvested tree trunks the logging trucks carried.  This went on most of the day.  I really liked our site and didn't want to move, and thought, tomorrow's Sunday.  It'll be quiet.  I kept The Palms completely buttoned up all day and night to keep the dust out.  The Palms is pretty tight, and I don't usually get dust inside unless I leave something open.  But it was a really nice day, and I wanted the door and windows open!

Sunday morning, I woke up and another pick-up truck drove by with a bed full of firewood.  Within 15 minutes we were on the road.   It's a good area to boondock, I think we were just there at the wrong time, and next time, I'll check out some of the side roads, which I know have lots of room for campers.

While we were there we had a Harvest Moon, and we had a perfect view right across the street from The Palms:

Onward and southward - we are now in the Sedona/Cottonwood/Camp Verde area, where we have two forests between the three locations.  That makes it nice - 14 days are allowed in one forest, then I can shop, dump the tanks, get water and propane and drive to the other forest for another 14 days.  That's the plan until - probably - November, when we'll head down to the Quartzsite area.  It should be perfect weather then and I'm looking forward to being in Quartzsite again.

Don't forget the VP debate tonight - I'm looking forward to it.

From me and Katie, have a great Tuesday, everyone!  πŸ’—πŸ’—