(THIS IS FRIDAY’S POST)
PHEEBS NEEDED A BIG REST AFTER HER & MOM HAD TO HOLD THE FORT DOWN ALL BY THEMSELVES FOR AN HOUR THIS MORNING
Soon as the sky lightened this morning I was out looking for balloons. No not Valentine Day balloons but big colorful hot air balloons. And by golly I saw some. We are kind of located in a hot air balloon alley. The big balloons lift off in Sedona & drift lazily in the early morning’s calm air currents to the southwest. We are actually in the hot air balloon’s landing area. Saw 4 of them this morning with one being very close. Hoping to have one land in our front yard while we are here.
SPOTTED THIS ONE FLOATING WEST OF US OVER NEAR CLARKDALE & COTTONWOOD
THREE MORE BALLOONS EAST OF US WITH 2 VERY CLOSE
I have sometimes blogged about the ‘WOW’ factor when buying an RV. But another kind of WOW factor known to many if not all RV’ers is that special feeling one has when they reach a destination & just go ‘WOW’ is this site ever great. Well, our spot we had wiggled in the night before did not have that WOW factor & we knew it. And we were both a little grumpy about it so figured we had better get out & find another spot first thing this morning. A car had rolled in late Thursday night & parked within earshot & eyesight & for us that is unacceptable. Plus 2 vans had moved into another spot just above & there appeared what might have been some young homeless people in a tent about a hundred yards away. No doubt about it, we had to get out of there!!!!
CATHEDRAL ROCK IN MORNINGS EARLY LIGHT
JEROME ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE VALLEY
We all 3 piled in the Jeep & headed further inland from the highway because we had heard of a couple more spots further down the road. We did find them but one had a truck camper in it & the other was nice but too big. Problem with big sites is other people will move in on the same spot. I don’t think city folks are bothered about crowding like us country bumpkins are. The road ended at what looked like a beautiful retreat or resort of some kind. Posted as private property so we didn’t go any further. Kelly later looked this place up on the internet & it is the Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat Center. This is the same place 4 people died in a sweat lodge back in 2009.
We decided to head back across the highway & out the other way where we had been scouting around the day before. Maybe we had missed a good spot. We hadn’t. Too many Goathead stickers everywhere. We were getting a little discouraged because we didn’t know where else to search for a suitable boondocking site but we certainly did not want to stay where we were. And then we caught ourselves a ‘big break’.
We were just about back to the highway when I saw a pick-up towing a large silver horse trailer also heading for the highway. We had just seen that same trailer parked in a really nice spot the day before. Could this fellow be leaving? Could the nice spot this horse trailer was in now be empty? We quickly raced down the dusty road to the spot where we remembered seeing that horse trailer & sure enough the spot was empty. Enter the ‘WOW’ factor. We recognized this prime spot as one of only a scarce few along this road. We had just caught ourselves a big break but now our problem immediately became how to hold this valued piece of dirt. Our rig was probably a good 2 miles to the south & we knew if we left this spot to go get it somebody else could quickly grab this site. Oh Dear what to do. And then a solution…..sort of.
WE QUICKLY BEGIN LAYING SOME STUFF OUT
It is common practice & an unwritten understanding among Campers & RV’ers alike that if one find’s a site & leaves something on that site like a chair to reserve it until they get back, that is Okay. However we didn’t have any chairs or coolers, etc in the Jeep. But we did have blankets, a couple towels, a raincoat, my old shirt, a jug of water, & my Bayfield Bunch baseball cap. We layed out the blankets & hung some stuff on a tree. Kelly even left a note warning would be site poachers to back off or else mighty big trouble. But in reality & being Canadians we probably would have apologized for being there first & graciously handed the site over to the invaders with a pleasant, ‘have a good day eh.’ However in the meantime we had to get back to our rig as quickly as we could to get it back out here to this great site. Plan was for Kelly to drop me off at the rig & then high tail it back to the WOW spot with the Jeep. I would pack up the rig & follow a bit later. We were almost back to the highway when…..Oh Oh!!
THIS WAS WHEN WE SPOTTED THE BALLOON RETRIEVAL CREW PACKING UP 2 LANDED BALLOONS
There coming towards was big Class A with a tow car in behind & we knew instantly they were looking for a site. I stopped the Jeep dead in her tracks. We had to make a fast decision. Could we trust these incoming RV folks not to grab our site despite the stuff we left on it. Our site was like a Gold nugget lying on the desert floor & here was coming some likely Prospector hungry for a Gold find. I quickly burned a U-turn right there on the narrow gravel road (you can do that with a 2 door Wrangler) & we headed lickity-split back towards our flat piece of dirt with the Class A for all intents & purposes hot on our tail. We couldn’t see him for the cloud of dust we kicked up though.
WASN’T COMFORTABLE WITH THAT SHINY JEEP WE HAD LAST WEEK SO TRADED IT IN FOR THIS OLD LOOKING DUSTY ONE:))
Now here’s where a Senior moment kicked in & dominated our thought patterns all the way back to our new & precariously held patch of dirt. How were we going to get the rig to the new site. Figured Kelly & Pheebs would have to hold down Fort WOW while I took the Jeep back, parked it, quickly packed up Winnie & brought her right back to the new site quick as I could. But how to get back then to pick up the Jeep. Maybe Annie could come out & pick one of us up to return for the Jeep. Can you see our Senior moment thinking pattern going on here? We were both working hard to solve this seemingly unsolvable problem when all of a sudden a light bulb came on. Thought to myself….’hey wait a minute Dummy why not just hook the Jeep back up to the rig & bring both vehicles back at the same time. After all, you have towed the Jeep before…..right!! Duuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Some days I just downright scare myself.
I LEAVE TROOPERS KELLY & PHEEBS AT FORT WOW & HEAD OUT TO RETRIEVE THE RIG
I left Kelly & Pheebs at Fort WOW & headed back to our overnight campsite. I wasn’t long in getting the rig stowed away & the Jeep hooked on. Slipped over to Annie’s to tell her we were moving & for her to come on out & have a look at the site because I figured it was a site she might be interested in after we leave sometime next week. I wasn’t long in getting back to the 2 intrepid Fort defenders. Even before I got there I gave the 2 troops a couple horn blasts to let them know help was riding in over the hill. A minute later I had the rig securely parked at Fort WOW. Yaaaaaaay team:))
WHILE KELLY WAITED FOR ME TO RETURN WITH THE RIG & JEEP SHE BUILT THESE TWO GREAT LOOKING INUKSHUKS
We have ourselves a great site now with a clear field of view all around us. And we have a tree right beside us too. A tree is always a big contributing factor to the WOW. We know we have a good site simply from the good feeling we get inside about it. If it is not an ideal site we have a tendency not to put the mat & chairs out. In fact we just don’t set up anything. If we arrive at a new boondocking site we like we are immediately hauling out all our stuff. Chairs, tables, mats, my camera tri-pods, me, etc. etc. And if we put the awning out that means for sure we are really pleased with where we are & are likely to stay happily put for a bit.
While setting up we did have one short ‘OH OH’ moment though when a white car suddenly appeared turning in off the road. I always figure the worse in these situations. Farmer Brown coming to throw us off his land, Park Ranger saying we can’t stay here, or the FBI wanting to know why we have a black dog or something. Turns out it was Annie & Jake. Yaaaay team:))
ANNIE, JAKE, KELLY, & PHEEBS
Pheebs & Jake were happy to see each other again & we were glad Annie dropped by. Had a little tour of Winnie The Bago & a chance to get to know Annie & Jake better. Annie is one of those calming natural soft spoken people one takes a liking to immediately. We all had ourselves a nice visit & Annie said she would be interested in this site when we leave. So we’ll do that next week sometime…..
THAT JAKE IS A HANDSOME BOY
We have a very pleasant horse smell at our camp left by the sites previous occupier. It is a smell we like & it takes my memory back many, many, years to when I was a small boy.
And how nice to hear the sounds of Robins chirping in the nearby Juniper bushes & trees. Growing up in southwestern Ontario it was always the sounds of Robins we strained to hear in early Spring. And who would be the one lucky enough to spot the first Robin of the year. Yes those were good old days all right……………..
Interesting post this morning from long time full-timers JO & FRED WISHNIE. They are at a stage in their RV lives where issues have to addressed & changes have to be made. Not an easy time as decisions do not always meet with mutual agreement. They are in a phase all RV’ers will one day find themselves in. Unlike much blogged about early RV dreams & travels the thoughts of winding down the lifestyle one day remains a topic often left in the closet. Some Bloggers talk about their days coming in off the road while others just sort of disappear from the Blogging world without a murmur. Good for you Jo & Fred in casting some thoughts & opinions on a topic important to all of us whether we like it or not.
And I see we have a couple new Blog Followers in our ‘Friends’ box. A big welcome goes out first to Pete & Maura from BUCKET LIST OR BUST TRAVELS. Here’s a couple folks who with their dog Mutton Chops are riding out the big Atlanta storm at the moment. Welcome to our travels & it was a good time to climb aboard while we are out & about in Winnie The Bago. Also a big Bunch welcome to Jodee from LET'S GO. Thanks for the emails last week Jodee & am hoping you got that subscription problem ironed out. Welcome aboard & thanks for dropping by.
Finished our day with a setting sun over Mingus Mountain casting it’s long fingers of evening light across a red rock mountain face off to our north. In the morning we will head into Sedona & pick up some Jeep & hiking trail maps for the area & head out to see what we can see:))
Annie sent an email tonight saying we got out of last night’s spot just in time. A group of young tenters moved in today. It’s the week-end so it will probably be party central there now. We were soooooooooo lucky to catch that big break this morning…………………..
BEST I COULD CATCH WITH TONIGHT’S FULL MOON RISING BEHIND A VEIL OF CLOUDS
GROANER’S CORNER:(( You are driving in a car at a constant speed. On your left hand side there is a valley and on your right hand side there is a fire engine travelling at the same speed as you. In front of you there is a galloping pig which is the same size as your car and you cannot overtake it. Behind you there is a helicopter flying at ground level. Both the giant pig and the helicopter are travelling at the same speed as you. What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation? ……… ‘Get off the merry-go-round Dummy’!!