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Winter sunrise, Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Sedona Part 3

November 25

Early morning Friday was quite a bit warmer than the day before. Maybe we will see some balloons today. The town of Sedona is quite busy with it being Thanksgiving so I do not know what our plans will be today as we are trying to avoid the crowds.

We finally decided to take a drive up Highway 89 to Slide Rock State Park and then carried on to the view point in Oak Creek Canyon. Ray, myself and Freya were off like a herd of turtles by 8:30 am to beat the crowds.

A much better picture of Sphynx Rock
 Further down the highway I stopped and Ray took a better picture of Steamboat Rock, as well.

Soon we were at Slide Rock State Park. We paid our $10 and parked the car. A short trail leads you past the old Pendley Homestead and apple orchard.

The old Homestead

Fruit Packing Barn with restored tractors.
A 1946 restored McCormick Deering

Apple Orchard, old machinery and the original waterwheel.

The view from the farm with the orchard at the base of the mountains.
Next we put Freya back in the car as she was not allowed to go down to the swimming area. Being only 60 F. with the windows down and the wind a bit nippy, we did not worry about her for an hour. Down the stairs we went. It is simply gorgeous. I can see why this area is so busy in the summer. Some of the pools are very deep ... I even saw 2 large catfish swim by while waiting for Ray to get all of his pictures. The water of Oak Creek is crystal clear here. There were not too many people in his way but when we got back to the parking lot there were tons more people starting out on their walk. Glad we came early.

Back in the car it was off to the view point. The road winds up the mountain with many switchbacks from 4000 feet to the top at 6450 feet in only about 5 miles. We could not take any pictures of Oak Creek Canyon though as the sun was right in our eyes. Being Friday after Thanksgiving there were many vendors at the view point selling their wares.  All very good quality too. I was very tempted but living in a small space, what was I going to do with any of it!  Friends of ours Malc and Kathy inadvertently came down this highway from Flagstaff towing their big fifth wheel instead of going down I-17 and then cutting over to Cottonwood a couple of years ago, I think. Cudoos to you Malc, I sure you probably almost pooped your pants! A very narrow windy bit of road. You had to really pay attention in the car as people coming towards me were often drifting over in the wrong lane around corners.

Heading back to Sedona we opted to take Highway 179 through Oak Creek Village. We thought about turning around and heading back to Sedona but the traffic was horrendous. With all of their turn-a-bouts slowing traffic down it looked like rush hour traffic in Vancouver. We decided to carry on and then take the I-17 down to Cornville, cut back over to SR89 via Page Springs and then back to camp. A much wiser idea and beautiful new views.

Our afternoon was spent sitting in the sun in shorts with temps about 69 F.

Saturday morning we woke up to clouds. We did see 4 balloons though. After checking the temps for the next week which had been downgraded from low 60's to the low 50's with mid 20's overnight and 2 days of rain again and possible snow ... we packed up and decided to head towards Phoenix which is 10 degrees warmer. By 11:30 we were all set up at Lake Pleasant in one of their dry-camping areas with a spectacular view of the lake. After a quick bite to eat it was nice to partake in their hot tub and have a shower, a bonus for staying here. We will hunker down here for a few days and then make some decisions as where to next. The Phoenix area is very limited for free dry-camping areas.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Sedona Boondocking Part 2

November 20th

We left last Sunday fairly early and were all set up at the Dead Horse Ranch State Park by 10:30 a.m. to spend the next 3 days. As predicted the rain began about 1 p.m. Boy did it rain ... probably 1 1/2 inches over 36 hours. Ray and I hunkered down and I had a baking day (bread and cookies) and then cooked Prime Rib and Yorkshire Puddings for dinner. Yumm. With hooking up about once a week for a couple of days I've been able to keep up with most of the laundry, and dumping before we leave the campsite. Monday afternoon after the skies cleared, we took a drive back up to Sedona and checked out the Boynton Canyon area for other boondocking spots and camera shots for Ray.  The roads were pretty muddy and we decided we liked the last area we were in better. We must have passed about 15 "Pink Jeep Tours". On the way back to Cottonwood we stopped at our old area and the road to the camping spot sported a sign ROAD CLOSED. Good thing we made the choice to get out of there for the rain event. Ray and I learned our lesson last year when the road into our camping spot in Moab washed out and we had to be rescued by a grader! As we were leaving the state park tomorrow we scouted a couple of alternative spots we could take.

Wednesday, November 24th we left Dead Horse Ranch by 9 a.m. We could not stay any longer even if we wanted to with it being fully booked for Thanksgiving. Being Thanksgiving Week, we wanted to get set up before the Wednesday afternoon rush. As it turned out the road to our last spot was open and we took the same spot again. It still is a little muddy in places but with the forecast for the next four days being sunny ... it will all dry out. I set up a "foot washing station" for Freya. The weather forecast for Sunday has some showers, but this time I think we will just stick it out. It is not supposed to rain very much and I know the car will make it out the 1/2 mile to the mainline. Where the rig is parked is nice and solid so no worry's re sinking. The road does dry out pretty fast within 24 hours.

 Once we were all set up (by 11 a.m.) we took a drive back into Sedona to check out some of the roads leading up to the great "rock vistas" for Ray to plan his evening/morning shots. Ray bribed me by taking me back to the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill for lunch! LOL. The traffic in Sedona was crazy. We saw tour after tour going by. I think we will hold off trying to see the Palatki ruins until next week. We plan to stay longer this time so I put out our solar lights and a bird feeder. I might even get Christmas set up next week.  At 3:30 Ray took off to get some sunset pictures. Apparently at the Airport Mesa there had to be 150 people, whereas last week there were only about 30 cars parked! It is nice being only 10 miles south of Sedona so he can just go get his pictures whenever he wants. Freya and I held down the fort. I sat outside enjoying the sun and the silly dog actually wanted in to go to sleep at about 4 pm. All that fresh air I guess. As I had made a crockpot full of homemade baked beans with a pork hock, dinner was a breeze whenever Ray made it back to camp.

Chimney Rock
Coffee Pot Rock on the right

East Sedona Views

Sphynx Rock on the left

Steamboat Rock (on the right)

Thunder Mountain
It sure is nice and quiet here. Glad we have the big buddy heater. The temps overnight are around 30 F. and with the previous rain there is much more moisture outside that freezes up.

Thursday we woke to sunny skies although the clouds came in later so it was overcast for most of the afternoon. We ate a great turkey dinner (Turkey Thighs in slow cooker) with all of the fixin's. Today was a cleaning day for me. Nice to have time to get other things done instead of just the basics. Other than walking the dog we had a pretty quiet day.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Sedona Boondocking

Wednesday morning, Nov 16th, we left Deadhorse Ranch State Park. After dumping and fueling up we  headed to a boondocking area towards Sedona we had scouted out. (Only 20 minutes up the road.) Ray and I have to remember how to do this! :) This is the first time we're boondocking for any length of time since last summer. The plan is stay here for several days and tour all of the rock formations near Sedona. The temps dropped a little so we will be able to leave Freya in the coach when we tour Red Rock State Park where no pets are allowed. We may have to move to another spot on Sunday as the forecast, for today anyway, is for one inch of rain on Monday.  The camping spot we are in is all red sand which we know turns to heavy thick mud when wet.

Our campsite near Sedona

Larny showing Dad our blog back in Surrey
Thursday we toured the Red Rock State Park and Red Rock Crossing, walking some of the trails. Both these places had a fee attached so Ray went back at sunset to take his pictures on the same day so he did not have to pay again. Somehow I thought that there was an auto tour attached to these two places but apparently not. Red Rock State Park is $14 and is nothing but miles of hiking trails and nothing really spectacular to see in the park.  Kind of a bust for us as there are other great vista's without paying. One neat place was the Airport Mesa where you are actually on a Vortex.

" Sedona spiritual vortexes are powerful and transformational energy centers that are located at specific sites throughout Sedona, Arizona. Vortexes are the intersections of natural electromagnetic earth energy, also known as ley lines." There are 5 of them, Airport Mesa, Red Rock Crossing, Bell Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross and Boyton Canyon." Did we feel any different .... nope.  Guess Ray and I are not very sensitive people. The views however are very awe inspiring.

Red Rock State Park Pictures:

Red Rock Crossing Pictures:

View of Cathedral Rock

The old water wheel below started life as an irrigation channel for the Crescent Ranch farm in the 1800's.  They added the water wheel in the 1900's to power the farmstead.

Friday we toured the Oak Creek Village area. We did take Freya with us for this tour. First up, the Airport Mesa. The city views of Sedona ... spectacular.

Panoramic from Airport Mesa
Next up, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, built over a vortex. Absolutely gorgeous.

We noticed this huge estate at the bottom of the hill to the Chapel. Wow! What a view they have.

Next we stopped at several view points down Highway 179 for pictures, letting Freya out for new sniffs which she always enjoys.

The Seven Apaches
Courthouse Butte

Munds Mountain Range

Napoleon's Tomb
Bell Rock
After 2 hours of touring we decided to stop at a brew pub called The Oak Creek Brewery and Grill for lunch. Awesome beer and awesome food. The plaza the pub is located in is very pretty with lots of art galleries and funky stuff. Ray may go back there next week and take some night shots with all of the plaza's lit up with all the lights circling the trees. We left Freya in the car under a tree for lunch and then brought her with us walking the plaza. Hard to get great pictures though due to all of the shadows.

Saturday we hung around camp for most of the day, although Ray took a short road trip to the ruins near us to check out accessibility. He managed to take in some glorious views. More exploring needed. We are camped close to a model airplane club's landing strip so managed to see them fly this morning. Ray went over and spoke with them and took some pictures. Also this morning we saw 2 balloons overhead. Sweet.

We were visited on two days by these two air balloons below.  One of the days Ray heard voices and couldn't figure out where they were coming from until looking up..... fortunately he wasn't watering the bushes.

Sunday, November 20th, we have decided to go back to Deadhorse Ranch State Park for a couple of days until the rain event is over and then we will come back here to boondock for another week. So many great mountains for Ray to take pictures of lol!