The crew and I eat breakfast in the desert and lunch high above the pine trees.
That’s one of the things I love about living on the road . . . climate change in an hour!
Friday, April 26
On the way out of Camp Drake, we stop at Rusty and Timber’s camp to say goodbye. I ask Rusty to check my lights for me. We hug and promise to keep in touch.
The Perfect Tow Vehicle carries us northward on Highway 89 to Ash Fork, and climbs aboard Interstate 40 east to Williams, then Flagstaff. Our only stop is Exit 198 to take advantage of the free dump and trash receptacle at the Conoco station.
Bridget and Spike wake up for a potty walk and we’re soon back on the interstate. About three miles further, the PTV turns northward, picking up another leg of Highway 89.
We’re on our way to Sunset Crater Camp!
I don’t have to look for a camp in the area because I already know where the best one is. I remember how excited I was when I first explored Arizona. Everything was new. Now in my second year as a vagabond, I experience a different emotion as I travel a familiar road on the way to a former camp. The excitement is still there, only now another element is added. I’m looking forward to returning to a special place!
I open the door to the scent of pines.
Ahhh! This is heaven. I let out the crew and we walk the few paces to the edge of “our” hill. I look out over the pine tops and view the desert in the distance.
The only sounds are the wind rushing through the pines in the valley below our camp and the squawk of a mysterious, unseen bird.
I immediately set out my camp chair.
“Hey, guys! Let’s have a picnic lunch!”
I know Bridget and Spike are hungry because they didn’t eat much breakfast. I heat up some of the leftover concoction of peppers, onions, sausage, tomato sauce, and pasta shells. That’s for me. The crew gets the roast turkey slices they love.
We take a short walk up the road and meet our neighbor.
Chris is a young man from Tucson who’s car-camping while waiting for a friend to meet up with him. They’re both cyclists who plan to bike to Vegas and the coast.
I hate to bring up this subject, having just met the guy, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share what I’ve learned.
“When I was here last year, the ranger came by and told me I was in violation of the 30-foot rule. She only gave me a warning because it was during the grace period when the new rules first went into effect. I was about 40 feet from the road. The rangers may not be as forgiving now that a year has passed.” (On this particular Coconino National Forest road, campers are restricted to 30 feet, not 300 feet as in other places.) Chris is leaving tomorrow, so he’s not too concerned. We chat a bit more, I wish him well, and the crew and I move on.
All this cool, crisp air makes us sleepy.
The three of us snuggle up inside the BLT and take a nap. My first thought upon waking is . . . Gee, I’d better take some more photos for the blog before the light is gone. Spike is always game for a little exploring. Bridget doesn’t want to get out of bed, so we leave her behind.
By camping at Sunset Crater Camp we’re poised for the drive across the Navajo Nation Reservation and the desert on our way to Monument Valley. We’ll enjoy living in the pines through the weekend, maybe longer.
Wow……..what a VIEW!!!! You find the best spots. Hope you enjoy it very much until the next leg of your never ending journey!
Thanks, Janet. It is a great camp.
Beautiful scenery………………heaven indeed.
I’m sure Chris was appreciative of the 30 foot rule.
Enjoy your evening.
You have a good night, too.
My favorite is the one you took through the windshield. It seems to remind of something from long ago. Maybe a scene from an old western.
Bridget must have been tired or just need some quiet time.
Enjoy the new camp. We’re warming up here in Colorado. Finally!
Bridget wakes up very slowly. And she’s really not very interested in scouting around, not the way Spike is. Glad you’re getting some warmth.
My olfactory senses are working overtime with the smell of pine!
It’s aromatherapy for me . . .
Oh I love the smell of pine too! What a beautiful place you have there Sue! Wow!
I think coming to your blog gives the same peaceful feeling you get driving through Chino Valley. Aaaaah 🙂
Hi Carrie. . .
I woke up this morning so happy I was practically giggling out loud. The three of us ran outside to greet the morning. The morning bird sounds are a delight. I like the idea of my blog bringing peaceful feelings to people. The world can use some more peace.
It looks so odd to see so “much green” in your pictures. 🙂 I love the views….And Spike looks white. At least you don’t have to worry about the rattlesnakes as much here do you??? I can smell the pines with you my favorite scent…well that and newly mowed grass.
Hi Tammy . . .
I made a joke about the crew being self-cleaning. Actually it’s true. Their fur sheds dirt easily.
Rattlesnakes are in the desert and they’re in the mountains, too. I don’t worry about them. I’m cautious and alert when we walk about and I stay away from rocky places. You may have noticed I’m not an adventurous hiker. And now that Spike and Bridget are slowing down, our walks usually follow the roads.
Very nice – thanks for sharing your site with us! It’s beautiful.
You’re welcome! I’m very pleased with this camp.
Hey. Sue, What a great spot and nice views too!!! Timber’s missing Spike And Bridget. Well have a great night and check out that full moon too, and thanks, see ya
Oh, poor Timber. I knew he’d be sad about us leaving. I saw him watching me hitch up. Maybe someday he’ll be so well-trained you can take him to the dog park and let him loose so he can run and play with other dogs. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
boy that does look close to the road, hopefully not to much traffic going up and down
Hardly anyone comes up this road because it’s a spur off a forest road that’s off another forest road.
Now that is SOME view!
Oh yeah … and it’s a view of where we are going next!
I was hoping you’d post today so we could see your new camp. Pics are great. Know what you mean about the feeling on returning. I live year round at what used to be our summer cottage and I kind of miss that feeling of the first visit in the spring. I’m having fun tracking your camps on google maps….now I will find this one. Can’t wait until we can visit there ourselves. Enjoy your stay there.
Hi Val . . . I’ll be posting a description of our location in the sidebar soon. Glad you like the photos.
I really like the pine tree campsites. It probably comes from living in the desert and seeing too much “brown”. I love the first picture of the snow on the mountains too.
Ginger Las Vegas
The snow on the mountain does make a refreshing contrast after months in the desert. By the time winter comes again, I’ll be ready to go back to the desert. It’s a great life, such variety, and my home moves with the weather. I still can’t believe how fortunate I am! Having people along with me on this blog is part of my good fortune. Enjoy the day, Ginger.
The essence of the pines welcomed me to the North Kaibab. You have a wonderful view of the painted desert. Nights been a little chilly.
As much as I anticipate visiting the new there’s comfort to returning to a special place.
Oh, Gaelyn… The pines in the Kaibab Forest near the Canyon are divine. I loved it there, all except the porcupines!
I expected a very cold night here since we are quite high up compared to Camp Drake. Nice surprise though…I didn’t fire up the heater and we slept very comfortably.
I think you took I-40 across not I-70 which is in Utah LOL! I know exactly where you are…lot of nice hiking trails in the area and Indian ruins just north of you. There are camp grounds up higher in the mountains also but might be a paid camp now….when we camp there years ago it was free. It’s awful that you have to be so close to the road. Enjoy your stay in the cool country.
I too like your “fuzzy” photo taken through your windshield. We”re planning our 2 week vacation and because of you are now considering Northern AZ. I don’t post much to your blog Sue, but look forward to reading it everyday. Continued success to you and your crew Sue.
Hello, Brian . ..
I do appreciate you dropping in with a comment now and then. Lets me know you’re still around. Thanks for the kind words and I hope you have a great vacation this year.
Hi Rita …
Oops! I did mean I-40. Thanks for telling me. I went ahead and fixed the post.
Fortunately this road is remote enough that there’s little traffic. I’ve seen two cars go by and it’s the weekend. Probably no one will come up this way during the week. The road is more like a driveway for us.
The dust in the air gave the photo a impressionistic feeling. I like it.
This blog never fails to deliver a surprise to me… I almost didn’t post that pic because of the poor quality, yet that’s the one people say they like. One of my favorite scenes to photograph is the road leading to a new camp. It reminds me of the anticipation I enjoy, excited to see what’s up the road and around the bend, wondering where our next home will be.
Hi Sue, because we recently obtained a Casita, my internet searches brought me to your delightful blog a few months ago. When I get home from a stressful shift at the hospital I love following your journeys. I grab my cup of coffee and enjoy the latest trip installment. Waking up to the Flagstaff pics this morning made me happy. Thanks. I too can smell the pines. If you get a chance to venture to Sedona, the views are stunning at sunset. Blessings to you, Georgie
Hello, Georgie, and welcome to my blog. Congratulations on obtaining a Casita! Have fun with it!
As a former teacher I can relate somewhat to working in a stressful environment. I used to do the same thing… I’d read blogs to unwind and “get away from it all.” I’m happy my blog serves that purpose for you.
I plan to visit Sedona on one of our spring migrations through Arizona. God bless you, too, and thanks for introducing yourself.
The word GOVERNMENT means CONTROL and this 30 foot rule is just the pits. Are “they” trying to make us so mad that we revolt? It seems so to me!
Another great post! Loved the photos especially of ole Spike…just lookin’ for some mischief…LOL. I’ve applied for my SS and if I can finally sell this farm I’ll become a roadie.
I wish you a speedy sale of the farm, MK. Oh, that first SS check is a momentous occasion. Soon you’ll be on your way . . .
Really nice. What a difference a day makes! Love the mountains, the roads…the ‘impressionistic’ photo…and especially the one with the dessert off in the distance. I’m a roadie vicariously through you! LOL..
That desert is where we will go next. I can look at it and dream.
If only you had smell-o-vision on your blog. Beautiful views!! Wow! That’s right priced real estate you’ve got there. 🙂
Can’t beat free!
I can smell the pines from here…lol. I wish there was smell-o-vision on the internet. I’m still helping out in AZ so haven’t yet made it back to Montana but hopefully it will be soon. The pines up in Flagstaff area are wonderful and quite a contrast to the surrounding desert. Enjoy your new campsite.
My puppy isn’t self-cleaning so she gets a bath but isn’t fond of it as yet. I can definitely tell when she needs one though. You are lucky Spike and Bridget are self-cleaning, although I suspect Bridget would like a little foo foo doctor pampering.