Friday, February 27, 2015

Travel Day to Las Vegas and Random Thoughts

Location: Duck Creek RV Park (el. 1,700 ft); Las Vegas, Nevada

(click pictures to enlarge)

Freedom and Liberty hitched and ready to go.

The electricity clicked off around 6:00 am yesterday morning which meant the ceramic heaters stopped. I had propane and battery power so I could have used the furnace but it wasn't too chilly, so I decided to just take my time hitching up and stop for my coffee on the way. The picture above is from the Wikieup campground. I had just finished hitching up and performed my walk-around. The last thing I always do is to shut and lock my storage bay door. Then it is time to climb into Freedom, put her in gear and see what is down the road. I've done this close to 100 times now and each time is just like the first. It is exciting to know that I will be heading into new places and sometimes see things I haven't seen before. It is wonderful to be cruising down the road and knowing something amazing is going to be just over the next hill or around the next curve. Those are the "wow" moments. When you top a hill and and the landscape screams out with its beauty and uniqueness. At times like that, all I can say is "wow". I used to just say it in my head since nobody is there to hear me. After awhile, I just said to heck with it and say it out load. Saying it out loud makes a big difference. It may be a sign of craziness, but, oh well, everyone needs to be a little crazy about something. 

Truck stop just east of Kingman, AZ
The picture above is from the truck stop along the way. I like the snow on the mountain tops and the trees with their top-knot branches. I didn't need gas, but I did need a cup of coffee. Once inside I had two choices, Dunkin Donuts or the Iron Skillet restaurant. Hmmmmm, I figured I had time to waste since I left early so I chose the Iron Skillet with plans to get coffee and maybe a light breakfast. Ut oh!!!!! they had a breakfast buffet. OK, OK, the light breakfast turned into a heavy breakfast, but the coffee was good (so was the bacon).

Just a little north of Kingman, AZ
 I've gotten pretty good at predicting when interesting things are about to come into view. It gives me time to get my cell phone ready to snap a few. If I have enough time, I can let traffic get ahead or to pass me so I can safely take the pictures. The picture above is right as you top the mountain north of Kingman on U.S. 93 and begin to go down into the valley. To me, the picture shows what it is all about with me traveling around. I have an almost empty highway, on a beautiful day, traveling in a reliable vehicle, towing my home and with the promise of something new ahead. It is a combination of excitement and contentment all rolled into one package. Freedom and Liberty at their best. :)

The long valley between Kingman, AZ and Boulder City, NV
After the mountains, there always seems to be a valley. I guess this is true of life and on the road. This valley, between Kingman, AZ and Boulder City, NV is long and flat. I'm glad I crossed it with temperatures in the low to mid 60's. I would hate to be here in the middle of the summer with 100+ degree days. The weather made for an easy crossing.

Approaching Boulder City, NV
The above picture is after crossing the valley. It is the first view of the rugged landscape of this area. This was in stark contrast to the lower valley where every mile was the same as the one before. Up here, each curve and hill brought something new. Hoover Dam is just ahead but you can not see it from the new bridge crossing the canyon. Traffic increased dramatically as I approached Boulder City, which seems as though it is a subburb of Las Vegas. There were some good views, but I couldn't take any more pictures due to the traffic. 

I found the campground and moved in. The campground participates in Passport America (PA) which means I get the campsite for half price. Each campground can establish restrictions on how many, and which days they offer the half price. This campground limits it to 7 days which is longer than any other PA place I've stayed. I decided to take advantage of their 7 day offer and if I get too bored in this little desert town, I can always move on even if I have to forfeit some money. 

After getting set up in the campsite, I went to find a place to eat and cruise the town a little. I found two interesting sights before returning to the campground. 
Pawn shop from the Pawn Stars TV show
 The pawn shop is small and located in a crowded area. The TV show represents the location as being something entirely different. I didn't go inside, maybe another time.

Now this is truth in advertising. The "Heart Attack Grill",,,,"over 350 lbs eats free". 

I thought I was getting back to the campground around 6:00 pm but it was really 4:00 pm. I'm still not used to this Pacific Time Zone. The only time-piece I have with accurate time is my cell phone because it resets itself based on my location.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Slow Drive Over The Mountain (mostly pictures)

Location: Dazzo's Restaurant and RV Park (el. 2,000 ft); Wikieup, Arizona

(click pictures to enlarge)

The one thing I came to Wikieup to do was to make the trip over the mountains on Chicken Springs Road. I not only wanted to see the views along the route but I was also interested in something I had seen on Google Earth. In the valley on the other side of the western mountains it appeared, on Google Earth, that the valley had been subdivided into 1 mile by 1/2 mile grids. Dirt roads had been bladed straight as an arrow with each road having a unique western name such as, Dale Evan Road, John Wayne Road, etc. I wanted to see what this looked like in person and Chicken Springs Road would take me right to it. 

I leave here tomorrow and I'm not sure yet which direction I'm going to go. I guess I'll make that decision when I pull out onto the highway and either turn north or south. 

The rest of this post will be pictures with captions. 
This is the beginning of Chicken Springs Road. It was wide and smooth. That description would apply to about 2 miles of its 15 mile length.

A warning sign,,, but it doesn't seem appropriate at this location, but I knew it would up ahead.

This is one of the low shoulders they were warning about.

I took this picture because the rocks looked interesting. As I was downloading the pictures from my cell phone to the laptop, I noticed the pinkish light coming down from the upper left. My first impression was of God looking down on his creations. After looking a little more, the rocks looked to be of a child looking back up to God. The flat rock on top would be the child's hair and the bump on the left would be his nose. The rocks on the farthest right would be his hand with one finger pointing up, which was the symbol in the 70's meaning "One Way" (through Jesus). 

These were the first live things I saw on the road after about 10 miles. I was only able to drive about 10 mph over most of the road so this was after about one hour of driving.

This is the valley on the other side of the mountains. It is the one that Google Earth showed as being subdivided.

One of the many roads that has been built in the valley, complete with Street Sign (Bonanza Road) and Stop Sign. I didn't go down any of the streets because Google Earth also showed a couple trailers/houses scattered out in the valley. I figured some of them may be survivalists that are living off the grid and those type of people don't take kindly to strangers. They may have confused me with "the government coming to help them".

This is the beginning of the return trip of 15 miles. On the right is one of the many Joshua Trees in this area. They were named by the Mormons that passed through the west. The trees reminded them of Joshua with hands held out in prayer. 

Road leading to the mountains that are to be crossed.

This is the entrance to the only ranch along the road. I'm not an expert in Brands, but I figure that brand is the "Bar S".

As I was taking a picture of the entrance to the Bar S, this pitiful creature came walking out of the desert. I hadn't seen anything move in a couple hours so it gave me a start. One horn up and one down. He looked to have had a rough life. He just walked by me on his way to the watering trough.

One of the views from the top of the mountain looking down into the valley where I'm camped.

Another view from the top, looking east. You can see the road leading to the valley below.

I had to get Freedom in one of the pictures.

That is the town of Wikieup down below. Liberty is parked down there beneath the big American flag.

This is the picture from yesterday where you were suppose to try to see the "Sleeping Maiden".

This the clue to finding the maiden.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Moving Day to Wikieup, Arizona

Location: Dazzo's Resturant and RV Park (El. 2,000 ft), Wikieup, Arizona

(click pictures to enlarge)

It was time to move on. I had been in Prescott Valley for 4 days and although there were other things to see and do, I felt the need to move. I still like my original traveling philosophy I decided on last year. That philosophy is to move into a place, see one or two things, then move on down the road. People always tell me I'm missing a lot of stuff and that is true, but the way I see it is this: Number 1 and 2 things to see down the road, in most cases, will be better than number 3 and 4 where I'm at and since my house has wheels,,,,,then let them roll..

This morning, the snowy weather was just over the mountains to my east and the clouds were hanging low. There was a cold chill in the air as if it was rolling down the mountains into the valley, but the sky was clear in the direction I was heading. I had postponed hitching up Liberty as long as I could while hoping it would warm up a bit. I finally pulled out of the campground around 11:00. I liked the landscape around here very much. The open valley, with it's far away views, was peaceful. Although in the desert to the south, you could see far away, it was different here in that the landscape was more mellow. The desert is so harsh. 

Snow clouds over the eastern mountains

This is the open-ness of this area. Much better than the desert.

The place I was heading was only about 75 miles away, as the crow flies. But with Liberty in tow, I couldn't take the direct route over the mountains due to the "kiss your a$$" curves on that route. So, instead, I had to go about 160 miles around the mountains. It was a longer route but with gentler grades and curves. Even so, I topped out about 6,600 feet in elevation going around. I'm down to about 2,000 feet at this campground and I can feel the difference. Breathing easier and more "pep in the step". :)
This is some of the country I drove through today.

That's my exit and those are the Rockies in the distance. So far I've only been going through the foothills. I'll tackle them in a week or two.

I will be in Wikieup for only 2 days before moving again. There is a county road I want to explore while I'm here. Its name is Chicken Springs Road and it leads over the mountains to the west of here. It is suppose to be a very nice drive albeit on a dirt road. I hope there is some traffic on the road in case Freedom has trouble. I don't like the idea of being broke down in the middle of nowhere on a mountain road. If I don't blog for a few days, send someone out to Chicken Springs Road to find me. Hopefully, I'll have some good pictures for the blog tomorrow.
Got to love a town with a sense of humor. Best city limit sign so far. :)

I chose the RV park with the big American flag. They are also a Passport America campground so the 2 days are half price. $10.00 a night isn't bad at all.

Simple and plain but with full hook-ups.

These are the mountains to the east of the campground. The shape of parts of them is of ,,,,"the sleeping maiden". Do you see her? I will call her out in tomorrows post.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mountain Views, Mining Town and Vortexes

Location: Fairgrounds RV Park (El. 5,100 ft); Prescott Valley, Arizona

(click pictures to enlarge)

This part of Arizona is basically divided into valleys and mountain ranges. They generally run north and south with the valleys being the location of towns and communities. The town of Sedona (home of spiritual vortexes?) is located one valley to the east from Prescott Valley. The mountain range in between is part of the Prescott National Forest. My plan yesterday was to head to Sedona with stops along the way to look at some national forest campgrounds. 

The picture above was my coffee drinking, sunrise, view yesterday morning before beginning my road exploration. The picture was taken from the steps going into Liberty. That is her side on the right. I liked the reflection and since I was headed to Sedona, I said "groovy" when I saw it. Younger folks can ask older folks about the term. :)

I pulled out about 9:00 and dressed in long pants and long sleeve shirt because I knew it would be chilly at the top of the mountains which were a couple thousand feet higher than the valley. I even threw my jacket in Freedom, just in case. So with fancy camera and binoculars I hit the road. 

The road leading to the mountains is right in front of the campground and you can easily see the mountains. The trip to the top was uneventful and Freedom pulled the steep grades easily. 
Conveniently located elevation marker at the intersection at the summit of the mountain range.
There is an intersection at the summit. The road to the north is paved and leads to the campgrounds I wanted to check out. About 2 miles down that road I reached a locked gate with a note saying campgrounds closed until April 1st. Well, that answered that for me, I won't be around that long. I turned around and decided to explore the other leg of the intersection. It was a dirt road that was badly "washboarded" in places. I didn't see anyone on either road and the view from the dirt road was nice in places. After a few miles of very slow driving because of the road conditions and having went up in elevation about 700 more feet, I reached another intersection. The southern leg was gated like the other place with a note about the campground being closed. The eastern leg looked like an old logging road which didn't look promising at all. The western leg was a better looking road and surprisingly had what looked like a new pick-up parked along the side. No one was in the truck so I assumed they were off hiking or tent camping. Having seen enough and with other things planned to see along the main road, I turned around. 
Dirt road leg of the intersection. This stretch was smooth.

Looking back on the road. The road on the right side of this picture is the stretch of road in the picture above.

More looking back

I was glad Freedoms brakes had been recently checked as I pulled close to the edge for a look-see.
After I got back to the main road I continued on towards Sedona. The views going down the mountain were much better than going up. 

A peek at the valley ahead.

I like this picture of the valley, curved road, plant on the side and the wall of mountains in the distance. I was able to stop to take this one, but kept a close eye in my mirrors. If someone knows the name of the plant, please share. I looked online, but only briefly.
Between Prescott Valley and Sedona is the old mining town of Jerome. When you hear of mining in the west, you naturally think of silver and gold. But in this case, it was copper. At it's heyday, they were pulling 3 million pounds of copper per month out of the ground. The town is located on the side of the mountain and at one time was home to nearly 50,000 people. The last of the mines closed in 1953 and the town almost dried up but in 1967 it was named as a National Historic District which helped save the town. Today, there are about 400 permanent residents and it is home to a pretty good tourist trade. As I drove through, I saw shop after shop selling the typical things in a tourist town. Since I didn't need any of those things, I continued on to the State Park Mining Museum. I toured the museum which was pretty interesting and well worth the $5.00 entry fee. 

One of the statements made at the museum got me to thinking. It was said that the copper was placed there by an underwater "hotspot" (mini volcano) millions of years ago. They contended this area was several hundred feet underwater at the time. I remembered something I had read years ago about the depth of water on the planet if all of the surface ice melted. That depth was supposedly about 200 feet. For this area of Arizona, at an elevation of 5,000 feet to be several hundred feet underwater would mean other parts of the country would be underwater by a mile or more. Hummm. Maybe, maybe not. In my simple mind, there either has to be a lot more water locked up in ice now a days or the earth had to be a lot smaller millions of years ago. There is actually a "growing earth" theory about this, but I won't go into it here. It is just one more of those things that makes me say, "maybe, maybe not" when someone talks in definite terms about something that happened millions of years ago. 
Looking up that the mine locations from the museum.

Looking down into the valley towards Sedona.

I made it to Sedona and was interested in seeing if I could feel the "good vibrations" that are supposed to be part of this area. I stopped at a couple places to sit and see if the vibrations would overtake me. They didn't. I had read about a Buddist Stupa being located in Sedona so I figured maybe the Buddist placed it at a vortex. I found the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. It is a real stupa created by the buddists. A stupa is a bell like structure that contains relics and millions of written prayers and affirmations inside. It is suppose to be able to multiply and broadcast a persons prayer as they walk clockwise around it 3 times or sit in front of it and meditate. I did feel a sense of peace from the place but that may have been from the nice and peaceful surroundings. It was a nice exploration stop.
The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park

The mountains surrounding the stupa. 

I spent some time on this "thinking bench" which is not directly in front of the stupa but more to the side. I figured I may pick up some sideways vibrations. I did have a peaceful feeling, but that may have been the altitude.

The only other vortexes I found in Sedona were commercialized, tourist-trap ones. For example, there are "liquid vortexes", otherwise known as bars. There are "frozen vortexes", which is the ice cream stands. 

I admit I didn't go to the exact locations that are listed as vortex locations and if you go, you may be enlightened. What I saw was a retirement town for old hippies from the 60's. 

It was a nice trip and the kind I like to do. 

Views on the way back to the campground. I went back on a different road.

I nice pull-off on the way back to the campground.

To answer an email question. The nearest town to the campground is Prescott Valley. The town of Prescott is about 10 miles away and yes, that was the hometown of the young woman who was killed by ISIS a while back. Thoughts and prayers go out to the grieving family and friends of this brave humanitarian worker. Thoughts and prayers also go out to the leaders of our country to be given strength and wisdom to end the evil doings of ISIS and their like.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.   

Friday, February 20, 2015

Moving Day to Prescott Valley, AZ

Location: Fairgrounds RV Park (El. 5,100 ft); Prescott Valley, Arizona

(click pictures to enlarge)

I moved about 120 miles north to Prescott Valley. It is very pretty country and vastly different from the dessert conditions of southern Arizona and West Texas. The area about Prescott Valley is largely wide open grasslands bordered by mountains to the east and west. It was an ideal location to raise cattle using the mountains as natural fences. It is also located within easy driving distance to Prescott National Forest. I will be exploring it for possible boondocking campgrounds.

Also within driving distance is the town of Sedona, Arizona. I have heard about this town for decades. It is suppose to be the location of some sort of spiritual vortex or good vibration place. I have talked to people who have felt these vibrations and I am curious to see if I can feel them. 

I don't have much else to post today since all I was able to do after setting up camp was to find a gas station and Walmart.

Unless things change, I plan to drive to Sedona tomorrow. 

This was a nice view from the Rest Area on the way to Prescott Valley

Typical countryside along the way

More countryside

The large grasslands in the valley

Strange rock formations near Prescott

Campground in Prescott Valley.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.