Thursday, March 31, 2011

Valley Of The Gods

Our drive today took us through the Valley of the Gods on a gravel road through some fabulous boondocking country!  The rock formations in Valley of the Gods have whimsical names such as Sitting Hen and Seven Sailors.

IMG_6489  Seven Sailors, does that look like any sailors you ever knew Rollie??

IMG_6507 Sitting Hen, use your imagination!

The entire drive was filled with “oh’s” and “ah’s” and sighs—a spectacular 16 mile drive.

IMG_6496 IMG_6497 Monument Valley off in the distance, a later in the week trip.

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The RV park in Bluff, Cadillac Ranch, is a clean, nice little park but just not our cup of tea and Michael spent a couple hours last night looking for a different spot.  Our friend Mike McFall made a comment on last night’s blog, “to0 Bad you didn't get over to Gooseneck Park.”  Well, Mike, are there any other beautiful spots you want to tell us not to miss cause this is one great spot!

Michael came out to Gooseneck State Park this morning, about 20 miles from Bluff while I bathed Emmi and did a load of laundry in that washer that I swore I would never use JoAnn and Doug!!  When he got back we dumped tanks and headed out.  Michael had told me it was awe inspiring but I wasn’t prepared for the beauty—even the drive out here was awesome.

So, tonight we are parked on the edge of a shear cliff dropping 1200 feet to the San Juan River.  There are five “goosenecks” visible here where the river makes a very sharp turn—words just aren’t good enough to describe it!  The wind has been blowing a little making us wonder if we should have parked a little bit farther back from the edge :))).  When I take Emmi out in the dark I better have my bearings or I could be in a world of hurt!  We’ve kept a close eye on her, too! 

We have three other neighbors here and there is plenty of room.  We will see what the weekend brings.

IMG_6457 WAY down below us some rafters had stopped for a break.IMG_6460  IMG_6470 The red circle is our motorhome taken from about a mile away—see, we are way up on the side of that cliff!

IMG_6485 The little community of Mexican Hat is nearby and this is the Mexican Hat.IMG_6486 Doesn’t look like it would take much to dislodge the hat!

It has been such a great day and we are excited to be here in this area surrounded by so much beauty.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What A Day

After a good night’s sleep in our sleepy little campground we drove into the Petrified Forest National Park about 8am stopping at several overlooks and trails before continuing on to the Painted Desert.  Here is a description of how these logs became petrified:

IMG_6357 The colors in some of the wood were beautifulIMG_6346 IMG_6352 IMG_6391 Then there was the Painted Desert—IMG_6396

But, the best was yet to come.  We drove by Canyon de Chelly several years ago, drove through the Cottonwood Campground and Michael claims I said, “I’m not staying here.”  So, we also didn’t see the Canyon either—I think I was just not into rustic camping at that time—maybe I was a pavement princess!  Boy, did I ever miss out by not seeing the Canyon!!!

Canyon de Chelly is a spiritual place which brought tears to my eyes—Spider Rock was just breathtaking, there is no other word, breathtaking.

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IMG_6424 IMG_6423

IMG_6444 There is a slit in the canyon wall in the above photo about centered—that is where White House Ruin sits.

IMG_6442 IMG_6440  And other dwellings beneath ledges on the side of cliffs.

 IMG_6437-1  IMG_6449 These rock formations were along 191 as we left Canyon de Chelly driving across the Indian reservation to Bluff, Utah.

What an incredible day, words can’t describe the grandeur we saw today, it was a perfect day!  I have a ton of photographs but there are only so many you can put in a blog.

Tonight we are parked in a RV park—can you believe it?  Not sure we are staying another night, we may go to the BLM campground nearby.  The park wi-fi is excellent and our Verizon signal is non-existent!!

So, with that said, future blogs may be sporadic if we move and if you are trying to reach me by phone, it ain’t happening while we are in Bluff, UT!!  We did have another excellent meal out—San Juan River Kitchen, Mexican food and really good!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Goodbye Elfrida Hello Petrified Forest NP

Michael had everything outside finished last night except pulling in the extension cord.  I had all ready put away items I normally store when moving such as photos in frames, etc.  So, it was an easy morning for getting on the road.  I fed the birds one last time then Emmi and I  took off walking up the road, Michael pulled out of the Lazy W just after 7:30am picking Emmi and I up about a mile later. 

Many years ago we decided to go home to Montana in the spring via highway 191 which would take you all the way to Big Timber—in most places it is a nice two lane road except outside the town of Safford.  That one time we decided to go up 191 from Safford we came to a sign that said road not recommended for rigs over 40 feet.  At that time we had a truck and 5th wheel making us about 50 feet long.  The Morenci Mine is located just outside Safford and I can remember miners having their coffee breaks giving us incredulous looks as we blissfully and ignorantly went on our way.

What the sign didn’t say is that the road is incredibly steep with multiple switchbacks, I think I remember it taking us hours and hours and hours to drive 81 miles!!!! 

Today we chose a different route after consulting with our friends Jim and Linda who used to travel all over the country in a truck and 5th wheel.  Out of Safford we headed up 191 to Guthrie then took 78 over into New Mexico.  Same kind of sign—Road Not Recommended For Rigs Over 40 Feet—we are now 65 feet long—but we knew someone who had been over this road and off we went.  The road was fairly steep in places with very tight switchbacks—it was a good thing the road wasn’t busy cause our rear end was coming around to meet the front on some of those switchbacks!  It only took us 45 minutes to go the 20 miles of this part of the road—much better!  The almost 300 miles we drove today was through gorgeous country—strange rock formations, high mountains, lakes, tall pine trees and even a snow drift or two.IMG_6311 IMG_6316 IMG_6320 IMG_6324 IMG_6325

Tonight we are parked just outside the south gate to the Petrified Forest National Park—there is a museum/store which has RV parking, free if you don’t use electric, $10/night if you do.   IMG_6330 Gina, just look at all that petrified wood with crystallized quartz, jasper and chalcedony in the wood.  The colors of some are just gorgeous.

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Tomorrow we will drive through the Petrified Forest on our way to Bluff, Utah where we will spend several days doing day trips to Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyonlands National Park, etc.  I’m excited—we get to sightsee this year instead of blazing on home!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Well Now!!

Such a quiet little neighborhood we have been staying in for the past two weeks—off on our walk we went this morning and imagine our surprise when we noticed one of our neighbors out with a water hose watering some shrubs—this is the good part—stark naked!!!  And he had been doing the naked thing a lot, he was as brown as the background on this blog page.  Well, now!!!!

Today was our last day here in this little piece of paradise.  Stopped in to say our goodbyes to Jeanie and Ray—what awesome new friends we have made.  We had some business to attend to over in Bisbee and arrived there in time to sample one of  The Bayfield Bunch’s favorite restaurants—The Bisbee Breakfast Club.

IMG_1814 We’ve been to Bisbee many times and had never stopped to eat there—Michael had a veggie burger that Al recommended so highly (and Al, if you believe that I have some ocean front property to sell you in Elfrida) and I had huevos rancheros—the best I have ever eaten!  Really Michael had an omelet with the biscuit the waitress promised us was to die for and she was absolutely right!!  Both of us remarked that it was the best meal we have eaten out in years!  IMG_1813

IMG_1810 IMG_1809 My favorite cowboy who is feeling much better the last couple of days!

Our business accomplished we stopped at the Safeway that Al and Kelly frequently praised and they were right about that, too.  I got some of those individual watermelons on sale and oh, my are they ever good!

IMG_6303 Back home to rescue Miss Emmi from being home alone and then we began to pack up as we are pulling out of here tomorrow. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday In The Desert

We took a walk this morning and ran into Jeanie and Ray on their way in to work on the house project.

Some chores such as vacuuming (oh, joy) and mopping occupied the rest of the morning.  Grilled hamburgers and pineapple for lunch and then a drive—that’s the extent of this last Sunday in the desert.  About Tuesday we are going to start our meander north.  Hopefully we will get to take in some sights on the way and not just tear off for home!  I am NOT ready to give up my flip flops!

The trees are starting to leaf out and people are planting things outside down here in Elfrida—we won’t have leaves on our trees in Montana until mid May or later and you sure better not plant anything outside until Memorial Day weekend. 

IMG_1806 IMG_1807 We think this is an abandoned orchard and these are fruit trees of some kind. 

Off to sit on the porch and listen to the birds.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another Day In the Desert

Not much of anything going on around here today except chores.  Got all the laundry finished, the wind tried to force me into re-washing half the clothes—so windy it kept blowing my blue jeans off the line! 

We had leftovers for lunch and just whiled away the afternoon with computers and reading.  Late in the afternoon we decided to watch a movie—it was so absolutely great—loaned to us by Gina and Rollie.  It was called Facing The Giants and while I doubt it was ever a hit movie, it was just what Michael and I needed today.

After the movie we took Miss Emmi for a walk and watched the sun go down on another desert day—see I told you not much going on around here!

IMG_6174-1 recycled photo even!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dinner Party In The Desert

We took a nice long walk this morning, Michael worked on some “fix it” motorhome projects and I cooked.

I baked bread, made a new cheesecake recipe and got all the other stuff ready for Jeanie and Ray who came over when they were finished working at the house across the road.  The house belonged to an elderly woman whose time for living way out in the country had ended—her children moved her back home near where they all live.  The house and 20 acres was for sale but in this day and age of real estate transactions, little is selling in this area.  Jeanie and Ray had a friend who needed a home, she agreed to lease the place and it was taken off the market.  Jeanie and Ray are providing the manpower for a sprucing up of the home—thus they are spending many days across the road from us working.

About 3pm they drove in the driveway, we enjoyed a glass of wine on the porch and then moved inside the motorhome for dinner.  Pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes with rosemary, Laurie’s brussel sprouts/carrots/onions/pears and homemade bread.  For dessert this cheesecake—chocolate/marbled cheesecake.  The food was all delicious—really, really good!IMG_6298 When Jeanie and Ray left to go home to feed the chickens and dogs, I took Miss Emmi for a walk and we listened to the coyotes sing to us.  Michael is having a not so great day today.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Over The Hill and Through The Woods To Portal

We’ve taken the drive from the Chiricahua National Monument entrance over the mountain to the tiny little spot of Portal once before but decided today was the day to do it again.

It is a spectacular drive—the elevation allows for pine forest, live oak trees and snow!

 IMG_6277 IMG_6279 The wind was blowing up there and it was dang cold—we ate our picnic sitting in the jeep in the sun!

IMG_6275 We saw javelina and deer.  When we took this trip a few years back the creeks were running with water, today there was barely a trickle—the live oak trees are looking stressed, this country could use some rain.

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IMG_6287 We took a side trip to Paradise which appears to be a community of summer homes and made a stop at the Paradise Cemetery—if you have to be buried, this would be a beautiful spot to be planted--IMG_6291  IMG_6290 We even found some tombstones with the name “Bliss”—Michael’s great-great uncle’s last name was Bliss.  The cemetery is still being used and also has some really old graves, some marked only with a little cross and the words, “Mexican, unknown.”

IMG_6294 Cathedral Mountains looming over the little spot of Portal, AZ.  The little store and cafe are for sale—nice spot if anyone is looking for a remote job!

IMG_6295 It was another one of those great retirement days!  We pulled back into our little spot of desert about 5pm and I fixed us a quick supper—now we are both kicked back on the computers.