We were glad that we decided to spend a couple of extra days at Lake Pleasant, near Phoenix. After moving to the other side of the lake, we joined our friends Al and Ingrid for some fun happy hours and beautiful sunsets! Check out their blog “LiveLaughRV” for some fun pics of our get-togethers.
We eventually tore ourselves away and headed up to Cottonwood in the Prescott National Forest. We settled in to a *free* boondocking site on BLM land (Bureau of Land Management) for a couple of weeks.
The last time we were in this area was during the government shut-down, so the National Monuments were closed to visitors. This time we were able to tour the ruins at Tuzigoot National Monument. This 2-3 story pueblo ruin had 110 rooms and was built by the Sinagua people between 1125 and 1400. An interesting feature is that the rooms had very few doors. Instead they used trapdoor openings in the roofs and ladders to enter each room. We enjoyed touring the museum and reading all the history of this development.
We also visited the Montezuma Castle National Monument, one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. Also built by the Sinaguan people around 700 AD. Americans discovered this cliff dwelling in 1860 and named them incorrectly thinking that Montezuma had been connected to their construction. When actually, the Sinaguan dwelling was abandoned in 1425 AD, 100 years before Montezuma was even born! It is also not a castle at all. It is more like a prehistoric high rise apartment complex, with multiple small rooms.
We made a special trip to Sedona to buy a pair of hiking boots for Lucy. Arizona has been rough on Lucy’s feet. So many stickers! And she licks and chews on her feet after every walk outside, so she is sensitive to something out there. We thought we’d try the boots with her and see if that helps. As expected, she hates them. We’re hoping she can get used to them, but the jury is still out on whether this will work. She didn’t even want to pose for this picture.
This is a 10-second video of Lucy’s new Clydesdale horse-style walk.
We were very excited that our friends John and Nancy (who live here in Cottonwood) would be joining us on the Verde Canyon Railroad Wilderness Train.
This is a 4 hour train ride that passes red rock pinnacles, Indian ruins, over trestles and through a 680-foot tunnel, as it travels through the beautiful canyon wilderness that follows the upper Verde River.
We had such fun on the train! The views were amazing. It was a beautiful day and we certainly enjoyed the additional amenities that came with our first class tickets. The champagne, food, lounge style seating, aaaand more champagne!
We enjoyed getting together with John and Nancy a few more times during our stay in Cottonwood.
We also enjoyed hiking in Cottonwood, taking day trips to the cute little hillside town of Jerome and shopping in Sedona. All of these places were written about and pictures posted in our last trip here a few months ago in October 2013 (click here to see).
Our Phoenix friends, Debbie and Dan, stopped by to check out our RV and see what this lifestyle is all about, on the way to their Prescott home. The next day we drove to Prescott for a fun afternoon with Debbie and Dan at their beautiful mountain home. Dan’s an impressive do-it-yourselfer. They bought this house a couple of years ago, and we saw the before and after pictures of the projects they have completed and are currently working on. Wish I had that kind of vision for remodeling. Coupled with their impeccable taste, the results are amazing! Then, we enjoyed margaritas and Mexican food at a cute little restaurant in historic downtown Prescott. We are so lucky to have so many special friends in our lives!
Our next stop was Williams, AZ. We made a reservation at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park. We figured that we would want to go to a full hook-up RV park after spending over 2 weeks dry camping (or boondocking) without water, electricity, and sewer. We chose this park because it is a Passport America park which gives us a 50% discount. I don’t think we’ve ever paid full price at a private park. We always use our Passport America membership for private parks. However, our preference is to stay at National Parks or National Forest campgrounds, State Park campgrounds, regional park campgrounds, or BLM campsites because of the larger sites and natural settings. Fortunately, our Senior Pass gives us half price at all National lands, and many State parks, too.
Williams was the last town on Historic Route 66 to be bypassed by Interstate 40 in 1984. The town’s heritage features the Old West and Route 66 from the heyday years of the ’50s and ’60s. It is also known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon”. The elevation here is 6,770 ft., so it is cold! We weren’t thinking about the elevation when we booked it. Brrrrr! Good thing it is a full hook-up so we can set the thermostat on the heater at night. We didn’t turn it on the first night we were here. We ran the heater before bed, then turned it off when we turned out the lights. When Mike got up in the morning, water that was left in a cup in the sink was frozen and no water came out of the faucet! We’ve kept everything warmed up since then.
We spent one day touring Flagstaff and walking all the streets in the historic district. Enjoyed lunch on the patio of the historic Weatherford Hotel. One might think that I would have had my fill of champagne after the Verde Canyon Train ride with John and Nancy, but noooooo. I couldn’t resist ordering the Mimosa after seeing the people at the table next to us drinking them.
The last time we were in Williams, AZ was in 2007 when we took our grandchildren on a month-long RV vacation from California to Texas and back to California. We called the excursion PAMOSA (Papa and Mamma’s Outstanding Summer Adventure) and even had t-shirts made for all of us. The whole trip was completely focused on kid-friendly places and activities. What a wonderful memory. On that trip we took the Grand Canyon Railway to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. The train ride includes singing cowboys and a shoot em up train robbery by bandits on horseback. It’s fun when you have kids with you.
However, this time we decided to drive our car to the Grand Canyon, which is about 50 miles from here. Then we were able to do the 25-mile Desert View Drive, with its multiple scenic pullouts, along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was a perfectly beautiful day and we were treated to breath-taking views all day long.
We are now sitting out a VERY windy final couple of days here in Williams. It’s been blowing consistently 25-35 mph, and gusting regularly over 50. We decided to pull in our slides because we were worried about damage to the slide covers. The wind was trying to turn them into parasails.
Now the weather report calls for snow showers tonight. Yikes!