Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My latest trip - Part 2

I did indeed dump at the Ranger Station (family privileges - it pays to know someone who knows someone...), then Dianna and I drove over to Blue Ridge Campground in her car to select a space. The campground was totally empty except for the camp host, and I had my pick of the entire litter (of spaces). I chose the best one, a back-in spot with plenty of trees which also happened to be right next to the camp host. I figured the campground would fill up anyway, so no point in choosing an isolated space. Besides, Richard had already met her and found out she was a teacher at our alma mater, Flowing Wells High School. I knew we could be fine neighbors, and I was right. We became good friends as the week wore on.

A hot, dusty walk back to the Ranger Station to pick up my Minnie was almost the un-doing for Hanna and me. We were already pretty tired from packing up, running around in Payson and the drive north, so the 1.3 miles seemed like 3.1 miles. Dianna and I brought Minnie to the campground, got backed in and set up. Dianna went back home, and I took a quick shower and a nap. A couple hours later, I felt like a new woman.

Richard and Dianna invited me to join them for dinner of BBQ ribs, salads and beans, and even picked me up so I didn't have to walk the dusty trail again.The ribs were leftovers from the Hot Shot fire crews who were fighting forest fires in the Coconino, and they were delicious! (The ribs, not the fire fighters. Although if I'd seen any of them, I might have thought they were delicious, too. ;) ) When they brought me "home", we sat outside for a while chatting. It was a beautiful evening.

On Thursday morning, they picked up Hanna and me for a day of 4-wheel adventuring, exploring the back woods of the southern Coconino Forest. We visited several historical and abandoned cabins, stopped at pullouts and overlooks, climbed* Moqui Lookout fire tower, discovered a few developed and dispersed campgrounds, and drove to beautiful Knoll Lake. We were out for nearly seven hours, stopping for a picnic lunch and to look for fiddlehead ferns along the way. I think we were all satiated and tired by the end of the day, and I tucked into my Minnie for dinner, reading and bed.

*Seven flights up. I climbed one flight; R&D went all the way to the top! EEK!!
A little hike down to a pretty creek.
Where we had a picnic lunch
Knoll Lake
We even saw a couple of deer!

On Friday morning, just as I was getting onto the Arizona Trail for a trek to the Ranger Station, the campground host stopped me to warn me a bear had been spotted in the area, headed toward us. I gave it a few minutes thought, and trudged on, talking out loud all the way. I made it safely, and spent the morning getting a guided tour of the Blue Ridge compound. Richard brought me home at lunch time, and I embraced "retirement lifestyle" all afternoon out in my recliner lawn chair with a good book.

At 6:00 p.m. Richard and Dianna picked me up and we drove down to the cafe at Clint's Well for all-you-can-eat fish fry. A thunderstorm moved in while we ate, and by the time we got back to the campground, the rain was really coming down. I spent the coziest night imaginable with the rain tapping on the roof while curled up in my big bed under the comforter reading for a while, then watching videos.

Saturday dawned cool, crisp and clean; perfect weather for packing up and heading back down the mountain. I pulled into Mesa just before noon.

I have a few things to attend to at home for the remainder of the month, but hope to be back on the road heading north by early July. Since Dale's Alaska plans have pretty much been squashed with the delay in getting his Honda fixed, he just may join up with me for a bit of my sojourn to the Pacific Northwest. Like good retirees, we will remain flexible with our plans and build in some opportunities to do our own thing, but I sure wouldn't mind his company and expertise for some of my trip.

Until then, see you down the road.

My latest ... and longest ... camping trip, so far - Part 1

I wrapped up a few chores at home and struck out for high country on Sunday morning (the 5th). I drove up to Payson, and this time I turned right on highway 260 instead of keeping north toward Pine. Twenty-nine miles later, I pulled into the Rim Campground where Dale had a big double space staked out for us. His Minnie was parked about ten feet from the edge of the Mogollon Rim, and I positioned mine at right angles to his. Before doing anything else, we made sure to get Hanna's tether staked in a spot where she couldn't slip over the edge.

We wandered up the road exploring the area a bit, and then relaxed in our camp space waiting for Richard and Dianna to arrive.  They were out on one of their 4-wheel driving expeditions, and ended up at our campground with hot dogs and potato salad. We had a weinie roast and enjoyed a few hours of chit chat before they headed back up the road before too many elk ventured out.

The next two days went like this: Take a 2-3 mile hike in the morning, come back and have lunch, then read or watch TV or nap the afternoon away, take another 1-2 mile walk, sit outside again enjoying the breeze that came up over the rim, and finally retire into our respective motor homes for dinner, evening relaxation and bed. It was really hard work, but someone had to do it.

We watched the smoke of the Juniper fire south of us, and got updates from the experts at the Ranger Station (R&D). With several fires burning in the Tonto, Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves forests, we felt pretty lucky not to have our pretty setting impacted by the smell of smoke or campfire restrictions.
On Wednesday morning, we both packed up and drove back into Payson, where we planned to dump and then meet up one last time at Walmart. I wanted to fill my fresh water tank with good potable water, so I stopped at Payson Campground RV Resort where they have a pay dump with water. After discovering it would cost me $10 to dump PLUS $10 for water, I chose just the water and decided to dump for free at the Giant Station. Once I got down there, Dale informed me that due to maintenance vehicles in the way, I wasn't going to be able to get my Minnie in there. He reminded me that Richard had said I could dump at the Ranger Station where they were if I need to, so that's what I decided to do.

Dale and I did our Walmart shopping and said good bye, then he was headed to Little Green Valley and I proceeded north on Hwy 87 to Blue Ridge. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

New Curtains

I made new curtains for the over-the-cab bunk windows. The ones in the Minnie when I got it were totally shredded from sun damage, so I took them down, took the drape hooks off, made new panels from the same fabric as my recovered dinette cushions, and reattached the drape hooks. I put them all back up this morning and they look SO much better!