Camping in the Snowies

Camping in the Snowies

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Busy Fall 2015 in Arizona: Four Camping Trips and a New House

We are permanent residents of Arizona now. We made it official by getting the cars and Bambi Luci licensed. 

Our car and truck are under the semi-cover of the carport at the end of our unit of condos. The trailer has an uncovered stall in the Sun Village RV lot with heat reflectors in the windows and wheel covers on the tires. The weather was hot with many 100+ degree days. A swim in the evening felt good. The heat continued into the evening so most folks moved about in the early morning or well after dark. We felt a bit cooped up but I began Zumba on Mondays and Yoga Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Dave joined golf league. He gets together with Charlie Ray Robinson, Rick and Leslie Rhodes for weekly jams and we look forward to camping trips to fiddle and bluegrass events. Brass quintet and Wind Ensemble practices began, and as fall progresses, more opportunities to play music come up. 

We decided our condo was going to be too small for our needs.. We called a go-getter realtor aptly nicknamed Tiger. With her help we find a house that is just right! As of November 9th we are living in Kiowa village within Sun Village and are very happy to have a two car garage, two bedrooms (one now converted to a music room) an office, and a guest house, a courtyard and a patio. We are so happy to have all this space!

As for camping, our first outing was to the Arizona State Fiddle Contest in Payson at the Fairgrounds in late September. We camped with Leonard and Laura Cook, Bill and Ann and their friends from Cottonwood. 

The solar panels kept our batteries topped off while dry camping in the fairground parking lot. The shade felt really good. 

Dave was pretty busy practicing for his events and playing guitar for other contestants. He placed first in his category and sixth place over all. 

A friend, Paul Schuler, called to ask Dave to play an October gig at the Peoria AZ library. He was happy to play with Paul and Bonita and their daughter Carmela. 

Paul Schuler

Bonita Schuler

Carmella with Dave and Jerry Dunaway

The next camping trip was to Salome in early November for the fiddle jam hosted by Jack and Linda Darland. Lots of jamming and visiting during the day and open stage in the evening with everyone getting an opportunity to play a few tunes as long as every other player is a fiddler. 

Dave playing on stage with Larry Rose, Susie Pangle and Jim Dixon. 

Jack Darland swapping stories with Jake Jacobs. Ida Mae Franks listening. 

Jeannie Jacobs watching the show. 

It was great to see friends returning to the desert for the winter. Jim and Juany Dixon, Jake and Jeannie Jacobs, Denny and Elaine Carlson all camped in a great circle with us and Harold and Susie Pangle and Charly their little dog. Harold and Susie live near us in Surprise but spend summers in Montana and camp quite a bit in the Arizona desert during the winter. 
Harold and Susie have a new 5th Wheel

The Wickenberg Bluegrass festival was our next camping trip. The entertainment is always good but the opportunity to meet and play with other musicians is the best fun. Nights are getting cooler now that November is here. Extra layers and tents with propane heaters are needed. Sitting in the sun also helps in the cool of the morning. 
Up in the Penthouse campground jamming with Roos' and Carlsons.

Friends from Elk Mountain WY, Shorty and Betty Richardson 

Glen Wilborn and friends visiting and jamming inside a tent. 

Charley Ray and his dad jamming. Note the propane heater keeping the fingers warm. 

Susie and Harold invited us to join them for Thanksgiving in the desert near Bouse AZ just off Plomosa Road. Harold's daughter and family, Arnold and Diane Berg, Denny and Elaine Carlson, Jim and Juany Dixon, Jeanette and Bob Fairchild and Dave and I enjoyed a few days camping, jamming and eating. Turkey on the grill was prepared by Harold with all the trimmings supplied by the rest of us. We had a feast. 
Jamming inside the Pangle's spacious RV. 

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets. 
The full moon going down in early morning. 

We will see more of these folks at fiddle contests and other camp outs in the new year. Now we are concentrating on getting our house ready for our kids and grandkids to visit at Christmas. 
Katie trimming their tree in Lincoln. 
Daniel ready for a Lincoln Boys Choir performance. 

Our backyard bunnies. One of them is real! We also have quail, hummingbirds, cactus wrens, verdin, warblers, woodpeckers and a towhee. 
We have had an eventful year and are ready for new adventures in 2016. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

On the Loose Part IV: So Long Nebraska, Laramie; Parks West; Then Home

September 5, 2015

After a great visit with our family in Lincoln we are ready to get the last leg of our summer "in the north country" done. I put up the wall hanging that Sandy pieced for us. It reminds us of the green vistas of Nebraska and the mountains we love Wyoming. 

                                  Wall hanging above cabinet in Luci

Hastings is our destination for a visit with Ross. He has just gotten back to from the week in his Becker Transportation truck. We are able to park Luci across the street from his apartment complex and enjoy his nicely appointed apartment and sleep in a comfy bed in his spare room. It is good to see some family things that Ross is now using. 

       The comfy bed in Ross' spare bedroom

     Library desk that belonged to Helen and Wes Slaymaker

          A familiar corner cabinet and table and chairs

              Ross' galley kitchen

        Mary, Ross and big red truck

Ross hauls boxed beef from Nebraska packing plants to destinations in the Chicago/Milwaukee area then hauls various products back. He has had some interesting experiences. 
He toured us around Clay County visiting fields and farms of folks we remember from living there many years. We drove around Fairfield and Sandy Creek School and back to Hastings by way of the WWII ammunition depot. 
On Sunday August 23rd, we are on the road again headed for Laramie. As we get into Wyoming and the vistas of mountains reveal themselves, we can see the smoke haze from the wild fires burning in the northwest. 

                           Smoky vista between Cheyenne and Laramie

One last night at Vedauwoo campground and on into Laramie on Monday August 24th to finish up business, do laundry and retrieve the Rendezvous from storage. We camp two nights in the yard at Tom and Marilyn Bryan's house in the country. Dave played for the last time at the VBar guest ranch Monday night with Bill McKay. Tom and Marilyn included me in their family meal that evening. 
Tuesday finds us still finishing up last minute business, getting haircuts, checking email, closing out our post office box and making sure all mail gets forwarded to Sun Village. 
That evening Judy and Pete Ellsworth host a pot luck send off for us, inviting all our picking friends. Delicious pulled pork and chicken, brisket and homemade buns, lots of music and conversation. It was a beautiful evening on their deck and music flowed even after dark. A wonderful send off to Arizona. 

Tom Wilhelm, Stan Miller, Dave, Hollis Marriot, Julia Obert, Dave Mullens, Tom Bryan, and Pete Ellsworth. Tom Rardin, Warrie Means, and Ken Gerow arrived later. 

                               Marilyn Bryan, myself and Judy Ellsworth

In the morning, we waved the Bryans goodbye as they went off to work then got organized and drove south through Woods Landing and Wycolo into Colorado. Through Walden, climbing into the Rockies and winding through beautiful forests along creeks. We stopped at a nice restaurant near Wolcott, Colorado for lunch, then onto Interstate 70 through the mountains. I drove the Rendezvous in the lead. Dave followed in the Toyota pulling Luci the Airstream. Our destination for the night was the campground on the rim of the canyon at the Colorado National Monument. 

            Camped for the night

We did some sight seeing and hiking. There were spectacular views at this lovely spot which was not at all busy. 

The next morning was misty with fog. We took another hike and got some great pics of the monument shrouded in fog 

Then we traveled west on Interstate 70 into Utah turning south past Green River. Our destination for the night was Capitol Reef National Park.  We found a great campsite in the Fruita, Utah campground. It was big enough for three vehicles!

This campground is on the site of an early Mormon settlement. The park service has restored several buildings and maintains the fruit orchards. Travelers can pick and eat fruit for free but pay a fee if they are picking fruit to take out of the park. I saw cherry, apple, apricot, and pear trees and some kind of nut tree.  Tame-ish deer hung out in the campground lifting onto hind legs to snatch apples off trees. 
Fruit pies were for sale at the restored homesite as were craft items and other treats. We bought a cherry pie and it was delicious. 

There was a big rain after we got settled and some campsites were flooded. The Fremont river ran reddish and full for a while. 

There were petroglyphs along the canyon walls. 

The next day we traveled Scenic Byway 12 which starts near Capitol Reef and angles south and west through the beautiful Dixie National Forest. 

Through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, stopping to take pictures and stretch our legs. 

Our destination for the next two nights was Kodachrome State Park near Bryce Canyon National Park. 
This was a full hookup park with level pads and nice showers and hiking trails.  The spectacular views were a plus.

       Same structures, different time of day, both amazing. 
Exploring Kodachrome on a hike.  Soft red sandstone everywhere looks like it melts when it rains. 

The next day we visited Bryce Canyon National Monument. After talking to the clerk at the visitor center in Bryce Canyon City, we chose to ride the hop on/hop off bus into the park. Bryce Canyon is a narrow area and parking is limited. Our Senior Pass got us in for free but car users have to pay per car plus entrance fee unless they are seniors. The shuttle took us to Bryce Point where we exited and hiked the Rim Trail back to Inspiration Point. Then another bus ride to Sunset Point and a rim hike to Sunrise Point. The views were awe inspiring. 

We finished the scenic byway and turned south onto highway 89 which tookus to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and our campground at Jacob Lake. I saw a sign for a German bakery and deli in the town of Orderville coming up. I had to stop for German pastry and coffee. The pastries were gobbled down even before pictures could be taken. We stopped at the visitor center at Kanab. Dave asks about visiting a natural feature called the Waves. Only 30 people a day are allowed into the area. Some have waited weeks to be chosen by a lottery system. On south and we are in Arizona near Fredonia. Our campground and the north rim are accessed by this narrow twisty road and wonder how the really big rigs handle this kind of road. The campground at Jacob Lake doesn't seem designed for the big rigs, either. A level pebbly pad with picnic table and fire ring plus pit toilets are the amenities here. The campground host does keep the toilets very clean, however. One of the first animals we see is the Kaibab squirrel. It is a very large dark gray squirrel with tufted ears and a white tail. I would like to have gotten a picture but they are very fast. 

We are back in a tall pine forest with comfortable temperatures after the desert-y feel of Kodachrome Park and Bryce Canyon. Into the Grand Canyon Park on the last day of August. It was a good drive to the rim through forest and meadow. There are buffalo here. Crazy folks ventured out of their cars to get a closer shot of these big animals and their calves.

The North Rim was developed in the late 1920's and has evolved little since then except for big parking areas. A big parking lot is the first glimpse you get of the area and after parking you walk to the big lodge or to the promontory called Bright Angel Point. It is a good hike down and back up but beautiful scenery. We did the hike first. 

A rainstorm was heading for the rim as it did both days we were in the area. 

   A picture of the Lodge taken from the trail to Bright Angel Point. 
    A pic taken from inside the lodge. Big leather couches and chairs all pointed towards the rim. 
   Point Imperial was our last stop in the park. It was another good drive on narrow winding roads. 

The scenery is different from the south rim. There is no glimpse of the Colorado River but we could spot some structures on the south rim through binoculars. We could see Bright Angel trail descending the south rim zigzagging down and down. Our friend Shelby Means was down there on a river trip. We thought of her, glad to know that we knew someone who had been there. 
After several days of awe inspiring scenery, we were ready for the last leg of our journey. Back onto 89 highway we descended through more beautiful forest on twisty highway. Traffic was light and we made it down to the valley skirting the Vermilion Cliffs. 

Crossing over the Colorado River at Marble Canyon, we turned south for Flagstaff through the Navajo Nation Reservation and the Painted Desert. 
A stop at Flagstaff for gas and another at Camp Verde for lunch and we continue on the long and sometimes steep descent into the Valley of the Sun. It is good to get off Interstate 17 at the 303 loop exit and soon we see the El Mirage turn and finally Bell Road. Traffic was not bad. Guess all the snow birds have yet to return. Sun Village! Elsie and Marilyn our neighbors greet us with hugs. Cousin Bill McKee has the air conditioner turned down. We are home.