I went for a hike on The Bare Trail today. It goes for 3 miles through the “Clothing Optional” area here in Quartzsite. I’m wearing my backpack to get in shape for hiking more of the Arizona Trail.
It has been almost a month since I last blogged and a lot has happened in that time. I’m not going to go into long detail of everything I did in those weeks because it was with family – personal and interesting mostly to us. I just want to tell all my siblings, children, grandchildren, and every relative and friend that it was a wonderful time of bittersweet memories I will forever remember.
In February of this year, my Mom passed away in her home in Mesa, Arizona. All five of her children, along with Richards wife, Dianna, Daryl’s wife, Gisele, and Mom’s grand daughter, Heather, returned her ashes for burial in a small cemetery in Western New York where she grew up. It was a sad time of final goodbyes but a happy, nostalgic time of visiting all the places where we lived when we were young. After her burial, twenty five family and friends gathered at the lake house we rented to celebrate Mom’s life through remembrance of her.
My three children live within a few hours of Mom’s final resting place so I spent a few days with each of them. I first flew into Pittsburgh and stayed with my daughter, Karen and her husband, Damon. It was a wonderful time of being together again. They spent one night at the lake house and moved to a motel the next night. Poor Karen came down with a bug overnight and was sick the day of the burial.
While we were all gathered together in Cuba, New York, we drove around town and looked at places of our childhood – the house my Dad built, the homes of Grandparents, our school and hospital where Mom worked as a nurse, our favorite cheese store, and all the parks and fields and woods where we used to play when we were little.
The weather was cold and rainy but we found things to do every day. One day we visited Corning Glass and afterwords ate dinner at a favorite restaurant that featured many meals spiced with maple syrup. The time we spent together was very special. I can put it no other way. When we parted everyone wondered when we would all be together again. Mom was the tie that brought us all together, and things would change as we all went back to our dispersed lives.
After the lake house I spent a week with Jen and Louie in Franklinville, NY. It was a fun time catching up on their lives and seeing all the grandchildren again. Grandchildren grow up so fast that in just a couple years they change from kids to young men and young ladies. One afternoon Louie took me with him to the YMCA where we worked out on the exercise equipment. Afterwards, I got to watch grandaughter Lucy practice gymnastics with her club. She is really getting good at all those flips and balance manoeuvres.
I next spent a few days with my son David and his wife, Lisa. They have three precious little girls all under the age of 5. They are the sweetest things, but full of energy and ready to run circles around their tired Grandpa. One evening I took them out to Cracker Barrel, my favorite restaurant, and the next day we went to the Toy Museum near where they live in Rochester, NY.
After a whirlwind trip to New York, I am now taking it easy in Quartzsite, Arizona. It was wonderful to see and spend time with my kids and grandkids. I love them all very much.
I moved to Cherry Creek today. This area of dispersed camping is a lot nicer than Thousands Trails. There are only a few other RVs parked here so it is a lot quieter and cleaner. My friend John has been here for a few days and it was nice to hook up with him for a good visit. We will probably go walking tomorrow morning for some exercise.
The officials around the Sedona/Cottonwood/ Camp Verde area are closing some of the dispersed campsites down. It’s probably a combination of reasons why they are trying to move people out, but it usually comes down to a few people that spoil it for the rest of us.
This area seems to be a magnet for the homeless. A few years ago, homeless people were living in the Walmart parking lot and a confrontation actually ended in shots fired. The Walmart quickly put an end to any overnight parking.
The campground by Thousand Trails has also become a haven for degenerate types. All around the desert is trash left by people that are stupid or that just don’t care. Abandoned tents, pieces of junk RVs, broken chairs, and bags of garbage are just some of what litters the camping area.
I’m sure the RV parks in the area don’t like to lose the business, and some people don’t like the idea of even seeing RVs parked in a tourist area of scenic red mountains, but you can hardly blame the Forest service for moving people out that make a mess and destroy the land.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?