What a difference sunshine makes.
No one is stirring, except for birds and other woodland creatures, as Bridget, Spike, and I climb the hill on the other side of the campground road. We’re staying off the dirt road because now it’s a mud road. Everything is fresh from yesterday’s rain and snow. It’s surprising how the variety of plants changes as you ascend a hill. I let the crew go off-leash and Spike takes the lead. Of course, he takes us over the hill and through the woods to the pond. It’s a good, long walk.
On the way back to our campsite we meet Ken and his dog.
Ken is from New Hampshire. He has a Class C motorhome and a motorcycle he pulls behind it on a trailer. He’s not old enough to retire, so he’s living on savings right now while he travels around looking for a place to land, that is, to buy a home and get a job. The Northeast is too expensive, he tells me, especially the taxes.
His fourteen-year-old golden retriever, Scooter, is friendly.
She and the crew partake in a group kiss. Ken tells me he had another aging golden retriever that developed a lot of health problems. “I had to have her put down a few months ago. It’s been hard on Scooter.” He pauses. “And me.”
Ken camped recently near the town of Cottonwood, south of here, until it got too hot.
He mentions the benefit that campers, especially full-timers, appreciate. “It was nice. The town is only about four miles away so you could get groceries.” I point to an animal track in the mud and ask Ken what he thinks it is. “Oh, that’s probably elk. It looks too large to be a deer.” In the campground? I can’t picture it.
The crew and I return to our campsite and set out in the PTV for Flagstaff.
Spike and Bridget are tired and sleep all the way. I plan on the three of us taking a walking tour around the University and San Francisco Street area, before stopping at Wal-Mart for groceries. However, when I get to that area the traffic is so frantic that I lose interest in finding a place to park and walk. I spy Wal-Mart and pull in.
What? A Wal-Mart with no food?
That seems very strange, but it doesn’t cramp my style. I buy two pairs of cropped pants for summer wear, a new quilt with matching shams for the BLT, a set of knives, and a pack of washcloths. I look for a monocular but they don’t have any. Neither do two sporting goods stores near the University – all sold out. Well, I guess I’ll have to order online.
I stop at a Basha’s supermarket.
I don’t get half the items on my list. The prices are so steep I’d rather go without than pay them!
On the way back to Willard Springs, I scan the forest on both sides of the highway.
I look for elk, but I don’t expect to see any, it being the middle of the day. I do see a pickup truck parked alongside the road with a hand-painted sign, “Elk Jerky.” Last night I read that elk can be seen near Mormon Lake which isn’t far from here. It’s what is called an “intermittent lake.” Even if the lake is gone, maybe elk are there! Hmmm . . . Sounds like an excuse for a picnic tomorrow . . . .
More photos of trees, woodland plants, the pond, and, of course, the crew!
To me Elk is the best tasting meat on the earth.
Really? I was wondering about that, Barney. Does it taste like venison?
x2 on the elk meat.
I love the type of place your in now.
I have been watching the comments section and out of all the blogs I follow you are way ahead in readers comments,sort of says your doing it right. Thumbs up and keep at it.
Nice of you to comment on the success of my blog. Thank you. I’m surprised to read the first two comments today mention how good elk tastes. Maybe there should be elk farms instead of bison farms.
Hi Sue, I love reading your almost every day blog. I live in Arizona and camp a lot but you find places I haven’t been.
You’ve never mentioned the electronic gear that you use to get online. I’m going out this summer for four months and I’m looking for practical ideas to stay connected. I’d love to hear how you do it.
Thanks again for your blog, it’s a bright spot every day.
Hi, Ed . . . I don’t have a whole lot of gear. I have a beat-up laptop with missing keys and a Verizon air card. That’s it!
It’s nice to hear my blog is a bright spot in your day. Thanks for letting me know.
Oh boy Elk in your campground. You and the crew can keep an eye out for me. 🙂
I know what you mean about some things costing more than you are willing to pay. I sort of have a cut off limit for the recurring items on my list and much over that and I just do without……until I can find somewhere more reasonable that is.
So I’m not weird passing up food because of price. Really, I’d rather skip it! I guess Flagstaff can get college students and tourists to pay that kind of money. Not me. I did buy chicken breasts at $4.99 a lb. And what is it with cereal in the West? Over $4 for some stupid raisin bran?
No, not weird just your choice. If you continue to select boondocking sites that are somewhat removed from big populated areas you will continue to find high food prices.
Myself, I have a somewhat fixed weekly grocery list and I go to the nearest store, hopefully I have a rewards card for it, and I fill my basket and pay the bill. I just consider it a small additional price to pay for my freedom. Then again, I have not boondocked other than when I am in transit from place to place. My choices are different than yours.
You’re right, Ed. If high food prices are a bill to pay for boondocking, I’ll pay it! I do feel sorry for the folks who live in these areas though.
Opps…should have warned you about Walmart…sorry. Sue if you go past Mormon lake just a bit on the left is forest rd #125 to Lake Kinnikinick to 82…right where the 2 meet on the left is a bunch of trees…we’ve seen lots of elk there…nice camping area. Past that the road gets rocky to the lake. Sorry don’t have your email,would have sent this instead of posting. Delete this post if ya like
Why would I delete your comment? It’s interesting and other people may want to know . . . Maybe we’ll have an Elk Sighting Rally! Ha! Thank you! After I published this post I read more about the road going out there. I may have to wait a day for it to dry. It gets pretty muddy.
Sue, some of the older Walmarts around the state do not have much in the way of groceries. Bashas is one of the most expensive stores in the state, guess filing bankruptcy didn’t teach them they need to lower their prices. Fry’s or Food City are much cheaper if you find either one in the area. If there is a Sunflower Market, stop there for fresh veggies and fruit. They have good prices,just went there tonight to do some shopping. Hope this helps. I am going to be a full timer as soon as I get some financial matters taken care of. I have a 22 foot class C and can’t wait to get out of the city. I am a country girl and need some space, besides I want to see the stars……….LOL
It’s tough being a country girl in the city. Oh, the stars. I still sleep with the window blind up high enough so I can look up at the stars. A couple of nights ago I saw a quarter moon through pine boughs . . . beautiful.
Yes, I’ve been at a Fry’s and Food City, both good . . . and sometimes Safeway is good, sometimes not. Maybe Basha’s should quit the expensive tv advertising and offer reasonably priced food instead. Too much gourmet food. Who eats all that stuff?
La touristas and Flag has a lot of them like that gourmet stuff. FYI, Geri and my favorite resturant here in Springdale serves Buffalo Meatloaf…..outstanding. Does buffalo bother you like beef? Beautiful spot and dogs look happy!!!
Probably it would .. . it’s the blood.
Thought of you when I read about a fun dog/human detective team series of books — Chet and Bernie Mystery Series — Thereby Hangs a Tail and The Unscratchables! Check it out! Loving your blog, esp. when you’re on the go!
They sound like fun books. I’m happy you love my blog . . . I move kinda slow. . . definitely not a travel blog. Stay with us . . . We eventually do go places!
Love the pic of the 3 noses!
Yeah, I got lucky with that photo!
Before I drive into a strange town to look for a Walmart, I go on the Walmart website and look up the town for the Superwallmarts- it saves alittle on the driving around. /it is grat you are having a great time.
I shoulda done that. Lord knows I’m online enough.
HAHA – cute dog photo (all those cold noses, brrr)!
Can you imagine if people said hello that way?
Sue, that little fern like plant peeking out from the pine needles and pine cones is a very important herb! Yarrow! It wiil stop bleeding from cuts or scratches. Here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achillea_millefolium
It’s amazing the different topics that come up in the comments! Thanks, Geri. I like to learn.
Glad to see you’re enjoying your time at Willard Springs…I’ve been there many times and (except for once) always have enjoyed it! There’s a geocache a short ways up one of the roads that would make for a nice walk.
There are LOTS of boondock spots down by Mormon Lake. Gooseberry Springs area is one of them. There is a cool fire lookout tower that you can drive most of the way to and then climb up. There are Irises all around it and the last time we went there were SO many ladybugs on the Irises I couldn’t believe it! They should be getting ready to bloom.
A good website for Arizona grocery prices is http://www.pinchingyourpennies.com. You can pull up a “Sale” list before you go.
Go to Cottonwood for Grocery you will find a Walmart supercenter
I didn’t even consider Cottonwood. I’ll check and see how far it is. Thanks. “Supercenter” …. I love the sound of that word.
That’s a handy site, Beth. Thank you. I’m itching to check out the many roads around here. I’ve got to stay off the muddy ones . . .don’t want to get stuck.
On a related subject to the geocache . . . The entire camping section on the trails above the pond is inaccessible because five four-wheelers were here the other day tearing up the roads. There’s one huge hole across the road now that campers can’t cross. So no one can camp up there, unless you’re in a tent. I don’t think the NF has the resources to go around fixing these roads. Fortunately no one was camping up there at the time or they’d have an awful time getting out. The same thing has been done to the road beyond where I’m camped. What happens is once they make the ruts, the road eventually washes away.
I was wondering how your solar panels are getting charged when there are so many trees?
Love the doggy pic.
My solar panel is so big that my batteries get enough power to become fully charged from filtered sunlight. For about two to three hours in the middle of the day, the panel receives direct sunlight depending upon cloud cover. It helps that I have a 200-watt panel.
Your 200 watt panel is a ‘starter set’ for most people! It is not the size of your panel that makes your way of living a success it is your way of living – conservation.
Good point, Ed. I forget how the “other half” lives!
Hey Sue, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, we are just now looking for our tow vehicle, we want to go everywhere, and not have to be kept out because of the ruts, what do you think of 4 wheel drives,( truck or SUV) ? Can they make the trip thru those places ?
Love your blog and the pups 😉
I’m no expert on this. My guess is the 4-wheel drives would go through the ruts fine. However, pulling a trailer through the ruts would be tough because the ruts are deep and they go ACROSS the road. Plus water collects and stays there a long time, a muddy mess you don’t want to get stuck in. You dip the hitch down low and then have to drag it up out of there. Motorhomes might have trouble, too. Ken didn’t want to drive his Class C through it.
Four-wheel drive is nice to have. However, as a fulltimer, storage is more important to me, so the PTV suits me best.
Elk does taste pretty good and not so gamey like venison can be. They hang out near the freeway often at dusk in the more open spots and at Lake Mary,often. Ask around. The area near you should have some in the grassy meadows too.
Durned irresponsible off-roaders make it harder on everyone. I hope folks won’t think of taking a motorhome in the rutted muddy road unless they have their own personal tow trucks. Better to wait unti the road dries. It is chancy taking low-slung motorhomes through that kind of back-country mud.
There is a new super Wal-Mart also in Flagstaff. It is near the Butler Avenue exit by Cracker Barrel.
Thank you, Becki! I was thinking this morning that there must be a super Wal-Mart in Flagstaff.