Moving On … Down the Road Again

Our plans were to leave Buckeye, Arizona, March 15th around 8:30 a.m. which we actually did!  Weather forecasts had been talking about some gusty winds for March 14th through the 15th.  When you drive an RV towing a car, you have to keep an eye on the weather especially when there might be high winds with strong gusts.  We experienced that for ourselves when we traveled from Sanger, Texas, to Buckeye, and we have NO desire to experience that again!

Anyway, the wind advisory was lifted for the area we were to travel through after 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, so we knew we were good to leave on the 15th.  We left Leaf Verde RV Resort around 8:30 a.m., got on Interstate 10 West, and headed toward California!

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These two pictures were taken somewhere along Interstate 10 between Buckeye, AZ, and the California state line.

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We use an app called AllStays Camp & RV to help us plan our routes, pick RV camps/resorts, and find places to stop for gas and snacks (mostly Flying J’s).  Believe me, it is well worth the $9.99!  We used the app to find a Flying J truck stop where we wanted to get gas just one mile from the California border.

Jack met a man there while putting gas in the RV, and the man asked if we were headed east or west on I 10.  When Jack said we were going west, the man said it was a good thing we didn’t try to go that way the day before.  The highway patrol had closed the highway from that point west into California to all eighteen wheelers and RVs because of dangerous high winds!  We were SO thankful our travel day was March 15th!

Here we are crossing the border and going through the check point into California.

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It was a little windy as we traveled, but it wasn’t bad.  We took Interstate 10 west to a small town, Desert Center, CA, where we turned North on CA State Route 177.  This highway is a little east of Joshua Tree National Park and Sheephole Valley Wilderness.  Route 177 was a nice, two lane road through mostly flat desert terrain.  There wasn’t much traffic on it which was a nice change from the busy Interstate 10.  I’m pretty sure this photo is along Route 177 (you’ll understand why I say “I’m pretty sure” when you see more pictures).

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After about 27 miles, we turned west on CA State Route 62 headed towards our destination:  Twentynine Palms, CA.  State Route 62 goes right through the MIDDLE of Sheephole Valley Wilderness.  And, BELIEVE ME:  It is a desert WILDERNESS like we’ve never seen before!  Don’t get me wrong:  It is beautiful in its own way.  It’s just a little freaky to turn down a road and see NOTHING for miles and miles and miles (we could probably see 10-12 miles, or more, ahead because it was such a beautiful, clear day); no cars, no houses/buildings, no electric lines or poles!  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in sight.  I took a few pictures and then stopped because all the pictures looked the same.  We had to travel on State Route 62 about 40 miles to get to Twentynine Palms.

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This is the first photo I took right after we turned on to State Route 62. There’s NOTHING out there AT ALL!!  Zoom in on the picture, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

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A little farther down Route 62.

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MANY miles after we got on Route 62.

I kept thinking about the early pioneers who traveled West on those covered wagons having to go through all these deserts on their way to California.  Up until now it was interesting to think about and look at.  State Route 62 put real meaning into the “fear” they must have felt crossing THIS desert.  I felt a little fearful myself, and I was in a vehicle that could go the 40 miles in about 40-50 minutes (if it didn’t break down, that is)!  The only thing that gave me comfort was that pole along the side of the road that you saw every couple of miles that said “Emergency Call Box.”

As we traveled along Route 62, I began to notice the edge of the road and the sandy shoulder.  This is such flat land through the valleys and there is so much sand, that I started thinking about really windy day.s  A really bad storm could create quite a sandstorm here.  I wondered if, after a severe sandstorm they would have to “plow” the sand off the highway like the snowplows plow the snow off the highways in Missouri.  Just wondering ……….  Check out the sides of the road:

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STILL….NO ONE in site!

We had been on this road for no telling HOW long.  Far out in the distance we saw a speck on the road.  It looked as if that speck was coming towards us!  Could it be …. maybe it is ….. is it possible????  There are other humans out here?!

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YIPEE!! We’re not alone! We met this RV first, and then we met several other vehicles.

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We met a couple of RVs, several camping trailers, and a car traveling east!  I was so excited to see some other vehicles, I just had to take some pictures!

We saw an area of the desert that was almost completely white.  I have NO idea what this was or what caused it.

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The white area is on the right side about a third of the way down (it looks like the white area is right above the bushes along the right side of the highway.

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We finally got close to Twentynine Palms and started see houses here and there. We also noticed the road was rougher and worn in places from more frequent traffic.  What a relief to reach civilization again!

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You can see the road is more worn here. If you zoom in on the picture you might be able to see some houses on the right side of the road in the distance.

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Again, zoom in and you can see more buildings/houses in the background. On the right side, you can see a “For Sale” sign. I wonder how much an acre of desert land costs out here?

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Now you can easily see some of the town of Twentynine Palms, CA.

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We are finally getting close to the RV park.

We checked in, got the camp and inside of the RV set up, and sat down at the kitchen table and looked out the window.  What a gorgeous view of the San Bernardino Mountains (the highest peak is San Gorgonio Mountain).

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That mountain range is about 100 miles west of Twentynine Palms!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

Grandiose Splender!

March 6th Jack, Zoey, and I headed north for our first ever visit to the Grand Canyon.    We had originally planned to stay in Williams, AZ, and take the Grand Canyon Railway scenic train ride to Grand Canyon Village.  When I called to make the reservations, I was informed that dogs cannot ride on the train (not even in an enclosed carrier), so we had to change our plans.  We did, however, stop in Williams on our way to the Grand Canyon to eat, shop (of course!), and explore a little.

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As with all our trips, the scenery was beautiful as we traveled to the Grand Canyon.

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These mountains are known as the San Francisco Peaks, a group of dormant volcanic peaks. They are about 11 miles north of Flagstaff in the Coconino National Forest. Humphreys Peak is the highest peak in the group and the highest point in the state of Arizona with an elevation of 12,633 feet.

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Williams, which was settled in 1881, now has a population of about 3,000.  It is west of Flagstaff on I 40 and lies on Historic Route 66.  The Historic Downtown District is six square blocks and boasts a rich heritage that features the Old West, Route 66, and tourism.  Williams was the LAST town in the country to have its part of Route 66 bypassed because of lawsuits that kept the last section of I 40 from being built around the town.  The lawsuits were settled and I 40 was completed when the state agreed to build three Williams exits.  On October 13, 1984, Interstate 40 was opened and newspapers around the country reported the end of US 66.   Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985.

Like so many of the “western” small towns that we visited in Arizona, Williams has a lot of historic buildings and interesting things to see.

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One of the trains of the Grand Canyon Railway waiting to take passengers to the Grand Canyon.

We arrived at our hotel, the Red Feather Lodge, in Tusayan, AZ, around 4:00 p.m.  We checked in and got settled quickly because we wanted to hurry up to the Grand Canyon to try to catch the sun setting.  Our hotel was one mile from the entrance to the park.

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From the entrance, it was about a 10-15 drive to the nearest edge of the canyon at Mather Point. By the time we got there, found a place to park, and walked to the Visitors Center, the center was closed. Some nice people gave us directions to Mather Point and the view was fantastic. I took WAY TOO MANY pictures, and I’m sure they all look alike. However, the pictures just don’t do the grandeur of the view justice.  Here are some views from and around Mather Point:

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This is Mather Point (I think 😆; I forget after a couple of days!). It does have a railing, and we did walk out on it. For us: NO railing = NOT walking out on it!!

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We still had a little time before the actual sunset, so we drove to Grand Canyon Village which has several (4-5) resorts/lodges and the depot for the Grand Canyon Railway. This was a much smaller area than I expected considering all the lodging that was there. There just wasn’t anywhere to park unless you were registered at one of the hotels. Jack graciously let me out of the car so I could take some pictures of the sunset while he and Zoey just kind of drove around.  These pictures were taken  from the Grand Canyon Village area during sunset:

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We went back to our hotel, ate some supper, and rested up for the next day of hiking the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.  When we woke up the next morning it was overcast. Unfortunately it was overcast all day, so my pictures aren’t probably as colorful as they would have been on a bright, sunny day.  Oh, well, that’s life.

Thise next day we visited and hiked the area around the Geological Museum.  Then we took Highway 64 east to Desert View Watch Tower.  There were several scenic “pull over and stop” places as well as at least 4 major lookout points (Yaki Point [which was closed to the public], Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point [our FAVORITE!], and Navajo Point), along the 22 mile road to Desert View Watch Tower.  Here are a few photos of the area west and east of the Geological Museum (you can tell it was a cloudy day).

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The next day we were heading back to Buckeye and the RV.  When we woke up and looked outside, the sun was SHINING!  We decided we would take the drive to Desert View Watch Tower again to get some photos of some of the same places with more sunlight.  I won’t bore you with all the “cloudy/overcast” pictures; I’ll just post the sunny day pictures because they are much prettier:

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This is Duck on a Rock (you have to use your imagination to “see” the duck).

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This is the Colorado River which helped to carve out the Grand Canyon. Look on the left about half way down from the top, and you’ll see a black bird sitting on the top of a tree.

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You can see Hance Rapid in the top third of this picture and slightly left of center. Read the information about the rapids in the photo above this one. It’s hard to believe those rapids are 3.8 MILES away from where I was standing! The next photo is also of Hance Rapid but I zoomed in as far as my iPhone would let me.

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This is Desert View Watch Tower as we were walking towards it from the parking lot. The following photos are from this viewing point.

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Desert View Watch Tower is the area of the Grand Canyon where a tragic mid-air collision of two aircrafts occurred in 1956.  Here is a photo of the plaque commemorating the accident and the lives lost, and a photo telling about it and pointing out where the wreckage was found (you’ll have to try to zoom in to read some of it).

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After viewing the Grand Canyon for the last time, we continued on state highway 64 to Cameron, AZ.  We then took highway 89 south to Flagstaff and then took Interstate 17 south.  We had heard a lot about the town of Prescott, AZ, so we decided to take a little detour to check it out.  The whole Prescott Valley is beautiful and has just about anything and everything a person could desire (stores, shopping, restaurants, etc., etc.).  Believe me, it is a very busy place with a lot of people.

Prescott, AZ, has a population of almost 40,000 and is the county seat of Yavapai County.  It was named after William H. Prescott, a writer who was popular during the Civial War.  In 1864 Prescott was named the capital of the Arizona Territory until it was moved to Tucson in 1867; it was moved back to Prescott a few years later until Phoenix became the capital in 1889 (since I taught states and capitals to 5th graders for many years, capitals are of great interest to me).

MORE INTERESTING TIDBITS ABOUT PRESCOTT:

Prescott is home to Arizona Pioneers’ Home and Hospital for Disabled Miners which opened February 1, 1911 (there were A LOT of mines in Arizona during the late 1800s and early 1900s).

Since my husband is all about everything COWBOY, here’s an interesting tidbit about Prescott:  In 1879 Virgil Earp, Wyatt Earp’s older brother, lived in Prescott.  Virgil told Wyatt of the boom town in Tombstone, Arizona (you know – the gunfight at the OK Corral).  There are also rumors that Doc Holliday spent some time in Prescott before heading to Tombstone.

Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott boasts many historic buildings, including The Palace, Arizona’s oldest restaurant and bar.  The Palace is still the oldest frontier saloon in Arizona, and, of course, we had to eat there.

Barry Goldwater launched his presidential campaign from the steps of Prescott’s Yavapai County Courthhouse in 1964.

Here are some photos of historic downtown Prescott including some of The Palace where we ate a late lunch.

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The stairs going up to the bordello.

The next photos show some historical artifacts in display cases inside The Palace.

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After eating a late lunch at The Palace on Thursday, March 8, we headed back to Buckeye.  We had a wonderful visit to the Grand Canyon and fun seeing historic downtown Prescott.

After our trip we had about a week left in Buckeye, AZ.  We will be getting things clean, organized, and packed up to leave here and head to our next destination.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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