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Published on October 11, 2017, by admin in Adventure.
I sat by this pond on evening hoping to see wildlife come to drink. I may have been too noisy.

I sat by this pond on evening hoping to see wildlife come to drink. I may have been too noisy.

I’m back in Cottonwood for a few days. I really enjoyed the two weeks I spent in Payson, but I felt it was time for a change. That’s the nice thing about living with wheels. When you want a new view or neighborhood, just pack up and find a new place to stay.

Remembering the family lost in the flash flood. Only two miles from my camp.

Remembering the family lost in the flash flood. Only two miles from my camp.


Payson was almost perfect in temperature. The nights were a little cool sometimes but the days were usually great motorcycle riding weather. I rode several back roads around town and near Star Valley to places I have stayed before, mostly to check on cell signal with my new carrier, and also to see how many had found my secret campsites.
I was only five miles from Walmart so it was quick for supplies, and I found a water spigot just three miles from my camp.

When Richard and Dianna took me to explore new places to camp we ruled out the spot I ended up staying because the road looked to rocky to drive my rig on. When I arrived later I decided to check the road again. I got out and walked back to a beautiful secluded site beyond the bad section of road. As I looked the road over I realized that straddling a couple ruts and dodging a couple rocks would get me back with no problems. It was easy as pie!

McDonalds waitress.

McDonalds waitress.

I stopped at McDonalds for lunch today on my drive to Cottonwood. They had several workers there helping people use the kiosk to order. She offered to go through it with me so I said OK. It’s a little different than I thought, because you order, then take a GPS device with a number on it, and they bring the food to your table. I don’t see how this will be more efficient because now they have to have workers bring the food to your table. It seems like all the retired people there felt the girl running the food was their waitress, and they would ask for extra supplies which they could have picked up at the condiments counter. It seemed like it took longer to get my food, too.

The trip from Payson to Camp Verde always makes me think of my hike on the AT. You start at the bottom of the Rim, drive 2000′ up to the top, then come back down the same side to the same elevation. There should be a road that goes straight across. The AT was like that in places, too, making us climb the mountain and come back down the same side. We would always exclaim, “Come On!!!”

There are a couple people here in the Cottonwood area that I know. I may look them up tomorrow.

 
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Published on September 24, 2017, by admin in Adventure.
Nice campsite!

Nice campsite!

I’ve been almost a week in the Coconino National Forest, 40 miles north of Payson, Arizona. It’s a beautiful area of tall pines and grassy meadows, situated at 7000′, high on the Mogollon Rim. The best part about the area is that it is only two miles from Richard and Dianna, and it has been great to see them after a summer traveling in the far north.

The monsoons seem to be over so we have not had any rain since I’ve been here, but this step into Autumn has brought some chilly nightime temperatures. I have had three nights that have dropped below freezing, and a jaw-dropping reading of 18 degrees this morning.

19 degrees

19 degrees

It has been quite a bit warmer at Richards home two miles away. He is a little more protected than I am and lives in a small community. I am in an open meadow that sits in a valley of sorts. Even with the difference in topography the variance of our readings has me wondering if my thermometer is accurate. We may do a double-blind test with our instruments tonight to get to the bottom of this.

At any rate, I know it was cold last night. My furnace came on several times in the night even though I have it set at 50 degrees. When I checked outside this morning, the water in my solar shower was half frozen and the tube running down from my roof was solid ice. I’m thinking that tomorrow I will migrate a few miles lower in altitude to save on my propane bill.

With Richard and Dianna working and making trips to the Valley for Dr. appointments, it’s been a challenge to spend a lot of time together. We have gone out to eat a couple times, and of course Dianna makes delicious meals when I’m up there. We are taking a trip to Payson this afternoon to check on some camping places and find a restaurant to share a meal. I’m looking forward to it.

I like to blog at each place I stay to keep a record of where I’ve been. It seems like the older I get the harder it is to remember what I did two days ago. Why is that?

 
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Published on September 16, 2017, by admin in Adventure.
A cave in the forest.

A cave in the forest.

Mile long cave

Mile long cave

I have been camping in the Coconino National Forest for a few days. I knew from reading blogs that three friends I met last winter were in the area of Flagstaff, so when I arrived in town I emailed John to see if I could drop by for a visit. He replied back that he, Nancy, and Jeanne were all camped north of Bellemont, about 10 miles west of Flagstaff. He said there was lots of room where they were staying, and to come on out and camp with them.

It has been nice to see them again. We go for walks in the morning and catch up on all the news of places we have been this summer. Yesterday, John drove us all to McDonalds at the end of the road where we all enjoyed a breakfast. They have been saving their receipts and going online for a coupon for free food. I thought you would have to give out your email address but they said no.

This afternoon I drove 8 miles north of here to a lava tube cave. The Lava River Cave is almost a mile in length. It has not been improved in any way, and in fact the forest service tries to remove any trash or graffiti left by humans. It is really kind of a nice place to go.

Because it was a Saturday, there were many people there to hike the cave. There is only one entrance to the cave so everyone has to walk two miles to do the whole length. The entrance is quite technical with large, jagged, slippery boulders, where you scramble down a steep slope for about 50 feet. Then the cave levels out for the rest of the way. There are still piles of rocks to climb over that sometimes roll around under your feet, and low ceilings that don’t move if you forget to duck. Ouch!

Picture in the cave.

Picture in the cave.

A lot of the walking is on a floor of bubbles, seams, and lava flow, turned to rock. It is quite easy to twist an ankle or lose your balance in the dim light of a headlamp. I saw a few kids that moved too fast over the uneven rock, trip and fall.

As I traveled further back into the cave, the crowds thinned and there were even times when I was all alone and out of flashlight flicker from people ahead and behind. When I reached the end of the cave, there was a group of young people playing band instruments. I not sure what kind of celebration they thought they were doing, but to each his own. The noise ruined the affect for me.

I was pretty tired by the time I got back to the entrance. I had already walked 4 miles that morning, and the additional two of the cave left my legs pretty rubbery. I would like to do it again someday when there were not so many people.

Cave entrance.

Cave entrance.

I’m going to leave in a couple days and travel down near Richard and Dianna. They are leaving to travel to Texas in a couple weeks and it will be nice to see them before they go. Then it will be time to find a lower altitude to camp – it has been down to freezing the last two mornings! Brrrrrr!

 
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Published on September 13, 2017, by admin in Adventure.
Monument Valley

Monument Valley

After a relaxing two weeks in the Monti-LaSalle National Forest above Moab, I have moved further south into Arizona. I’m presently camped at a free campground in the Navajo National Monument about 30 miles west of Kayenta, Arizona.

I really liked the camping spot I found in the Monti LaSalle National Forest. My site was secluded and pretty, I had a stream nearby for cleaning and washing, I had some shade trees behind my RV, and I got pretty good cell signal.

There were also a couple of things that were not nice. Even at 7500′ the weather was warm in the middle of the day. I would take walks early in the day or late in the afternoon and sit in the shade through the hot part of the day. The road up the mountain was under major construction, so to miss long waits for the pilot car, I had to time my trips to town during the weekend. When I left camp yesterday, I drove to another forest road past the construction zone after all the workers had parked their yellow machines and went home. I parked just before dark and left early this morning.

When I drove the road to Navajo National Monument I noticed several vehicles parked alongside the road and the people crawling around under the trees. This morning as I waited for more construction, I asked the flagman what they were doing. He told me they were gathering Pinyon Nuts. I didn’t Google it to see if he was right, but he said the trees only bare nuts every few years. They roast and sell them along the road for pretty good money.

 
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Published on August 31, 2017, by admin in Adventure.
Still warm at 7500'

Still warm at 7500′

Harper holding Olivia

Harper holding Olivia

Lily holding Olivia

Lily holding Olivia

I traveled south from Idaho and and spent the night in a town park near Burley. The park had hookups for $25, which was nice because it was hot and I could run my A/C.

The next day I drove to a campsite in the Cache National Forest. Unfortunately, my favorite spot was taken so I parked in a site across the road. If my site was open, I would have stayed a few days.

The next day I drove further south to Strawberry Reservoir and found a nice place to camp for a few days. I stayed at the reservoir for a week and then drove to Salina and found a campsite high on a mountain road in the Fishlake National Forest. Fishlake was just another overnight stay.

As I set up camp I noticed a smell of propane. Further investigation found that my propane regulator was leaking. I shut off the tank, removed the bad regulator, and transferred most of my food into my 12 volt fridge. I have had three propane regulators go bad since I bought Minnie. I think I will carry a spare from now on. That’s one way to make sure it never fails again.

The next morning I drove to Moab, Utah. I found a new regulator in a little farm and home store. It was twice as much as the last one I bought but little else could I do. I headed south of town to find a campsite in the Monti-LaSalle National Forest where I could install the new regulator.

About half way up the mountain I ran into construction. I had to wait 15 minutes for the pilot car and then drive 10 mph for 6 miles of construction. The road to my favorite campsite was blocked off, so I went down another road until I found a place to camp. I will be here at least through the weekend.

You can tell by my travels that I like national forest campsite. This time through I have not had good luck finding a place to stay. A few times I have passed up a previous camp because I had no Verizon where I had AT&T before. One place had washed out roads that left me leary of driving down. But most of the good campsites have been occupied by a trailer left to reserve it like a summer home. It’s not fair to take a good campsite and not be there except on the weekend. I want to make a sign to tape to the door of these rigs:

WARNING!!! THERE HAVE BEEN BREAKINS OF TRAILERS LEFT UNATTENDED IN THE FOREST IN THIS AREA. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TRAILER FOR VANDALS TO DESTROY YOUR PROPERTY!!!

 

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