Four Corners! I always wanted to be in four states at one time, and I can’t imagine anything that would top the Cliff Dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park, so we bypass Canyons of the Ancients and Hovenweep, heading to Four Corners.
We head west on Hwy 160 and drop back into high desert where the scenery reminds me of Monument Valley in Arizona.
Four Corners Monument is privately owned by the Navajo Indians. They charge a $5 entrance fee, which is reasonable, and all along the outer perimeter of where the four states of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet are vendors hawking everything from food to T-shirts. These items aren’t so reasonable.
I wait my turn behind a group taking selfies and group shots of themselves planted on the Four Corners intersection, then grab my own photo of being in four states at once.
Mentally crossing Four Corners off my bucket list, I go get The Boys out of the van, and we wander around the area outside of Vendor Square. I spot a sign in the distance, and we walk over to see what that is all about.
It’s a trail that takes one down into the canyon below. Beautiful, but it looks like quite a hike back up out of there so, no Boys, we’re not going down there. It’s warming right up, and a sign warning about snakes keeps us at the top lest we change our minds. I walk the guys around the dirt parking lot for a bit before heading out.
Back out on the highway we loop back around and begin heading back east toward Shiprock, spotting some interesting sights to stop and photograph.
It’s good to have photos to show you again. Lesson learned on that!
Thanks coming to Four Corners with us! 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
Wow, the weather is really warming up. It is time to button up our little oasis in the desert and head out to somewhere cooler. Little oasis in the desert? What’s this? Welllll. Let me explain.
This past winter was a bit of an eye-opener for me. The wet, the cold (comparatively speaking to the rest of the country), the wind. The boys and I spent a lot of time inside the van. I love to read, but there is only so much one can do before it becomes reading-by-rote and nothing sticks! When I started having to re-read the previous chapter to remember what went before I realized that another winter like this past one would not be good for my mental health, not to mention two rambunctious wild wiener dogs that were mad for exercise.
After much thought and knowing there weren’t too many places that would be warmer than right here in Q, I made the decision to buy a lot and have a permanent place to roost during the winter months.
This little oasis in the middle of “civilization” will also allow me to have my crafting stuff and my genealogy paperwork at hand. Perfect time to work on the family history! I am healthier and happier with some kind of project in the works and having a permanent spot to light while waiting for winter to run its course is the answer to several concerns.
Next will be a trip back to Cali to haul my stuff out of storage and get it and my Honda back to AZ where it will all be stashed away until our return in late fall. We are NOT giving up our travels, just facing the reality that there is no place better than in right here in Quartzsite to spend the winter months. This decision will, no doubt, insure that another winter like the last one is not going to happen. Ha!
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna and The Chiweenie Brothers
CURRENT READ: Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream by Carson Vaughn
Note: While on my way back south from South Dakota after establishing my residency almost two years ago I dropped down into the northeastern part of Nebraska and along the road was a hand painted wooden sign on which was written Zoo Nebraska. I thought it odd. There was no other signage to indicate there was an actual zoo nearby and we traveled on. That sign, as you’ve surely figured out, was for the zoo in the above mentioned book.
It is early morning, and a gorgeous spring day in the Sonoran Desert. The weather is warming up, and the time is right for another trip out along the Bouse Cutoff road to hunt for blooming cacti. I repeat, surely they must be in bloom by now. Nope, the cholla show new growth, but no blooms. Hmmm. Going to have to read up on this prickly situation.
I walk around and enjoy the cool morning air keeping an out for snakes. The rattlers are out, and I certainly do not want to get bit nor do I want The Chiweenie Brothers to tangle with one of these venomous serpents.
The lizards are also out. Charlie is loving this!
As the morning grows warmer we head back to Q. It is time to begin thinking about where we will spend the hot summer months coming up. I have a few destinations in mind, but haven’t decided which it will be.
Toward the end of the month I make a run to Bouse to pick up a package from the post office. It’s a one way trip of about 25 miles and it’s really a pretty drive. The boys get some dog park time in. I get internet at the library and get a few things accomplished.
On the way back I immortalize the continued greening of the desert and the beautiful displays of wildflowers along the highway, and the cholla cactus about ready to bloom.
I am determined to stay around long enough to see the cacti bloom. It should be earlier this year with all the water we have gotten. Winter seems to have heaved one last sigh and summer, will probably jump right in, but who knows. We went from freezing our hineys to 80 degrees last Friday, March 1st. Then we went right back to rainy weather and cooler temps. And so it goes. At least the current, cooler conditions will make it easier to stick around waiting for those cacti start putting on a show. Unless of course it warms again.
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna and The Chiweenie Brothers.
CURRENT READ: Mary, Queen of Scots by John Guy. An interesting book on Mary Stewart’s reign, but a long read. Fortunately, 40% of it is footnotes and documentation of the facts.