It’s unbelievably quiet here in the Coconino National Forest.
Four other rigs are here, but I can’t hear them at all. We are widely spaced around an open, grassy area dotted with white flowers. Yesterday, after setting up camp and retiring to my lounge chair, fellow camper Gail came by. She’s from Minnesota and has been rving for twenty-two years, the last eight as a fulltimer.
“I spent the whole summer here last year. The rangers won’t bother you,” she informs me. Then she adds, looking over at a pickup truck with several lean-tos constructed around it, “At least I hope they don’t. That guy told me he gets hassled by the National Forest all the time and has a $275 fine to pay. It’s probably because of all his tents. He looks like he’s squatting.”
“I’m surprised you were allowed to stay here all last summer.”
“It was so nice and cool here,” she responds.
I show Gail the inside of the BLT. She originally had a Class C and now she has a Class A motorhome. In our conversation I mention “backing the trailer up.” She exclaims, “You back up the trailer?” as if it is a feat for a magician.
“Of course, I do. It’s easy. Why? Did you think I drive around with this and never back up?”
“I thought it was too much trouble. The gentleman camped over there told me he never backs up. He said it’s too hard.”
I want to tell Gail that if she put a tomato in the field over there, I can back the trailer up from here and squash it in one try. But that would be bragging! “It’s so easy, Gail, I don’t even think about it.”
In the early evening I call up Rusty to let him know we have our new campsite.
He thanks me for the flag and the note I left in the juniper tree. “Timber’s been gloomy all day. He sat and watched for you to come up the lane like the day you went to Chino Valley. He misses you.” We talk about our travel plans and end the call agreeing that our paths will probably cross again someday.
This morning the crew and I are up and out the door early.
It’s a dark, overcast day which gives the pine forest a mysterious atmosphere. I decide we’ll walk over to the big pond which I assume is Willard Springs. As soon as Spike sees the pond, he hurries ahead. He walks through the mud to wade into the water, of course. I let him have fun even though his paws and his leash pick up a lot of mud. Bridget stays close by, mainly to avoid being photographed. She’s such a girl.
We watch three ducks on the pond.
It’s a pretty place except for one end of the pond that’s been torn up by quads or whatever it is that people race around on. There are several, pretty camping spots up the trails from the pond, but I wouldn’t want to camp there. I can tell from the tracks all over that it probably gets pretty noisy when the weekend people come out with their motorized toys.
Tomorrow may be an inside day, all day.
Thundershowers are predicted. Friday will be a good day to drive up to the Wal-Mart in Flagstaff. It’s been a long time since I’ve cruised the aisles of a Wal-Mart. That place gets in your blood or something.
A squirrel with a white tail?
That’s what I see going up the pine tree outside our window. Wow! The excitement around here grips you and won’t let go! Ducks on a pond, planning a trip to Wal-Mart, and earlier — wait for it — I found three new wildflowers. Hang on! It’s a wild ride!