Saturday, March 30, 2013


My first train ride—what a thrill!  The Verde Canyon Railroad excursion is a 40 mile return trip from Clarkdale, AZ, to Perkinsville, AZ, taking about four hours.  I rode first class as there were no other openings available so enjoyed the champagne toast and opportunity to partake in lunch (which was off limits because of all the bread and wheat).  Complimentary bottles of water were available as well.   It was an overcast day for the most part and a wonderful photo opportunity.  The open air car was not crowded and the temperature was conducive to staying outside the entire ride.  The trip traverses some flat land but also the Verde Canyon where the walls are six inches away at times.  The curved tunnel was an experience for someone with claustrophobia and my kind husband thankfully did not warn me about that!    We were fortunate enough (but not close enough for pictures) to see a herd of deer grazing in a meadow, two Bald Eagles (one immature and one mature), two Common Black-Hawks and countless butterflies of various colours.  The rock formations and colours were intriguing as were the caves and tales of older civilization.  Perkinsville is still owned by the Perkins family and has been for the past one hundred years so one cannot get off the train there.   I enjoyed the space and opportunity to ride in the fresh air without crowds of people.  A train ride is one more thing off my Bucket List!  I used John’s EOS Rebel XTi with a 28-135 lens for my pictures.
John and Mitzy had a quiet day then we went to Denny’s for supper.

The first three taken by John as the train returns late afternoon

The outside car Aileen spent most of  her time on

The first class car Aileen was assigned to

All the following are Aileen's shots

 Hedgehog Cactus

Perkinsville old train station

Verde River

Friday, March 29, 2013


When I had Mitzy out about 7:30, I heard a whooshing sound and when I looked up, there was a hot air balloon not far away.  Of course the camera was still in the motor home and the long lens was in the car so it took a while to gather my equipment for the pictures.  About 10:30, we packed a lunch and drove out the Cherry Rd.  It turned in to gravel before long but was mostly in great shape as long as you drove slowly.  We gained a couple thousand feet and got some nice views.  The little community of Cherry was anticlimactic as most places seemed run down and there were lots of no trespassing signs.  We found a shady spot just where the pavement started again to have our lunch.    

Desert Holly

The San Francisco Peaks are beyond Flagstaff.  The cliffs in the foreground are the edge of the Colorado Plateau and are known as the Mogollon Rim mentioned often in Western books

Desert Lilac

If you look closely dead center in this image, you will see a few RVs and we are the closest.  Our black motor home is facing nearly straight on and blends in to a white trailer that is a ways behind us.  They are from Gibsons on BC's Sunshine Coast.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Three pronghorns

Entering lower Jerome

Lots of old buildings

The old copper mine is in the background

Old hotel at the top

One way streets to minimize road footprint leaving more room for buildings 

The two snowy peaks are the San Francisco Peaks way beyond Flagstaff

We drove up to Jerome on Tuesday and that was interesting.  The elevation of Jerome is 5,246 feet and there is a few hundred feet difference just in the town.  We saw three pronghorns on the way up which was a bonus as we didn’t know they were native here.  I wandered around Jerome with my camera for a while.  Later, we carried on over the 7,000 foot plus mountain pass to Prescott where we found Bill’s Grill who served a gluten free bun for burgers.  Aileen was all primed for sweet potato fries but I saw a posting (by a customer) on the board mentioning that the fries had a coating on that contained gluten.  Our burgers were very good.  Luckily, no reaction for Aileen.
We wandered home along the Old Black Canyon Highway for all its length.  There were several dirt sections in between fancy subdivisions.   We took 69 then 169 back over to I-17 then a short hop up to Camp Verde in time for Aileen to grab a nap before supper.
We sat through the high pressure sales pitch at 9 Wednesday morning.  It made it seem like this company was the be all end all for us RVers.  There were a number of prices offered but the biggest objection was having to buy right then.  I don’t take to kindly to being stampeded!  I said we’d go back to the motor home and discuss it more, which he grudgingly agreed to.  He seemed to think we’d make up our minds to buy the whole package on the spot.  I went online and it didn’t take long to find lots of dirt on the company so that was the end of it for us.  It looks to me that if a person really wanted to belong to one of these member parks, you can buy resale memberships very cheaply.  We both went to the pool and hot tub in the evening.  No heat on in the pool so it was only 65F but Aileen did go in for a brief swim, very brief!
Today, we moved up the road a few miles to a forest service two week free camping area that we found yesterday.  One of the people’s blog that I read, discussed it a few weeks ago so I had it mind and it wasn’t too hard to find.  It is only a short distance from the pavement and just a few miles from Cottonwood and we can also see Jerome perched up on the mountain above Cottonwood.  There are about a dozen and a half RVs scattered around.  We managed to get a spot at the end of the trail so nobody will park beyond us.  We really struggled with the weak internet in the campground but I didn’t feel like putting up the big antenna for the short time left.  Out here boondocking, we have strong 4G service without even using the booster.   How great is that?
We went to Tuzigoot National Monument late morning to purchase a national parks pass which will also cover us for national forests and the Sedona area.  After we had a look at the inside displays, I walked up to look over the ruins, if that’s the correct term.  Didn’t look like a fun place to live in my estimation.  We grabbed lunch in Cottonwood before heading toward Sedona.
The weather has been hazy ever since we got here and we had the same conditions in Sedona.  We tried to find some different viewpoints from when we visited three years ago.  I worked my way up a series of streets to the base of the red rocks on the west side of Sedona and parked alongside a private yard.  Aileen was most impressed when a large tortoise came wandering over to visit.  It was about three feet long and wasn’t afraid of us or the barking dogs in the yard with it.
We managed to find some new views and got home for a late supper, so no nap for Aileen today.  So far it is pleasantly quiet here even though we can see the cars whizzing by on the highway.  Not sure how busy things will be around here over the long weekend.  We plan to stay here until Monday then perhaps move up to within striking distance of the Grand Canyon.   



A bit of wildlife at Tuzigoot

Some of the rooms at Tuzigoot

The tortoise who came to visit

A series of red rock views

Our new home

My view at supper tonight

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


These first two pictures were taken south east of Florence

The rest of the pictures were taken in Caliente or Florence Gardens

Roses have been blooming for a while


Texas Claret Cup

Fishhook Barrel Cactus