The PTV carries us northward up Highway 17 toward Flagstaff.
The crew and I are on our way to Lake Mary Road which will takes us southeast to Upper and Lower Lake Mary, and eventually Mormon Lake. There’s a more direct route but it looks questionable on the map and even my GPS doesn’t recommend it.
We stop for gas and pay $3.99 a gallon.
Three miles further and it’s selling for $3.89 a gallon. Of course. That doesn’t dampen my spirits. It’s a sunny, bright, and perfectly cool day. Spike and Bridget are excited about having an adventure. I do believe they can tell the difference between a long, boring drive and an excursion for fun.
Our first stop along Lake Mary Road is Canyon Vista Campground.
As soon as the crew scrambles out of the PTV, huffing and puffing and making a ruckus, I quiet them down and walk them through the gate. The camp host is puttering around his motorhome and greets me with a hearty hello.
He’s happy to answer my questions about Canyon Vista.
“Is there a canyon vista?” I ask.
“Sure. Keep going straight through the campground.”
I notice signs that say dogs must be kept on leashes on the trails. Of course, it isn’t long before I see three young people with four large, unleashed dogs. The crew is behaving very well and I’m proud of them as we walk up the trail to the overlook. Canyons are not my favorite thing, so we don’t make the steep descent to its floor. It being Sunday there are a lot of visitors here. I can hear their voices rising up out of the canyon.
On the way back to the PTV, Spike and Bridget make the acquaintance of a happy canine.
Next we approach where Upper Lake Mary usually is but isn’t now.
It’s a big, grassy field. I guess it fills up during monsoon season in late summer. Further on down the road Lower Lake Mary comes into view. I pull over at the first opportunity and take some photos, but it’s not a good place to get out with the crew. We find a better place where people are fishing along the shore and in boats. As soon as the crew is on the trail to the water, I let go of their leashes.
Spike sees the water and takes off!
He doesn’t wander down to the water’s edge and decide to wade a bit. He trots with a mission in mind: I will soak in that water! Nothing or no one can stop me! Over the rocks he goes and immediately plops down in the water. I don’t know why but this always makes me laugh. He did this at our first camp back in Texas in August and at every opportunity since them. What a guy!
After Spike’s dip, the three of us eat our picnic lunch at the water’s edge.
I brought an extra thick turkey and cheese on rye so I have plenty to share. When it’s time to leave, Spike is like a little kid and stalls around the water’s edge. Bridget is right at my heels, of course. Finally Spike sees that we’ve left him and we’re almost all the way up the slope to the PTV, so he hurries to catch up.
Back on the road I notice several Coconino National Forest roads branching off from Lake Mary Road where people can camp.
Some of the roads are closed off due to mud. Mormon Lake is a disappointment. It’s not much more than a puddle in an enormous marshy field. While parked in a pull-out, I take a few photos while the crew sniffs around at my feet. The camera is acting funny. I can’t get it to focus. It makes a strange noise and dies.
“Time to go home, guys!”
Once back at our campsite, we crash on our new quilt and nap together. Later, after supper, I make a campfire. As I sit by the fire with Bridget in my lap and Spike at my feet, surrounded by tall pines, I think about the places we saw on our excursion. This is the best camping spot I’ve seen all day, right here in Willard Springs.
Spike is just to cute, maybe he got hot in texas and now knows when he sees water is refreshing. It is sure a lovely place to bad you can’t park by that picture by the rocks when you went for your picnic seems like a wonderful place. But you are right about where you are its just lovely. May long weekend can’t come fast enough – I know for now its just a tent trailer but can’t wait to get out there, set up nice fire by the water… but of course we could still get snow up here at that time of the year, but its an adventure, ha ha…
“Just a tent trailer” . . . Hey, whatever will get you out camping is fine! You’re lucky if you know where to camp next to the water. Very often that’s not allowed around here. Enjoy your adventure . ..
You are likely familiar with this great public campground website. Just in case, it’s here:
Click on a state, say AZ, and Google Earth will open and virtually every public campground in that state will appear. I use it frequently to look for campgrounds and disbursed camping areas. a nice resource.
Enjoy your travels:
You surprised me. Ed. I thought I knew every website having to do with camping, rving, boondocking, etc. This is a new one to me and it looks good. Thanks.
Here is a link that will save you money on gas http://www.arizonagasprices.com/Flagstaff/index.aspx
Its called gassbuddy.com and works everywhere that you travel .:))
Circle K price is $3.74 Flagstaff Az….
maybe worth the drive for when you leave the springs.
Your blog is my favorite daily read .
mark from massachusetts
Thank you,, Mark. . . . for the handy link and for the very nice compliment.
Wow! I can’t believe how low the lakes are. No Morman Lake??? Hard to believe! The drought has been really bad out here! Nice photos! Gotta love a dog who loves the water! Grin !!!
Morman Lake is like they say, an “intermittent lake.” I didn’t expect much, but even so, it was disappointing. Now if a herd of elk were in that field that used to be a lake, I would have been very happy!
Spike and Bridget are so sweet. I love how their personalities shine through their actions!
You’re so right, Kristin! It makes it very easy to write about them.
Love how Spike loves the water. Our cocker won’t even go out in the yard to potty if the grass is wet!
What a surprise when Spike showed his “water spaniel” side! To think the first half of his life was spent landlocked in a residential neighborhood. I’m not the only one who has been set free!
Too bad that Mormon Lake was a little disappointing. The weather has been so crazy with rain dumping in some areas of the US and extreme dryness in others, it’s hard to know what you’re going to experience when exploring. Glad that Spikey could find a place to chill his belly.
Love the BLT makeover with the new quilt and shams. Nice bright, cheerful colors. Can’t wait til we get our RV out of storage this week. I’m going to wash the quilts and make up the bed in preparation for our 1st trip out.
The pups will be excited when they see it pull into the driveway. Scooter will be hopping around and Buddy will start bawling like a baby in anticipation of their 1st camping trip of the season. (They haven’t quite realized that it takes some time to pack all the stuff in it before we go.)
Hi, Karen . ..
Scooter and Buddy, cute names that seem to go together. It must be very exciting to get ready for the camping season after having the RV in storage. You’ll have fun making your “nest.”
Great post and pictures again. Think I would like to stay at the Canyon Vista camp ground. I have a thing for the mountains and I do get to south eastern Minnesota and the cliffs I love down there.I’m really wanting to go to Idaho and the west again. The commentor above (Karen) is a friend of mine, glad they are getting ready to travel.I just can’t imagine what fun it is every day for you to be able to have adventures, just you and your best buds. So for now I’m living thru your travels.
Thank you for sharing
I have no idea of the friendships between the people who read blogs. There probably are many that we bloggers are unaware of.
I have fun with the crew on the days when we don’t go on adventures, hanging around the campsite, exploring the world around us, cocooning in the BLT, being together while I do chores. I love the travel part of it, too. It’s hard to separate the happiness I find in this way of life from the joy of not having to go to work!
I agree, not having to got to work is the best. I’ve been retired for 4yrs, we have a little business that I take care of the orders and I love it. I get to talk to the nicest people. We sell parts for bamboo fly rods. Of course flyfishing is great fun and we get to see beautiful scenery. I do know what you mean buy just hanging around your camp site,It’s all good.
Why pay to camp in the forest when you can stay for free. Love seeing Spike enjoying the water.
You got that right, Gaelyn! I thought I’d include info on Canyon Vista for those who enjoy the company of others found in campgrounds. I need to get over to your blog and read about your reunion.
Spike knows how to live. Someday the temp and the water will be right for me to join him.
Hi Sue and crew
I’ve been reading every blog, not commenting much, but I had to tell you what fun it is to see and read about Spikey and Bridget’s antics, as well as your own. Thanks for your stories and travelogue.
You’re most welcome, Bob. What a wonderful way to start the morning — fresh coffee and a comment that makes me smile. I’m glad I’m not the only one who think Spikey and Bridget’s antics are fun.
Spikey and I are on the same wave length. If there’s water, let me at it! Go Spike!
Isn’t it always wonderful to look around at the competition and find you like where you are or what you have best of all. Sure is for me!!
Yeah, Spikey . . . he’s one of a kind. It’s going to be so much fun to go swimming with him. I did that once back in Georgia. He fell asleep in my arms out in the water. He gets this dreamy, luxuriating look on his face, so funny.
I usually like what I have best of all. Drop me in the landfill and I’d be going, “Oh look at all the lovely colors!”
This reply is the funniest. Spikey sleepin’ in the water and you parked in a landfill. You have a great sense of humor!
Really enjoy your blog. I’m curious as to what kind of camera you use? FYI…there’s a new super Wal-Mart at US 40 and Butler Road. Happy travels, thanks for sharing.
Hi, Ingrid … Nice to hear you enjoy my blog. My dearly departed camera is a Sanyo 5x, 14.0 megapixels. I bought it for less than $90 at a Wal-Mart. Thanks for the information.
Pretty volcanic country you’re in there. I mean, it’s pretty volcanic and it’s pretty country. I would highly recommend you take a day trip down to Holbrook and see Petrified Forest NP while you’re there and before it gets too hot. Beautiful Chinle Formation. Won’t be crowded like the Grand Cyn. 🙂
Also some nice day trips up into the mountains there, the crater is cool. Didn’t care for the meteorite crater down by Holbrook as it’s way too touristy, though scientifically it’s interesting.
Hi, Chinle . . . I was wondering if I’d lost you. You’re back to being your ‘ol self again. Happy to see that. Thanks for the ideas.
Thanks, Sue. 🙂
Hi Sue, I also love reading about Spike and Bridget’s antics, and can sure see why they always make you laugh. I have a 13 year old small poodle mix named Max who permit’s me to live with him, who I believe wakes up and wonder’s how he can make my day.. Cocooning , I just go right to a nap. Have a great week…
Poodles can be crazy. They’re right up there with rat terriers on the crazy scale. You have a great week, too, Joe.
I read your blog and I start to fidget. I can’t wait to get a trailer and get going. I can’t wait to see America the Beautiful. Thanks for the posts, I sure hope I get to go from voyeur to participant soon.
I hope you get going soon, too, Sue. There’s so much to see and do.
BTW I have a question, my BIL has been giving me and my Hunny the business over wanting a trailer over a 5th wheel. We just don’t think a 5th wheel is for us but aside from that he keeps saying they are hard to control and will sway while we are driving. My three favorite blogs are by people who have trailers, yours being one. Can you tell me if swaying is a problem? You seem to do just fine as far as I can tell. Are there problems and if so how you take precautions for it. If you have addressed this in one of your post could you just direct me to it? Thanks, Sue
I have not had any swaying with the BLT. When I hitch up, I put a stabilizer bar on the hitch. The only other precautions I take is I avoid driving in gusty wind, which, IMHO, everyone who tows should do, and I keep the speed down around 55-60 mph.
My experience is only with a 17-foot fiberglass trailer which does not have the high profile of a bigger trailer or of a fifth wheel.
Remember, BIL’s were invented to give you the business.
Love the response it made me laugh. Thanks for the info. I had figured there must be something to help stabilized the trailer and of course common sense for the really bad wind which I won’t drive in even with just my car. Thanks so much.
Sue, We also have a Casita and tow with an anti-sway bar. We have had no problems with sway whatsoever – and we HAVE towed in gusty wind conditions because we had to get where we were going and we live in Texas where wind is normal. If you get a 5th wheel, you lose all the storage space in the pickup – and a pickup is all you can tow with. Also, since the bed is usually over the neck, you have to climb up to get in bed and climb down to use the bathroom – not my idea of fun.
correction anti-sway bars, our fifth wheel had a bath adjacent to the bedroom, only two stairs to the kitchen.
if th e trailer has sway bars it follows like swell trained dog.I piled a two horse bumper pull with San old Chrysler sedan, no problems.I love your quilts, sue ,just hope I don’t have to go to Wally world to buy them, I have a thing about that place.
maybe it’s the sociopaathic way of doing business.
I just finished an article in Newsweekly about Bain Equity, same way of thinking!
Haven’t said hi in a while since we’ve been out camping without wi-fi. We keep up with your blog through our iPhone when we have cell service so now I get to go back and look at a week’s worth of pictures:) We visited some of the state parks after the Bluebonnet rally in Bandera. Enjoyed the camping but not the 102 degree weather early last week. I’m really glad the Casita has air conditioning and we were camping with electricity!
We continue to enjoy following your adventures.
I’ve been wondering what happened to both of you! It’s that hot already? Isn’t the Casita A/C great? It cools so fast, no matter how hot it is outside. Great to hear from you.