Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Red Rock Country and the Wind Outside our Door

Consistently as we travel full time, we watch the weather to avoid storms and monitor temperatures so we can be in comfortable temperatures, not too hot nor too cold. Our goal was to be in the Quartzsite area in late October so we could empty out the storage area and do away with the monthly $55 fee. We waited to travel south until the temperatures started getting cooler in the National Forest.

Sedona and the Famous Red Rocks 

It was a short, easy drive via I-17 from Flagstaff to the beautiful red rock country of Sedona. Our route, 179, took us through scenic Oak Creek Canyon and an area of tall red rock formations.

Through Oak Creek Canyon and tall red rock formations
Since our last visit some 10-plus years ago, round-abouts had been added. Medians, where possible, separated the traffic flow. The boulevard was a neat effect, and made it easier to look around and enjoy the views. We continued past artsy communities, the Los Abrigados Resort and Spa, and Tlaquepaque, and turned left at the traffic light at the tee.

We continued on the four-lane passing more shopping areas, Diamond Resorts Sedona Summit Resort, and the Western Heritage Cultural Center. A concert had been performed here by Esteban, the world-famous guitarist.

Esteban's Complete Guitar Course for Beginners - Click here

As we left Sedona, headed towards Cottonwood, we could see the town of Jerome sitting high in the mountains. Jerome, with its narrow, winding streets, is a neat place to visit if you have a car or van. We had the opportunity to visit scenic Jerome when we lived in Mesa, Arizona. It was not a place to take the RV.

Boondocking in the National Forest 

Approximately five miles before we got to Cottonwood, we turned right on a side road and followed it until we found a turnoff where other RV’s and campers were boonocked.

Our rig at approximately 41 feet in length ready to boondock.
This particular spot had enough room for us to turn in and be able to get turned around with our overall length of about 41 feet including the RV and our Haulmark trailer. It was convenient to drop the trailer here when we needed to make trips into Cottonwood to get gas, groceries, propane, or go to the post office.

Sun setting with storm clouds floating by
The trips into Cottonwood offered outstanding scenic views of the Sedona Red Rocks. Jeeps, including the pink ones, hosting jeep tours through the Red Rocks, were frequent travelers on the road past our boondocking spot. Other tours, such as the ATVs, drove by single file following the leader.  

Scenic view between Cottonwood and Sedona
Sand burrs at this location were at a premium. They seemed to be everywhere. We could not step outside the door of the RV without getting them on the bottom of our shoes. Angel did pretty good, but if he developed a limp, we simply had to stop and pick the sand burr out of his paw with our bare fingers. Sand burrs stuck to the soles of our shoes. They stuck to the carpet in the bathroom. They were roughly the size of a shelled pea or smaller with pointed thorny points. Finding one with my bare feet was downright annoying.

Walks 

The road was not really that heavily traveled, so we took many walks. We headed west one day, and the next, we walked east. One day Angel and I walked 30 minutes eastward toward Sedona and the Red Rocks, but didn’t even get close to them. On our return trip, a snake was coiled up on the right-hand side of the roadway sunning himself. Angel and I walked clear to the left so as not to invade his space.

Walking toward Sedona with Angel, this Prickly Pear Cactus with blossom fruit was on our right.
Another day all three of us ventured on to another side road and came upon a flying field for radio controlled airplanes. They had quite a setup. The air strip was divided into lanes so multiple planes could land at the same time. They had some picnic tables and also places for sitting. We heard they even sponsored a pancake breakfast.

Venturing out to see things or visit was not always possible. We were beginning to feel the need to get a “daily driver”, a vehicle we could use when the RV was parked to explore things to see in the area. Even our 28-foot RV was not that easy to park in many tight areas.
 
7:30 a.m. and the Wind Outside Our Door 

“Whoosh!” “Whoosh!”  This was the sound of hot air balloons!

Hot air balloons were landing around us
One can never predict the incredible adventures that will surround them! The sights we had not driven to see had come to us! In fact, they woke us up one morning. We had as many as three hot air balloons landing around us. One morning they could not take off at their normal lift-off spot, so they took off from the parking areas around us.

Two of three balloons lifting off around us.

One balloon with large basket of tourists landing near us.

Another balloon landed on the road in front of us..
Deflating the balloon with the basket on the side of the road
The rules for parking in the National Forest were strictly enforced which meant after fourteen days, we needed to move. Our next boondocking spot was in Prescott National Forest south of Cottonwood, where we spent another fourteen days. After we arrived there, I was out walking Angel one morning, and a hot air balloon was close by – close enough we could actually say “Good Morning” to each other in our normal voice. Imagine! WOW!

Saying "Good Morning" to the man in the balloon basket.
After fourteen days south of Cottonwood, it was still too hot to go to Ehrenberg and work on our storage, so we went back to Sedona and spent another seven days in the first location with the sand burrs.

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In the next post, we will see a lot more saguaro cacti as we head to Ehrenberg, where we see incredible sunsets, and clean out the storage with our fold-up trailer in it. Also, I may insert a video I took on one of our trips from our boondocking spot to the highway.

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