I want a grocery store!
Not a souped-up convenience store, a real, full-size grocery store!
The crew and I take off for Kingman, up Highway 93 from Wikieup. Then a strange thing happens. When we reach Interstate 40, instead of turning west to drive 20 more miles to Kingman, we turn east!
I feel like putting some miles behind us.
Bridget and Spike sleep behind me on the bench seat. This allows me to drive in a dreamy, relax-and-enjoy-the-scenery state of mind. The Perfect Tow Vehicle takes us away from palo verde and creosote bushes into grassland and junipers, and pulls us up to 4,000 feet, then 5,000. Signs appear: “Ice may appear on road” and “Watch for elk.” I guess we aren’t in the desert anymore.
Not many people live along this stretch of road.
The first town that appears, I take the exit ramp. It’s Seligman, a tiny town next to railroad tracks. The main trade seems to be the Route 66 tourist business. We drive past the Roadkill Cafe and park in a vacant lot.
While walking the crew, Bridget makes a deposit in the neighboring bank parking lot. Before I can get back to the PTV to get a doggie poop bag, a truck pulls in and runs over it. Ha! Sometimes problems are solved simply by not doing anything! I ask a couple where the grocery store is and they tell me it’s next to the A & W up the road.
The A & W has a convenience store tacked onto it.
This is the grocery store? A large portion of the store is devoted to tourist items. T-shirts that read “I got my kicks on Route 66” are a big item. I order a drink and grilled chicken sandwich at the A & W counter. Out in the PTV, I share the sandwich with the crew. I open up the laptop and find directions to our next camp.
The PTV faces railroad tracks. Four, long trains roar by about five minutes apart, two one way, two the other.
It’s noon when we get back on the highway. I figure we’ll be in an Ash Fork boondock camp by one o’clock. Tomorrow I’ll drive to the Safeway in Williams and shop my little heart out.
I turn south onto Highway 89.
About seven miles south of the interstate I find the cow grate on the left and cross over into Kaibab National Forest.
The dirt road winds through grasses and junipers overlooking rolling hills and a horizon of mountains.
I find a spot that’s obviously been camped in before . . .
It’s situated with wide-open spaces all around, so I let the crew run loose. I immediately open the passenger door of the PTV and open the laptop which is resting on the seat. The air card light comes on. Yes! We’ve got internet!
Now that you’ve heard the good news . . .
It’s time for the bad news. I walk around to the hitch and see that the plug that connects the PTV’s AGM batteries to the 12 volt system in the BLT is lying on the ground.
Oh, no! How long has that been dragging!
I pick it up to inspect.
Well, it’s worn down and mashed, but the metal connectors inside the plug look okay.
I plug it back in and it holds. I knew this was going to happen and I didn’t do anything to prevent it. Darn!
That’s when I see the break-away cable.
Or perhaps I should say the break-away cables, plural. Because now it’s in two pieces! How in the world did THAT drag on the pavement? Darn!
My mind works through the situation.
It’s Friday afternoon. Easter weekend. We’re in our camp. Don’t have to tow anywhere. Tomorrow I’ll leave the BLT here and the crew and I will go get groceries. I’ve got internet. I’ll figure out what to do over the weekend and deal with this on Monday. This will work out.
I shake my head, trying to let go of the fact that I easily could have avoided this inconvenience. I pull out a camp chair from the PTV and set a bowl of water on the ground for the crew.
I need to sit down, drink a glass of water, and watch the crew sniff grass.
“Hey, guys! Do you like our new home?” Bridget runs over to my chair. Spike keeps on sniffing.
After a few minutes gazing out over the fields in front of our door, I click a leash on Bridget and Spike. “Let’s go for a walk and see what’s up the road.”
You’ve found yet another beautiful place to call home. I drive by that area on my way to the canyon. That happens in another week. In fact I’ll be stopping in Flagstaff on the way to have some RV work done at Flag RV. Good luck with your repairs. Williams is a quaint little town.
Hi, Gaelyn . . . If I’m still here, feel welcome to stop by! I’ll give you the milepost number before you leave. Of course, I understand if you don’t feel like pulling in here while towing.
I’d like to visit you at the North Rim in late May after it opens and you’re settled into your work routine.
Good luck getting your RV work done . . .
Hi Sue, guess what I did today. I uploaded Google Earth and I spent the whole day trying to find you!!! What a trip! I feel like I know the area pretty good now. lol.
I saw where the grocery store your heading to. I think I found the sign to the National forest entrance but just then my computer shut off!!! Darn. Is the sign brown or am I dreaming. I saw quite a few trailers boon docking. It was so exciting! Maybe you can give other directions and I will try again. Enjoy your new home. Hi to the crew. Sharon
Yes, the sign is brown. I don’t think those are boondockers… I may be wrong. You may be seeing mobile homes.
The ability of anyone, regardless of intent, to be able to see my exact location makes me feel very vulnerable out here by myself. I wish I could block Google Earth.
Have no fear, Google Earth photos are updated only every couple of weeks/months! Chances of someone actually finding you while you are there is slim to none!
That’s good to know, Geri… I don’t know why I react like that. A bad person could find me without the help of Google.
I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m afraid of Sharon! I would love for our paths to cross someday . . .
Have no fear! Project only good energy (which you do naturally) and you will attract those with good energy! The 6 years I was solo on the road, I met wonderful people and I am still in touch with a lot of them now 24+ years later! Life is good!
I would love to meet you also. Don’t worry, my son said that that Google Earth only updates every few months, so I could never find you… Only the town or area. I told him, thanks for telling me now that I spent a whole day looking. lol. I am sorry if I scared you. I will use Google earth just to help me find areas to camp myself and trying to learn how it works. Sharon
Now, that is a pretty place…..green grass and trees…LOL I follow you on the map and noticed that Seligman has an airport….no grocery store but an airport of all things. I hope you have a Very Blessed Easter , Love you My Sister
Same to you, Pauline. I bet the grandkids will look pretty as a picture going to church on Sunday.
I am with you on finding a REAL grocery store. Those convenience stores charge a fortune for everything!
Sorry to hear about your tow hook-up.
And they don’t have any produce or meat! I can’t imagine living in a place where you have to drive 80 miles or more when you need the fixins’ for a salad.
Oops – sounds like a couple of more things need to be added to the hitching up checklist. FYI, the next time you are in a location where you can get mail delivery order the coiled break away cable from Little House Customs. Solves the problem of it dragging on the ground.
That’s a beautiful spot and definitely different than the desert – but definitely cooler as well.
Enjoy your shopping.
Oh, I followed the checklist okay. Everything was as it should be when we left Seligman. I remember checking the cords and all. Every time I get out of the PTV, I check the hitch area and do a walk-around. I should have got one of those coil break-aways and replaced the factory cable immediately. It hung too low. All it had to do was catch on something. That part baffles me.
Maybe someone will learn from my mistake.
You may enjoy staying around Williams too…lots of forest roads, a few lakes, and more amenities. Even some Passport America places if you feel like hook-ups. Enjoy 🙂
There are a lot of little lakes and forest roads. I’d take a day trip to the south rim but I don’t think it’s open yet.
South Rim is open all year around…. I worked 2 winters there!
Some of the BEST homemade pies can be found at the Pine Country Restaurant in downtown Williams. And, the VERY BEST oatmeal cookies ever, are sold next to the cash register!
We went to the South rim of the canyon in April about 3 years ago. Definitely worth checking into.
Thanks for your posts re. camping spots! Keeping them all in mind for future trips!
Oh boy, those sweets sound so good . . . Oatmeal cookies are my favorite cookies.
We were at the south rim in late February on our whirlwind Arizona weekend (it was nice getting away from the Michigan winter, even briefly). In any case, it’s open and there were no crowds whatsoever. We stayed in a cute little cabin at Bright Angel Cabins. My first time ever in Arizona, so we flew into Scottsdale, went up to Vegas, Hoover Dam, Skywalk (not worth the drive or price in my opinion, others may disagree), over to the Grand Canyon and then back thru Sedona. I always check the map to see where you are too since some are now familiar to me.
I guess I’m mistaken about the south rim. Maybe I’m thinking of the north rim. Time to check online!
Wow! That WAS whirlwind! I must seem like I’m in slow-mo in comparison.
ah, well – we like your slow-mo : ) Did you ever get a chance to check out the hot spring before you left? There is supposed to be a small waterfall in the mountains near Lake Havasu somewhere… Safe journey, Sue
I decided against hiking back into that canyon. I don’t think it would be smart for me to do that alone and it might be tough on Spike as well.
Sue, I will recommend these little bag holders for your doggie dodo bags. There are lots of different kinds and they attach to your leash. We have one on every leash. I have even knit some.
We found one with a flash light on the end which comes in handy for the before the bedtime walks.
Thanks for the link!
Been to both the south & north rims of the Grand Canyon. Kinda liked the North Rim better simply because there were far fewer people there both times. Once in May of 92 & once in December of 07. Love the whole area because of the great green forests. We rolled through your Ash Fork region a week ago today on our way home. Your doin good:))
I kept up with your blog every leg of your trip home. I haven’t emailed or commented much to you and Kelly lately because I figured you were probably inundated. You really know how to roll over a lot of miles! Great job!
I was thinking Burro Creek and Kaiser Hot Springs would be a nice day trip from your new home base in Congress.
Lol. Here’s me camped at the North Rim campground in ’04. It was October. Maybe it’ll be different in April. Maybe not.
I laughed out loud when that photo popped up. I shouldn’t laugh. I’m pushing my luck moving this far north, this early. I may end up with my own “White Campsite.”
I have no intentions of going to the North Rim in April. I’ll be meeting friends Chuck and Geri in Hurricane UT this summer and will visit the North Rim when snow season is over!
Very little snow up there when we passed by yesterday, just patches of it here and there!
….I ran my break away cable up and over the tow bars and then clamped it in with one of the chains that hitch to the bumper. They all drag too low to the ground in my opinion. I noticed that on mine right off the bat! I told the guy at the dealer: “what about this break away that is dragging so low to the ground?” That can’t be good! So, we re-routed it over the tow bars and hooked it to one of the chain – still giving it a a straight shot to break away if needed.
I’m not sure I’m picturing what you mean. I’ve never heard of hooking it to one of the chains. Whatever works for you.
I want to replace it with the coil type. That should keep it up off the pavement.
I think I figured out what I did wrong. The PTV end of the break-away cable is supposed to be looped around the tow hitch (near the frame) two times. I did that but when I went to secure it with the clip, one loop got away from the clip and wasn’t secured, so the cable was able to drop lower. I never liked that set-up anyway.
That coil sounds like a good idea to me too. You’d think the dealer would have mentioned it! They never tell you about the good stuff! I don’t know why.
Those hooks on the end of the chains has a little clip on them, sorry I don’t know what it’s called. 🙂 I hooked the break away to the inside of one of the hooks on the end of the chain and then hooked that to the tow hitch, like when you secure the chains cross wise. But I think the coil sounds more like the logical way to go. I had wrapped mine over and around the tow hitch as well.
Coil it is!
Welcome to the “plug dragging on the ground” club. You have some good company. I did mine in Monument Valley AZ and had to finally get it fixed by the time I got to Albuquerque a week or so later. I now carry an extra plug. I know how you felt.
So now I’m officially in the Plug Dragging Club!
Oh well, it’s better than the Knuckle Dragging Club.
And is spelled ‘Plugg Dragon’…..welcome the the fraternal order of Plugg Dragons!!!!
Loved your comment about “why didn’t I do somethinig about this when I knew it was going to happen”. If this is the first time that’s happened to you then you are a much wiser woman than I. Seems to me that far too often I ignore that “little voice” which warns me and end up with a far worse situation. Yours sounds pretty easily remedied though thankfully.
I too liked the North Rim better because there were fewer crowds but you Ms Very Smart are there at a great time of year to avoid them at the South Rim. I’m sure it’s open. Williams is a hoot.
How far are you from there?
I guess I’m about 20 miles from Williams. I don’t know about going to the south rim. If I go from here, it makes a very long day. I don’t want to move to Williams because it’s colder there.
When you get to the south rim, do you drive far along it or do you have to get on a shuttle? I’ll have the crew with me, so a shuttle is not good for us.
I’m definitely going to the North Rim. Holes in the ground are not my favorite thing. I’m only going to see the Grand Canyon because it’s something every American should do if they can.
You can’t drive along the south rim at all any more, once you hit the villiage. It’s all shuttles. But there are several less stunning turnouts on the way in where you can get the general idea.
The good news is that you can take the shuttle just a short distance and see a lot. And you can get out and catch another back in 15 minutes or so. So maybe the dogs can stand being in the trailer for an hour, without taking revenge by crapping in your shoes.
Maybe dogs don’t do that. Cats do. They are very communicative creatures, in their way.
The north rim area is much smaller and higher, and consists more of points you can walk to or drive to, rather than a cruise along the rim. But it’s a looong way around if you want to see both rims on the same day. Maybe in the same week.
Don’t neglect a boat tour of Lake Powell, if you can get the crew to batch it for half a day. And the area around Sunset Crater, north of Flagstaff, is great camping, though probably too high and cold for April.
O, there’s lots to see. Arizona is not all desert.
Thanks, Bob. As always you’ve got lots of info.
No, dogs don’t crap in shoes. Mine play mind games when I return, wracking me with guilt.
We just drove by the North Rim entrance today! Still closed for the winter! That road is scary, but do-able to get up to the North Rim! If I can do it, you can do it too! We spent last night at Lee’s Ferry. A boon docking campground that sits above the Colorado River in the most amazing rock walls EVER! $6 a night with senior pass! You gotta do Lee’s Ferry!!! Do Lake Powell on your way back! LOL! Once you turn on highway 89A to Marble Canyon the scenery will take your breath away! Will post blog soon! We arrived in Zion River RV Resort about an hour ago, safe and sound! Geri and Chuck
The Grand Canyon is amazing (best at sunrise and sunset)
I do not remember dogs along the rim walk (southern rim) but you can walk for miles and miles without having to worry about taking shuttles. Of course the shuttles make it easier to experience the entire length of the south rim.
Travelling with dogs ourselves we understand the limits they place on us….have you tried acclimating them to being left behind in the Casita whilst you are away? We do that all the time….water and a little radio noise and ours are good to go….of course you must watch the temperatures as well….maybe while you are ‘off the grid’ you can experiment with walks while leaving Bridget and Spike behind…
Hermit road is open to traffic from December 1 through the end of February. We were able to drive it, not much traffic at all and the weather was great (for that time of year).
Hermit Rd is on the south rim.
Do-do do happen ! I like that you can handle yourself so nothing bad happened just a lesson learned sort of thing. We are always learning, so it seems to me. Nice camp 🙂
It’s taken me a long time to learn what to do when things aren’t going well . . . Sit down, drink some water or whatever, and relax . . . or take the crew on a walk!
My husband and I spent a week in Williams a couple of years ago. We were on a trip to the Grand Canyon and waited too late to get a hotel closer to the canyon. Staying in Williams in a really nasty hotel meant an hour trip every day to the canyon. But breakfast at the Pine Restaurant was wonderful. The pies are terrific. And the interior is full of rather nice paintings. There are some attractive items there. I loved the low calorie egg white omlet with spinach and mushrooms and tomatoes. We ate there every morning the entire week. Enjoy!
I’m glad your week turned into a success even though you had to adjust your plans.
Said it before and saying it again…..THANK YOU
Thank you for your very informative blog
Thank you for helping me connect with MK. That is a big help.
We are now moving faster toward full time, should be in July sometime. If things go as planned we will be in AZ by January. NV for Oct through Dec.
So, as things progress, we will need to look you up next year???
Good luck with the store, very interested in knowing how you manage that ‘problem’ as you say, can’t see an 80 mile trip……
Wayne & Rhonda
Sounds like a good plan, Wayne! Southern AZ is the place to be in January. We’ll probably cross paths . . .
I went to the Safeway store in Williams, about 20 miles from here. It’s so nice to have fresh veggies, dairy and meat again! I was down to eating out of cans . . .
Sue We are headed right by you on Sunday en route from Prescott area to south rim. should be fun. then up around to hte north rim. but not sure north rim open yet according to the travel books we have. The weather says otherwise so we will see.
We almost were in the plug dragging club but use a bungy cord to keep it up.
kaytoo: …bungy cord! Duh! 🙂 “There it is.” That just made my day . I have several! Thanks kaytoo.. That sounds a lot easier than what I’m doing now.
http://www.e-water.net/viewflash.php?flash=irishblessing_en This is to all here. What ever words you do not care for, or what ever your personal beliefs happen to be, please feel free to replace them with ones that comfort your own heart.
“Happy Trailers!” 🙂 (That just came to me!) lol…
Kay and Corinne,
Unfortunately the way the plug was installed by the solar place makes a bungee cord not helpful. The plug pulls out too easily. Just the pressure of the bungee pulls out the cord. I’m going to have to come up with something to secure that plug.
I’m sure you’ll come up with something, perhaps that coil that was mentioned, that will work perfectly for your cottage on wheels. I’m going to research that now and see what it looks like on line.
http://www.adventurerv.net/fastway-zip-trailer-breakaway-coiled-replacement-cable-p-22379.html Is this it Sue? Hope so….
Here’s the same thing at Amazon. I hope I’m looking at the right thing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDK69jsfg7M Here it is on youtube! Neat….
Joy posted the coiled cable on the Readers’ RVing Resources page. Scroll down to find it.
Hi there Sue n crew…Welcome to our neck of the woods. There is a Camping World off of 40 in Bellemont (between Williams and Flagstaff) across 40 from the Pilot station,exit 185. I’m sure they will have whatever ya need for the BLT. Williams is a lot nicer area to camp but might be a tad cooler than where your at now. Hope you enjoy our part of the state!
Excellent information! Thank you very much.
Yes, the highway to Williams from Ash Fork is up,up, up. That’s why I’m here!
Sorry about the plug, but I think there is a checklist somewhere that all of us who haul trailers have to complete. We’ve all had cables drag and get smashed and realize it was avoidable, so be glad you’ve got that item “checked off”.
A checklist wouldn’t have helped in this situation. Everything was hooked up. The plug that was damaged was the one installed at the solar place. It does not “click” into place securely like the power cord that came with the BLT. The “outlet” was mounted so close to the bumper area (see photo) that there was no way to use some kind of tie or bungee to keep it plugged in. Sometimes, all it takes is Spike walking under the cord and it falls out. I knew this was not good, yet I ignored coming up with a solution.
The break-away cable was hooked up. Since the loops are under where it’s hard to see, I didn’t realize one of the loops wasn’t secured (the clip was) and so the break-away could touch the ground, which still baffles me because I always tug on it to check.
You ought to be able to find a “clicking” plug, or several, at any auto parts place. Certainly the engine area of the PTV is full of them.
Be careful of getting the breakaway cable too tight. If you turn sharply and it pulls out, the little trailer becomes a very large anchor. If your PTV is too powerful for you to notice, you’ll quickly burn up your trailer brakes.
That’s why the coiled breakaway cable sounds like the answer. The cable I was using was too long and I worried about the situation you described, so I had plenty of slack in it, apparently too much.
About the clicking plug . . . I’d love to find one that would work with the “outlet” end, the way it’s been mounted up tight to the PTV. In other words, there isn’t any space for the clicking mechanism above the connection, unless they make them on the bottom, which I doubt. I don’t want to have that outlet remounted . . . .
In the end, you may have to have the DC plug remounted with a proper locking plug. Apparently your installers just used whatever they had available, without thinking about the problems of towing. But as a stopgap, is there something nearby to loop the cord around, to take tension off the plug? Maybe use a ball bungee with that? Or maybe wrap the plug with electrical tape, to make the connection tighter?
I took another look at your plug and that IS a locking snap connector. All I can think is that you didn’t push it in all the way.
Here’s all you ever didn’t want to know about DC connectors:
Zowsa! Some of these things are expensive.
I know I pushed that plug in all the way. It never snapped into a lock.
No, there isn’t anything nearby to hook a bungee or tie to. Anything I tried to loop around the plug would pull the plug out, that’s how unlocked it is! Other people than myself have looked at it and found the same problem. It probably needs to be extended to a different location where a new, locking, male and female end can be installed. Erghhh…
I didn’t mean to imply you didn’t check, but rather there is a “list” of things that will happen to all of us who haul trailers no matter how careful we are, and you can now “check off” the it came loose cable “check”.
I was a mobile dog groomer for a few years and hauled a grooming trailer. I had so many things happen, that after a while I realized I was just “earning my stripes” with each mishap. These things have to happen to all of us who haul. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when”.
Happy Easter Sue,
Your new camp is very green but might be a little cold at night. That area of Williams is so pretty. We drove by last October on our way to see the Grand Canyon. Sorry to hear about your cable hope you get that resolved in a few days.
Have a Blessed Sunday.
Same to you, Sylvia.
Ash Fork isn’t as cold as Williams. It’s warm here during the day. I put the heater on for a few hours in the early morning to take the chill off.
Sue. We just passed your campsite heading north to the canyon.
Question – is a permit needed to camp in national forest lands?
I think there are National Forests that require a permit. I really don’t know for sure. Maybe a reader will enlighten us.
No permit is required for the National Forest around here unless of course your in one of the campgrounds.
Thanks. I thought so but didn’t want to say for sure.
On a similar topic, here’s an interesting tidbit I stumbled across recently . . . .
FOREST SERVICE DEFIES FEDERAL COURT
In a press release issued March 1, 2012, the US Forest Service said they will continue to charge recreation fees that were recently ruled illegal by a unanimous decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Thanks for that info Sue…guess we never go to any of the places listed that they charge a fee for, just out boondocking.
Hi again Sue! If you are wanting to visit the south rim, do it! Lots of nearby boondocking in the Coconino Forest! Just south of the town of Tusuyan (sp?) to the right side of the road, or even over by the airport, lots of roads to boondock camp on! Those roads are where I lived for 6 summers!
Your new site looks great! Glad you are up in the cooler weather! It was hot when we arrived in Zion today… 86 !!!! Please take a look at our blog and see Lee’s Ferry… you would love it there!
Just follow 89 through Flagstaff and up to 89A. 3 hours out of Flagstaff. GeoGypsy mentioned an RV Repair in Flagstaff, perhaps you could get your plug fixed there!?!?
This is the second time I’m responding to your comment. It didn’t post the first time. My computer is having cramps.
I’m glad you and Chuck made it safely to your workkamp site. I appreciate the info you and other readers have shared about northern Arizona. What would I do without you!
I like that Safeway in Williams. I’ve shopped there twice, once in 2005 and again in 2010. That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal but I live in Maryland so it’s a bit out of my way. There’s a great little restaurant across the street named Smokey Joes. It’s in the book Roadfood, which is my food bible for cross-country travels. They have great pancakes, huevos rancheros and chorizo w/scrambled eggs. mmmm
Our condo is on the market as of last Monday and as soon as it sells, we will be hitting the road and heading to the southwest. We plan to buy a New Mexico park pass and spend a lot of time there. I think I’ve talked to you on the Tioga George blog about that. Maybe we’ll run into you sometime. Don’t worry though, we’re super private and loners to the point of almost being anti-social so we won’t bug you. I’ll say “hi” if I see you in a park though.
Gosh, I can’t wait to get on the road. Please say a prayer to the fulltiming gods for a quick sale of our condo. If any of your readers want a good deal on a small, but very pretty and newly renovated, Chesapeake Bay waterfront condo in Maryland let me know.
P.S. Sorry about that last little sales pitch. I didn’t plan to include that in my comment but we want to sell this so bad, I figure it couldn’t hurt to get the word out. I’m sure you know how that feels when you’re just waiting to get started on your dream. It feels like it will never happen.
No problem, Pam. If mentioning your condo here gets you on the road faster, I’m glad my blog could help.
You’re going to have a similar introduction to fulltiming . . . going from the East into NM. I think it’s a smart way to start! Good luck and yes, please, do say “hi” if you happen to see me and the crew. Even though I have solar and love to park in empty places, I’m sure I’ll be back in some parks again…. love those NM state park showers!
Your blog is just getting better and better, I love the every day things you post about and how you find your camps.
I follow several blogs and yours has gone to the nu 1 blog I check first,this is also the first blog I have posted comments on.
Keep up the great writing
Right when I think my blog is deteriorating into repetitive, monotonous drivel, someone like yourself gives me a boost. Thank you!
I’m honored you think my writing is worth your time to read and comment on.
Hi Sue, I found your blog on HitchItch. I love reading rvblogs. What a lot of fun you all have just roaming around and seeing the real America. Your dogs are cute and I am reading backwards but just want to say I am glad your dog is feeling better. I have been to William years ago and I love the little town. Well I will checking on you again as I like the way you write and the picture. I’ll be praying for you too that God will keep you safe. Blessings, Sue