Back to Sedona

Sat, Oct 29, 20016

After suffering through record heat of 100 friggin’ degrees in Phoenix, Carol and I are happy to be back in Sedona.

At 4,200 ft, it’s quite a bit cooler and was mid 70’s when we arrived and dropped to 59F overnight.  First good sleep we’ve had in a while.

Last week, I commented about all of the trails around town and I hit ’em this morning for a run.  Unlike Mt Tam where a lot of the trails are covered with soft redwood needles, these are killers.  Sharp rocks everywhere means that a fall could be costly.  And I biff hard every year or so.  It’s only a matter of time.

Another issue is that I no longer carry water.  Learned this trick from KR.  Just pretend you’re a camel.  Of course signs at all of the trailheads say to carry water and food.  Oh well, just don’t biff.

But if  you do, luckily the trails are well used and perhaps a good samaritan will come by.


Congestion in the Parks

Tue, Oct 25, 2016

Visiting our national parks has been a wonderful experience but there is a downside and that is congestion.  In some places, real congestion.

Crater Lake was our fist stop and when we arrived at the visitor center, no parking.  Ditto for the nature center at the top of Glacier.  Yosemite was also super congested at all of the popular attractions.  The parks are a victim of their own success.

And it gets worse as sometimes people lose their cool. Here’s an example.

At Bryce Canyon, Bryce Point is is perhaps the preeminent lookout. So when we arrived, we weren’t surprised to see a line to get into the parking area. It was a loop so if you went in and a spot opened behind you, you were SOL. Just continue on to the beginning and try again. What you might call surfing for spots.

So a car was in the loop when a spot opened on the opposite side. One guy jumps out, runs across and stands in the spot to defend it. Nice try but there’s a car in front of his and he’s starting to pull in. The goober defender turns his back to the inbound car and stands there while the horn blazed away. So it’s a standoff with the car about 3/4 of the way in.

As I’m watching this, I hear a man scream “Bitch. Move out of the way or I’ll punch you in the face”. Two bullies from Oregon had pulled into the handicapped spot when a women, who’s perhaps 65 and absolutely no threat to anyone, said ‘that’s a handicap spot’. Bully #1 grabbed a handicap placard from the back seat and threw it on the dashboard. Off they marched. Nice.

Epilogue: On our way back to the main road, we noticed that a park ranger had closed the road and others were heading up there with sirens blasting. Hopefully karma was on top of this one.

By The Numbers

Mon, Oct 24, 2016

Carol and I arrived in Mesa, AZ last Fri for an overnight visit with my parents and some warranty work on our rig.  Then it’s a flight back to Mill Valley to visit friends and take care of some business.

At this point, we’ve been on the road for ten weeks and have visited nine national parks, four national monuments and one national recreation area.  All have been nice but Arches National Park, just outside of Moab, really stands out.

We have covered 8,005 miles and burned 716 gallons of gasoline.  That works out to 11.4 mpg and the total cost was $1,990.  I know this because I’m meticulous about record keeping much to Carol’s chagrin (“why do you always have to write it down?”).

Here are the states that we’ve visited so far:


For safety’s sake, I’ve tried to limit our speed to 65 mph although I’m not always successful.  What’s been clear is that our mileage varies greatly over the 55 – 75 mph range and is also affected by the headwind, if any.  Depending on the conditions, we get anywhere from 9.5 to 13.5 mpg.

And then there’s the elevation factor.  When we were climbing the Rockies, our mileage dropped to 9.5 mpg even though I slowed to 55 mph.  I’m sure I could have dropped it even further with some speed but Carol was having none of that.

Here’s a head-on shot that shows how much wind we are pushing and I think that makes it pretty clear why the mileage varies so much.  It also illustrates the aerodynamic advantage we have over SOB trailers.  In Airstream lingo, SOB is ‘some other brand’ and best said with your nose in the air 🙂


Sedona Impresses

In addition to the beauty, we’re really impressed by the amount of open space and the network of trails that the city and county have created.  And a lot of the trailheads have parking.  With open spots no less.  Try that at the Ross Commons trailhead.

So today I ran up a jeep trail among the sandstone formations and really liked what I saw.  Could this be the place for us?  Not sure but we’ll be back next weekend for a closer look.


Here’s the valley from the jeep trail.  Not bad, eh?



Wed, Oct 19, 2016

Carol and I arrived Sedona this afternoon and what a beautiful place.  Red rocks everywhere.

As has been my practice, I went to the back of our campground for a photo of the local mesa.  Here’s tonight’s caught just before sunset.


Tomorrow we’re off to find some crystals and perhaps a vortex or two 🙂

Bright Angel Trail

Tue, Oct 18, 2016

If you’re in the Grand Canyon Village and want to run down into the canyon, there’re two choices but the vast majority use the  Bright Angel Trail.


Fully developed and closer to a freeway than back country trail, it’s a busy one with people and mules crowding for space.  It’s a 7.8 mi and 4,460 ft drop down to the Colorado River where Phantom  Ranch awaits with a warm bed and adult beverages.  I only ran part way down and then made a U-turn to get back to the rig.  And since the rim is at 7,000 ft elevation, my lungs felt every step.

Here’s an example of the terrain.


If you do make it to the bottom, you can hike out on the North Kaibab Trail for a 23.7 mi rim-to-rim experience.  Some day…

The Grand Canyon

Mon, Oct 17, 2016

Carol and I arrived at our campsite and headed straight for Mather Point.  It’s perhaps the premier lookout on the south rim and is named for Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service.

Here’s what the point looks like from the Rim trail.


No surprise that it’s a popular pace and congestion is a real problem in the Parks.  Honestly, at a lot of the places that we’ve visited, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone with a selfie stick.

Here’s another view of the canyon with a lookout on the left.


Get Your Kicks on (Route 66)

Sun, Oct 16, 2016

If it weren’t for being on Route 66, there wouldn’t be a whole lot to say about Seligman, AZ.  But here it sits on one of the most famous roads in America.


If you are of a certain age, then you remember Route 66, the TV show.  In each episode, the two stars met interesting characters along Route 66 while driving their Corvette.  Since the road connected Chicago with Santa Monica, there was a lot of opportunity for fun.  And what young man didn’t dream of that type of adventure?

Not sure what we’ll do tonight but maybe we’ll drive into town for dinner at the Roadkill 🙂


Hoover Dam

Sun, Oct 16, 2016

We’ve all seen pictures of it.  But have you visited?

I first drove over the dam some 30 yrs ago but didn’t stop to check it out.  No way, in fact, as I was with three buddies on our way to Vegas.  One of those no-sleep-for-you weekends.

So here I was at our RV camp just five miles away.  So while Carol slept, I made the short drive.

A new highway and bridge have opened adjacent to the dam so the old highway is pretty much just for tourists.  And what a great drive it is down the switchbacks, over the dam and free parking on the AZ side (it’s $10 on the Nevada side).  Here’s the view from the AZ side.


And a better shot of the new bridge shooting from the dam.  Not bad, eh?


Comparing the upriver canyon, you get a really good idea of what a choke point this is.  And why it was built here.


Now for the sad news.  The lake level is way down and the demand for water is so strong that it’ll take some huge, wet winters to fill it back up.  And not everyone believes that it’ll ever happen.

You also see the effects by looking at the dam outflow.  I stared at the water and could see movement but not much.  I wonder how much the electricity production has dropped?


Lake Mead in Mid Oct?

Fri, Oct 14, 2016

Carol and I wrapped up 7 parks in 14 days in Utah and drove down to the Lake Mead NRA this afternoon.  It seemed like a good idea earlier this week when I booked the site.  Especially since the route is an easy three day drive to the Grand Canyon and we have three days to kill.  So off we went.

And then the temperature started to rise.  From the 60’s to the 70’s, then 80’s and then the 90’s.  The thermometer in my car was showing 94F when we pulled in.  Carol to me: “What were you thinking?  Didn’t you check the weather forecast?”  Oopsie.

Oh well, it’s a dry heat, right?

And I’ll get a nice swim in tomorrow if I can make my way down to the water.  With the low water level, it’ll be a heck of a walk just to get there.  And geeze, check out that bathtub ring.  Come on Winter, give us some snow & rain!