Friday, October 28, 2016

not much

We've been busy doing not much of anything.   It's been decided we'll stay put for a couple weeks so the urgency to get out and see everything has lessened.

As a result we've been living lazily, enjoying second cup and happy hour in our large "yard", playing ball with you know who....

Behind our wall is the Boulder City Fire House and sometimes the guys use the dead-end street for training and testing of their equipment.   Dave finds it quite interesting to watch.

We've done a bit of exploring our area for groceries, dog food and supplies, etc. and took a short drive down to the Lake, always to the water first.

crossing the river

We made a few plans for the rest of the month, read outside in the warm sun, and took Lewis for runs on the abandoned runway behind the Elks Lodge.

Dave spent some time this afternoon figuring out how and where to install the new engine fire suppression system he just ordered.

 I told you there isn't much to tell!       There are lots of things to do in this area, however, so we'll get started soon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Williams wrap up

Our last few day in Williams were spent wandering the plentiful Forest Service roads both north and south of our campgrounds.

One day we unfolded our HUGE Forest Service (Williams section) paper map and used it to find Dogtown Reservoir.

The nicely wooded campground was closed and there were only 2 or 3 people fishing on the lake.   We watched an Osprey work one end of the reservoir, I think it was the same one that Jodee saw here!     We walked along the shore a bit then got back in the jeep to see if we could find White Horse Lake.    It didn't seem like it wouldn't be too hard to find,  we had our ginormouse crinkly map after all.....

Unfortunately the mammoth map and the markers on the diverging trails bore little resemblance to one another.  On the map, FS 741 - on the marker, FS 3295.    On the map 140C, on the marker 140SL.    Finally we found one road where the marker and the map agreed AND was going in the correct direction.   We took it and drove about 15 minutes until it abruptly ended.    Alrighty then, back we go!

We passed many lovely private campsites on forest service land, spots that I would love to camp at some time if we could ever find them again.  

We passed a nicely signed lake that wasn't a lake and ended up in an area choked with smoke from another prescribed burn.    Enough, we went home.

Another day we packed up sweet Lewis and drove back to the closed campground area at Dogtown Lake.....we knew how to find it.

It was an absolutely beautiful day, sunny and just warm enough.   No one around.
Lewis so enjoyed his long walk in the woods with his ball (us too, he enjoyed walking with us, too).    The pine needles were soft on his feet and there were no scary bikes zooming up from behind.

Nuthatches yammered and flitted along with us from tree to tree as if they were bored by this empty campground and trail, happy to have people to talk at again.

clump of mushrooms pushing up through the trail

Lewis happily climbed up and over every new thing he encountered, a log bench, a huge rustic stone fireplace in the group camping area, downed logs, he enjoyed them all.

up and over!

King of the Forest
(pay no attention to the pine needles in the King's ears)

After walking all the loops (almost 2 miles!) we piled back in the jeep, determined to find White Horse Lake.   We found it, after a long washboardy drive, we found it.     The road in was closed.    I hate when that happens!

We were all tired so we gave up and headed home just in time for happy hour.

Another day Dave and I drove into the historic district of Flagstaff.   We were going to park and walk the streets, but it was Sunday and the area was just too crowded.   We looked around a bit, found a neat old church beginning to kneel from neglect, and then took the road out of town,  leading to the Snow Bowl.

It was a beautiful ride through groves of aspen, mostly bare of their spectacular fall foliage, but every bit as picturesque.

not all choose the same path......

At the top people were lining up for lift rides up to the near 12,000 ft summit.   We watched for awhile before heading down to continue our ride.

We were scheduled to leave Williams on Sunday, but we opted to extend our stay by one day to avoid driving Beluga on another very windy day.   We've learned our lesson!    It was a good choice because it blew and rained and thundered most of  the afternoon and through the night.

We had a great drive west today and tonight we're settled into a nice large site at the Boulder City, Nevada Elk's Lodge.    We'll be here for a week or two before turning south for Thanksgiving in San Diego.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A tourist day

The internet has been very slow the past few days so I haven't tried to load pictures or do a blog.  

We're enjoying our time here in Williams.   Its a neat old tourist town on historic route 66 that is thriving as a result of the daily train trips up to the Grand Canyon and the well oiled machine that supports it.   Decent restaurants, decent Safeway, decent kennel for guests, kitchy shops, historic little main street peppered with period cars and signs, clean, convenient rv park, large hotel all working to the train's schedule while managing to keep a low key vibe.

Thursday we succumbed to the lure of the train.   Dave thought a two hour drive with nothing to do but look out the window and enjoy the views sounded luxurious.

For most of the trips modern diesel engines pull the train but on Saturdays, and for special trips (pumpkin patch trip and the Polar Express excursion) two restored steam engines are used.   They have been refitted to use vegetable oil and collected water for fuel and steam.

I selected a first class ticket in the Desert View car, mostly because of the nicer seating, larger windows and the ability to have second cup along the way!

The Railway line has done an excellent job refurbishing the old train cars.  The fit and finishes are lovely in the first class and dome car sections.    Each car has a bar man and guide who answers questions, talks about what we're seeing as we move along, the logistics of arrival in the Grand Canyon, and just generally chats with the passengers.

second cup in the sun

We enjoyed the calm, rhythmic ride and the changing scenery.  It was lovely to move along, shoes off, feet up enjoying second cup.   I didn't even mind the occasional strolling cowboy musician.   When in Rome, right?

Since we were playing "tourist" I decided to go all the way and signed up for an hour and a half tour once we arrived at the Rim.   Our driver was pleasant, well informed and altogether very interesting.   We got to see a few areas that we otherwise wouldn't have gotten to (unless we caught one of the very full shuttles that run along the passenger cars).

I had forgotten the scale.....the sheer distances we were able to see, across and down.    We visited Mohave, Hopi and another viewpoint I can't remember the name of.    The light was not good for photography, I think it must take hours of waiting to get it just right.  

After the tour was finished we had lunch then walked around, visiting the mules used for the trips to the bottom of the canyon and historic El Tovar hotel.


They looked to be in good shape but were definitely enjoying their down time by rolling in the dust, eating, or simply snoozing in the sun.


I booked coach tickets for the ride back because of a computer glitch that wouldn't let me have the same seats we had on the northbound trip.   The guide in the coach knew we hadn't traveled with him before and asked what car we had arrived in.   He rolled his eyes and told us that they were having some problems with that particular site and he was sorry for the confusion.    I didn't mind it at cushy seats or snacks, but these coaches were restored as nicely as the higher class ones and were very comfortable.

In this coach there were more young children.  They were obviously enjoying their day, full of enthusiasm and good questions.   Our guide was personable and clearly liked having kids in his car.

We had a robbery.....a group of 4 bandits came galloping along the train, guns blazing and forced a stop.   They boarded the train to the screams and cheers of the children!   If it had been a car of all adults, it wouldn't have been enjoyable but the earnestness (is that a word?) of the kids, the little hands in the air, their serious faces, the timid questions made the theatrics worthwhile.     After the bandits moved on the children didn't stop chattering about the exciting experience!   I'm just glad I didn't have to share a hotel room with them that night!

All in all it was a really fun day.    I'm glad we played tourist for a day.

p.s.  Lewis wants you to know he's having a good time too!   Second cup outside Beluga always brings a little play time and he thinks he's going for a long walk in the forest today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Again the wind

"is that my sister?"

Yesterday morning we all had a de ja vu moment as we broke camp and prepared to leave the Holbrook KOA.

Missy swoons, Elvis investigates possibilities

The motor home in front of us was packing up to leave also and when their door opened, a big old black lab girl spilled out.     Dave couldn't resist and had to go over to meet her.    Her tiny "brother" Elvis immediately found the treat pocket as
Dave petted and scratched old Missy.

Note to self.....remember to read notes to self.    We had vowed not to drive on a day that high wind warnings were issued.      Yesterday we ignored our own advice and drove west on I-40 on another of those horrendously windy days.

Flap, flap, flap went Beluga's bra.   Once again we pulled over and Dave tore off the remaining snaps and wrestled it into one of the basement compartments.

once again the wind tries to rip Beluga's bra away from Dave

A little further down the highway and the slide topper began to unroll and blow up over the roof and then crash down over the side window.    Sheesh, how stupid were we to start out on this kind of day....again!

This time a huge Casino came into view so we pulled into their large parking lot, out of the wind, and Dave used what supplies he had to wire and tire the slide topper and window shade down.      We had the choice of staying in the parking lot overnight (it was just noon) and wait out the wind, or continue 50 more miles to our next reservation in Williams, Arizona.     Since everything that could flap or unroll were already taken care of we decided to push on.

We arrived safely and settled into our site at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Resort in Williams.   We'll be here for the next week.  

second cup in the sun

Lewis enjoys postprandial play in the stones

We originally reserved only one night, but we're all happy here and with our Passport America discount we couldn't find a cheaper place to stay so we've extended to a week.

We're in a back in site on the end of a row and have a decent view of the piney mountains and grassy fields.    The railroad tracks are directly on the other side of the park and trains rumble through, horns blaring.    Its funny, neither of us mind the trains one bit.    We both talked about that fact this morning as a passenger trains passed us at second cup.     We're not sure if it was our Mexican motorhome/train trip experience in 2002 that instilled a pleasant association with the noise or if the distant rumble and staccato horn blasts remind us of the ships passing through the St. Lawrence River in the 1000 Islands.    No matter, we do enjoy seeing and hearing trains.

Our original plan was to drive Beluga down to Sedona tomorrow and stay at the Elks Lodge at the foot of Airport Mesa but,  since they don't take reservations,  we were hesitant to make the difficult drive only to find out there was no room at the inn.   Today we took the Jeep down to check out the situation, to see how full they were.

On the way we encountered two separate prescribed burns in the National Forest.  It seemed foolish to us to burn on such windy days, but they were doing just that.

We stopped above Oak Creek on 89A for lunch.   Lewis was with us and the plan was to stop for a quick romp in the water after eating, but we hadn't foreseen how many people we would encounter in the canyon.

We scrapped those plans and just enjoyed the spectacular red rock views on the way to the Lodge.

Sedona has embraced  so many people, it offers its beauty to all.    We selfishly wish it wasn't so, that we still had it to ourselves as we did in the 70's when it was a sleepy little town at the feet of those unbelievably magnificent rocks.   Almost a secret place.

Today accessing it's beauty requires a bit of patience.