Early morning, May 21st, we head east under partly cloudy skies. The clouds are breaking up after the light rain last night. It is cool and a glorious morning. We head toward Safford AZ, catching Hwy 70, dubbed “The Old West Highway”, toward Lordsburg NM. The drive is pretty and we pass through the Gila Valley, farming country with what must be cotton as I see a ginning plant near the newly planted fields
Some interesting mountains catch my eye
Hooking up the iPod after a potty stop for the boys, oldies take me back to my younger days. A meme from Face Book comes to mind that features Forrest Gump saying “And just like that 1969 was fifty years ago.” Where did the time go? Memories, both good and not so good come flooding back and I catch myself getting a bit maudlin. Time to switch to some classical stuff.
We decide to stay in Lordsburg NM which ends up being a good choice as a ferocious wind arrives soon after we light in the Veteran’s Park, rocking the van and pummeling the trees. After sunset the wind suddenly disappears and we have a peaceful, quiet night; cool, perfect sleeping weather.
There isn’t another soul staying here, and it is a shame that it is so underused. It has covered picnic tables, BBQs, water spigots scattered here and there, and garbage bins. You must be self-contained as there are no toilets facilities, but there is no charge to stay here. The sites are a decent distance apart, and although close to a highway there is little traffic.
We stay two nights and then head east on I-10 toward the beginning of our summer adventure. .Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna
Sunday, May 19, 2001 we point MissAdventure’s nose north. At 3000 feet it is cool and overcast; a perfect morning to take in the Boyce Thompson State Arboretum off Hwy 60 in Superior AZ. The palo verde trees are at their peak of bloom here and it’s a gorgeous drive.
They allow dogs to go along on the walk, and the boys are beyond excited to tag along. I attach their leads and Fries grabs the leash dashing ahead trying to pull me along.
I pay the $12.50 entrance fee and we begin the mile and half loop, with many side trails to explore, that meanders through the canyon showing off its collection of desert plants and trees. It is spectacular!
A nice surprise as we come down off the trail and back to the beginning, a docent suggests the demonstration garden near the parking lot and exit. A rose garden!!Delightful!
Continuing on we stop at Oak Flat Camp Ground nestled off Hwy 60 in the Tonto National Forest to camp for a couple of days. It is cool here with shade. Not much has changed since we were here two years ago.
Monday is cool, but windy, and we get some rain during the night. Enough moisture to dampen the ground, but being parked under the trees MissAdventure comes out of it looking like a spotted green thing of unknown origin.
This is a free Forest Service campground with tables, fire rings, and vault toilets.
It feels good to be back on the road. It was quite a feat to get to this point—delays in getting delivery on my car, delays getting a package I ordered—but finally we are on our way. May 18, 2019 we are up at first light getting the final items on the To-Do List marked off, and we head east to Buckeye, AZ where The Chiweenie Brothers get in a couple of hours of dog park time.
It’s a lovely, well-kept park with shady sitting areas, a side for the big dogs, and a side for little whippersnappers like Charlie and Fries. They spend a couple of hours running, sniffing, and, of course, marking everything.
With the intention of staying around the area for the night I look at the time and Lordy, it is only 11:30! What say, Boys, shall we travel on? They agree, and are ready to roll.
From Buckeye we turn south and drop down to Gila Bend where we eat our lunch at the 9/11 Memorial Park, a tiny park with a couple of concrete picnic tables, lots of lush green grass, some shade to park in, and not a single soul here.
It’s heartbreaking to relive, in my mind, that horrible day in 2001 when the world as we knew it disappeared. I will never forget where I was that day. Had stopped in Merced, CA to fuel up the truck and walking into the TA Travel Center noticed everyone in the store huddled around the television area, not a sound coming from anyone. Images of the Twin Towers in New York City on fire kept everyone’s attention . . .
Years later, Gila Bend was one of the towns that applied for and received a piece of the demolished Twin Towers and a volunteer went to NYC to haul the piece back to this town in Arizona and this little park was built around it. Solemnly we I gaze upon this piece of our history.
I decide I want to drive some more, and we head east again, to Coolidge, AZ where I buy supplies and here is where we stay the night.
Thanks for coming along on this summer’s adventure. Nope, not telling where that will be yet, but soon!
The middle of April arrives, warm-then-cool-then-warm-then-hot and the cacti, loving the heat, begin to bloom. While I don’t get to see the full-blown spectacle, I do get a wonderful glimpse of what will be. It is breathtaking, and the brittle bush is still showing off, too.
Wanting to stay for the flower show in all its glory but knowing I need to get to Cali to arrange to have my car transported and pick up as much of my stuff stored at my sister’s that will fit in the van the boys and I reluctantly head out. Well, I am reluctant. The boys are thrilled to be out on the road again. Little do they know it is going to be a rocket trip to Cali and back to Arizona in an attempt to get everything buttoned up before the triple digits hit and we need to head to higher ground.
Once at my sister’s we wait in anticipation of the registration and plates for the Honda to arrive. Let’s just say ol’ Murphy shook me good this time around, but they do eventually arrive.
After leaving my sister’s we head to Red Bluff where I pick up my genealogy file cabinet, toss some Easter goodies to the grands who are home on Spring Break, then head up Hwy 36. Never having been to Greenville or Quincy I opt to follow the south side of Lake Almanor and seriously regret not bringing my camera, but the idea was to get as many stored belongings as possible into the van, so I brought not a single extra thing. I will do this route again someday because there are definitely some photo-worthy scenery along this route.
Having gotten a later start in the day than normal on travel days we end up at Hallelujah Junction, a spot for trucks and other travelers to stop for the night, get gas or snacks at the little store, or park for a nap. It is about 20 miles or so west of Reno, NV.
Tired and hungry I grab a peanut butter sandwich, let the dogs do a hike (of their leg) and settle in for the night. I am awakened from a dead sleep by a noise I can’t place, but it is something moving, and it is very close by. Pulling an eye open I notice the whirling of red lights being reflected in the silver windshield cover. What the heck?
I reach above my head and pull the window covering aside to get a look at what is making the noise and my heart stops for a beat or two. My first sleep fogged thought is my God a spaceship is landing! Not 30 feet from MissAdventure something big is settling onto the tarmac. I can barely make out the craft on this moonless night, but a tornado cloud of dust they are creating is highlighted by some unseen source of light. Unnerved and still trying to pull out of the sleep coma, my brain registers that the front windows are open and the whirling dirt being generated by this craft is unbelievable.
The good news: It isn’t a space ship and more than our lives are saved this night. It is a medical helicopter that swooped in and loaded up some poor soul to whisk him off into the dark night. Other than that the trip back is uneventful. And I do not apologize for the mistaken identity of that bird. When I sleep, I sleep hard, it is my brain that doesn’t function well when awoken from that state. Ha!
Palo Verde in Bloom
The Palo Verde are in bloom when we return to Q!
Yes, the trip was fast, but Murphy kept us entertained in delays with the registration of my Honda, delays getting transport of the car secured, and once back in Arizona we hit 100 for a few days in row which necessitated getting the evaporative cooler going, which I discover has a broken pump.
All is on track once again and I am in the process of getting us ready to head out on our summer and fall adventure. Where do you think we are heading?
Thanks for stopping by! Looking forward to being back on the road and doing regular posts again. Hugs, Shawna