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Published on May 13, 2014, by admin in The Great Outdoors.

Last week I drove north into the Coconino National Forest to visit Richard and Dianna where they are volunteering at the Blue Ridge Ranger Station. Dianna has been in Texas helping Dayna start a new business so I won’t get to see her until next week.

It was good to get out of the heat of Mesa but I didn’t expect it to be quite so cold only two hours from the Valley. Once I climbed the Mogollon Rim and gained a few thousand feet in elevation, the temperature dropped from the 90’s into the 70’s. That would have been fine except that twice last week a cold front came through, bringing cold winds, morning and evening temperatures in the 30’s, and even snow on the ground one morning. Even though there have been some cool days, it is nice to get back into the forest. I can only take so much desert.

Richard and I had fun riding our two-wheel toys around the area. The first night we rode ten miles to Long Valley where Richard treated me to an AYCE fish dinner at the local diner. It was really good! I was afraid we would be eating things like canned food and TV dinners while Dianna was away but we put our heads together, shared our food, and made some good meals. And we even cooked and ate vegetables, Dianna!

While Richard was at work and the weather was warm enough, I would hike and explore on my motorcycle. I found some beautiful camping spots on some of the back roads. It would be nice to come back and boondock out in the forest the next time I’m out this way, but the major drawback is that there is no ATT cell service anywhere near here. I have been in lots of areas where I can’t get a signal but it is one of the plusses I look for for extended camping spots.

On one day we hiked a few miles on the Arizona Trail. We found a parking lot on a back road about five miles from the ranger station and placed one vehicle there. Then we hiked back to our home base where I hopped on my bike and retrieved the van. It was a pretty hike through nice forest with good trail.

Richard should write a blog about his work up here. It is really quite interesting to those of us who have little knowledge of how the forest service works. I was surprised at the complexity and work it takes to administer and care for our national forests. I won’t go into detail about the projects he has been involved in in hopes he will tell you himself.

Yesterday I left the ranger station volunteer parking area and drove to the Apache- Sitgreaves NF. I have been parked by R&Ds trailer with an extension cord running to their pole, enjoying my electric heater and water from the tap, but I wanted to check out some camping places east of Payson on the Mogollon Rim. We both drove down to Payson, got our fast-food fix at McDonalds, did some grocery shopping, said “see you in a week”, and drove seperate ways.

There is a road that cuts along the top of the Mogollon Rim – not surprisingly called the Rim Road – with several developed, free campsites. Right now it seems I am camped on top of the world. Only 25 feet from the edge of a thousand foot ledge it is truly a room with a view. I have good cell and the view is amazing but the wind today has been cold so I have been inside a lot. Sometimes it is good to stay inside and write something.