Rolling for Wasaga

After leaving Holbrook we had planned to go up to Canyon de Chelly for a few days on our route home. As we headed across I40 towards Chambers where we planned to turn north we drove into a snow storm. After a short discussion we decided to just stay on I40 and head for home as it would be colder up at Chinle.

Our destination the first night was Tucumcari, NM and from there we planned to get off the interstate and head north. We spent the night at the Flying J in Tucumcari after fueling. I prefer to fuel at the truck stops and use the highway truck islands as there is no issue then with space to turn.

The next day we headed up Hwy 54 through the corner of Texas, across the Oklahoma panhandle, across Kansas (no tornados, no Dorothy) and through the north-west corner of Missouri and into Iowa. We stopped at the Pilot just north of Osceola for the final fuel stop. We had planned to overnight here but then saw the casino just up the road. We moved there and parked for the night in their parking lot. They also have an RV park which is 10$/night with full hookups.

We went into the casino for dinner. The food was great at the bar and the price was even better. 🙂  We decided to risk a whole 5$ on the slot machines after eating. The first machine ended up paying me $34.50 for my $0.50 bet. I had no idea how that happened as I just pushed all the buttons and waited. Thought it had gone into some demo mode. In the end we won nothing else and left the casino up 10$ with dinner and slot machines paid by the casino winnings!

The next day was Sunday and we planned to get through Chicago and into Canada. After being on 54 we were spoiled by the roads. The two-lane highways are much better thn the multi-lane ones. Pretty sure I lost some fillings out of my teeth heading around Chicago. It’s getting hard to find roads I don’t mind driving on. We took this route to avoid the turnpike in OK that bounces the trailer in the air and I75 south of Detroit that just beats the whole rig to death.

At some parts I just drove in the left lane which was smoother and left it to those behind me to figure out how to get past me.

The border crossing at Sarnia was easy and fast. We had been worried about the extra booze we had on board but all they were concerned about was firearms.

Once we crossed into Ontario we were on one of the smoothest roads of the whole winter! I figured I’d drive as far as I was comfortable doing. That ended up all the way home where we arrived at about 11:30pm after leaving Osceola at 7:00am.

Another winter away in the southwest is in the books. Bring on summer and fun on the water!

Holbrook, AZ

We left Cottonwood and headed to Holbrook via Hwy 260 & 87. This entailed climbing up to a much higher elevation where there was snow on the roadside. No cell coverage up in this area so you don’t want to be having issues. All of the campgrounds through this route were closed for the winter as were all the forest roads.

After arriving in Holbrook we booked into OK RV for two nights with the GoodSam discount. Dinner that night at Romo’s for Mexican was great. Good prices and lots on the plates.

We went the next day to Petrified Forest National Park. We drove to the southern entrance with the plan to drive through and out the north gate. There is a ton of petrified wood in the area as you drive to the park along 180. All the places want to sell you some but we don’t need more stuff in the house.

The park is very interesting and the short hikes through the petrified wood locations give you a close up look at it all.

As we moved towards the north end of the park the Painted Desert colors became more noticable. We spotted some Pronghorn antelope.

There are also petroglyphs that can be seen as well as the remains of a Puebloan settlement.

 

 

Cottonwood, AZ

After leaving Congress we made our way to Cottonwood, AZ so that we could explore the Verde Valley and area including Sedona, Jerome & Prescott. We chose the boondocking location on E Thousand Trails Road. It was quite busy when we arrived but we found a spot in the upper section.

That’s our trailer in the red circle.

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This location is open cattle range so most mornings we had cattle moving through the area eating away. There was also a hot air balloon that came over most mornings doing sunrise balloon tours.

We made a visit to Jerome which was at one point a copper boom town. It then went into a period of decline before being reborn as an artist and tourist town. The buildings look to be in the process of rebuilding and reconstruction. Some are completed and well done, quite a few still need work. We took the time to watch a glass blowing demonstration at one artists studio. Very interesting and the artist was great at describing his art and what he was doing as he created the piece.

We made a trip to Prescott one day and took the route down I17 and in 169 on the way there. The old downtown section was nice to walk around with a lot of art galleries and native craft stores. We looked but didn’t buy anything. We did have wings and beer at Prescott Brewing Co though. Have to make sure we support the local beer economy. 🙂 On the way back we (probably more me than Jane) decided to take the direct route to Jerome which took us up over the mountains. We managed to run into a blizzard during the trip.

Historic downtown Cottonwood is a nice area to walk around and like pretty much all the towns in the area it is aimed at the tourists with art galleries and other stores. We met up with my brother Peter and his wife Patricia in town. After walking around we ended up at the Tavern Grille for craft beers and appetizers (seems like the standard thing to do after walking about 🙂 ).

We made a number of trips into Sedona to go hiking. The actual town area was too much of a tourist trap for us to spend much time there at all, although we did walk around just to see what was there. Quite a few places with healing crystals, vortex info and various healing mumbo jumbo stuff.

The hikes we did were Soldiers Pass/Brins Mesa, Fays Canyon, Airport Mesa/Airport Loop, Midgley Bridge/Huckaby & Wilson Canyon. The pictures are from all of the hikes in no particular order.

 

We made the trip out to the Montezuma Castle NM with Peter & Patricia. A well preserved native housing structure built into the side of a cliff.

 

Congress, AZ

We left the Bouse area after 17 days. Our tanks were getting near to full and the heat was bringing the snakes out so we decided it was time to leave.

We traveled to Congress to stay 3 nights at the Escapees North Ranch. It’s a nice park with full facilities (except pool) and we explored Wickenburg and the area from here.

We drove down a dirt road for about 7mi to get to a box canyon that has the Hassayampa River running through it. In other pictures I’ve seen of the canyon the river is a mere trickle but this time it was running quick and the riverbed was fully covered. There were a few people down there having a good time with their ATV’s & UTV’s, even one family that had driven their truck down into the canyon base and across the river. I decided a dually wasn’t the best vehicle to be snaking down a rocky trail.

Wickenburg was a nice little western town to walk around. Not a whole lot in town to see although they do have a self-guided tour you can do. A lot of horsey activity in town and there what looked like a rodeo going on in one part of town.

Bouse, AZ

After leaving Desert Hot Springs we first went to the Quartzsite side of the Plomosa Mtns. The second day we were there a group with ATV’s setup right near us so we took a drive to the east side of the mountains to scout locations. We found a new site and moved the trailer. The new location was down past a large group at the end of a trailway.

As we pulled down past the group one of the members asked if we were with the Escapees Boondocking group. Turns out this was one of their get-togethers. We were invited up to their happy hours and evening camp fires. A great group of people and we ended up joining the Escapees which we had considered in the past but never got to doing.

With the moon out of the evening sky I did some more night sky photography.

The desert flowers were coming out with the hot days. Great area for hiking across the desert and I managed to get in 3-4mi each day.

The area was used for various types of military training during WW2. The tracks in the desert look to be from a tank as they are too wide for a truck at 10ft. The crumpled steel is practice bombs that impacted the ground.

There has been a lot of mining here in the past and I came across an abandoned mine shaft that was used for copper mining.

 

Desert Hot Springs (JTNP)

With Shawn here for the week we decided to visit Joshua Tree National Park again.

Kathie & Rick came with us and Patricia & Peter met us there and brought along Gus & Rita.

They were coming from Hemet so were a bit longer than us arriving at the visitor center. We decided to take a detour to PioneerTown on our way up. Wasn’t anything going on there.Must be more of a weekend attraction. We strolled around, took some pistures and headed off for JTNP.

Next stop was the JTNP Visitor Centre where we paid for our gate entries and picked up some information. By paying the fees at the centre we skipped the lineup at the park gate.

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Our first destination was Hidden Valley where we hiked the loop and had a tailgate lunch.

From Hidden Valley we drove to Keys View. This point overlooks the Coachella Valley. On a clear day you can see Salton Sea but it was hard to make out on this trip due to the haze.

From here we went off to have a look at Skull Rock. We drove through Jumbo Rocks CG on the way as that was where we parked last year for the hike to Skull Rock. It was very busy and there was no parking so we ended up parking out on the road. We had brought camping gear with us this winter but it doesn’t look like we’ll have time to get in a night of camping as we’re headed back to Quartzsite at the beginning of March. After hiking around the rocks across the road from the campground most of the group decided to return to the truck leaving Shawn & I to hike the rest of the way over to Skull Rock. We walked/jogged back to the truck after taking some pictures there.

Heading back to Desert Hot Springs I saw a pickup truck at the side of the road for sale. I’m looking for a project vehicle and the southwest has candidates that are in better shape. Right vintage, wrong configuration. This one was a C20 LB, I’d rather have a C10 SB.

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Desert Hot Springs , cont’d

We’ve been keeping busy here in the Palm Springs area. Went for a bike ride with Kathie & Rick in the NW part of Pam Springs to tour the mid-century modern homes. Came upon a photo shoot for what looked like an advertising project as they had models sitting in a convertible in front of a “Welcome to Palm Springs” sign.

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At one point this was Lily Tomlin’s house.

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This house is where Elvis spent a year including his honeymoon.

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Shawn, our youngest son, flew into LAX on Saturday. We spent a bit of time on the beach and in Santa Monica before heading back to Desert Hot Springs.

Large waves were hitting the beach. I was waiting for a large wave to break behind Shawn and didn’t notice one coming in. We both got wet feet 🙂

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We made another trip up the mountain across the road. This time with Shawn.

On Family Day/Presidents Day we made a driving tour of the Salton Sea with Kathie & Rick.

Shawn got to see the beach makeup on the east side of the sea when we stopped at the park information center.

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We drove out to Slab City and toured through Salvation Mountain. Quite the art installation.

After some wrong turns and misdirections we found ourselves at the end of a muddy road behind one of the thermal power plants at the south end of the sea. We trekked across a muddy field to look at the mud pots bubbling away. If you wanted a full mud bath or facial this might be the place to come for the mud.

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We continued the trip heading down to Brawley and then east on 78 until we got to the viewpoint area midway across the Imperial sand dunes. With it being a long weekend the dunes were heavily tracked and there were lots of sand buggies and ATV’s running around the dunes.

Shawn and I tried sliding down one of the steeper dunes on a piece of cardboard but that failed miserably. We did end up having fun and getting some exercise though.

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After we’d had fun at the dunes and some lunch we headed off for Borrego Springs.

We stopped at some of the sculptures we hadn’t seen before and also the ones that we’d seen but Kathie and Rick hadn’t seen when they were out this way.

On our way back home we drove through the boondocking area on Rockhouse Rd. We had thought we might come out here after Sam’s but now we are planning on going back to Quartzsite before heading up into Arizona and Utah.

We stopped along the highway at the badlands where Shawn and I climbed down in a bit to get some better pictures. Jane wasn’t impressed as she doesn’t like heights or us getting near the edge of big drop offs.