Canyon Vistas

Canyon Vistas
Canyon Vistas Site 319

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cottonwood, Sedona and Arriving at Canyon Vistas

When we left Durango we moved on to Dead Horse Ranch SP in Cottonwood, AZ. We had heard so much about the Sedona, AZ area and we wanted to be in a more open natural environment. That lead us to a reservation at Dead Horse Ranch. The developed portion of Dead Horse Ranch State Park covers about 423 acres. The 3,300 foot elevation allows for the mild temperatures that are ideal for camping, mountain biking in the Coconino National Forest, hiking along the Verde River, canoeing, picnicking, fishing, or just wading in the cool water. We only had 4 nights so we enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and did some sightseeing. Our first day we just unwound from the excitement of Durango. We could certainly tell we were back in the desert landscape.

Please enlarge the photos for best viewing

I did some geocaching and we took a hike in the park. It was nice getting back to hiking and ready for our stay in Gold Canyon.

We then took a ride into Sedona and drove along 89A to the Midgley Bridge and the Wilson Mtn Trail. It was a great switchback tail with wonderful views.

Along the way I found 2 geocaches and had to hike up a very steep incline to get one only to find out I could have gotten there on a different trail. Oh well, nothing like a little excitement and heavy breathing. Ha-ha. We headed back to Sedona and had a nice lunch at the Open Range Grille and Tavern.

We didn't know what other things there were to do in Sedona so we found an information center. They gave us a map and some other information and told us about a Vacation/RV/Cabin Resort in the area and all we had to do was attend a 90 minute presentation and they would give us a free Jeep tour. We knew we weren't going to buy into one of those things but the Jeep tour would be worth it. NOT SO FAST....We got to the Resort...The salesperson was very nice and personable but the presentation went on and on and on until we had been there about 3HOURS. We got to the point where the free Jeep ride wasn't worth it. In addition the salesman's demeanor changed a lot when we told him NO THANKS. Should have expected that.

Well that took our whole afternoon and we didn't have much time for some food or checking out downtown Sedona before the Jeep ride. We got to the Outfitters and it turned out we were the only ones on the tour. That's cool. Guess the 3 hour presentation wasn't that bad. Ha-ha.  We took off through town and then onto a back road. The guide showed us Coffeepot Rock, Snail Rock, Coyote Rock and lots of other interesting sights including a sculpture and art shop.

Coffeepot Rock

Snail Rock

Coyote Rock in the middle

Aliens in Sedona

Interesting Sculpture

We had a fantastic time in the Cottonwood/Sedona area and plan to return in the future for some additional hiking and sightseeing. Too much to do in just a few days.

Then it was time to move on down the mountain to Gold Canyon and our winter destination at Canyon Vistas RV Resort.

We got the same site #319 on 9th street....we got backed in and set up and have been enjoying seeing our son, Chris, in Mesa and a few friends from last year. Of course we're here early so a lot of folks aren't here yet but everyday the numbers increase.

I've been working hard and finally got both the truck and rig washed and waxed and we are looking good. Just a little stiff and sore.

Camp Lowry

Ready for a fun winter in AZ. Most of the activities haven't started either but I did get in a morning of some Pickleball and we have been to the pool. Temps still hovering in the low 90's.

Got the place to ourselves

More to come

Waiting for Ron and Patsy to arrive on the 23rd and some artistic fun with our friends Steve and Debbie in Cave Creek. More on that next time. Thanks for following along.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Meeting friends in Durango, fall colors and a train ride

As I mentioned last post we left Roswell, NM and moved on to Bernalillo, NM for two nights. That gave me time to work on the outdoor shower leak and get it fixed. I couldn't find the right parts to actually fix it so I capped it off and took the shower hose and sprayer out. We never used it in the tow years we've had the rig so no loss and no leak.

Then we finally were able to move to Durango, CO. This was a bit of a detour to see our friends Steve and Debbie from Down the Road but well worth the trip. I know I've mentioned this before but they became full time RV'ers at the same we did. They even got their truck in a town about 25 miles south of where we lived in IL and they're from CA. I started blogging when we got into RV'ing about 5 years ago and started reading a bunch of other folks blogs and Steve and Debbie's was one of them. Well bloggers comment on each others blogs and that started a friendship, following each others adventures. In addition to that we both attended an RV Dreams Rally in Elkhart, IN after going full time.

With that being said, we have kept in close contact since then. We met them in Columbus, NM our first year out and tried our first boondocking attempt with them at City of Rocks SP near Deming, NM. We also went to see them last winter as they attended the Quartzsite RV Rally and we got together this summer at Grand Junction/Palisades, CO. I happened to post that we were heading pretty much straight back to AZ this winter. Steve and Debbie have been touring CO all this summer and contacted us with a proposal. Meet them in Durango, CO. Well we jumped at the chance to get together again and experience some cooler CO weather. In addition, they mentioned that the fall colors were really coming on at the higher elevation and there was a great train ride from Durango to Silverton, CO on a narrow gauge rail. Please follow this LINK for more history of the area and the train. Durango and Silverton have a rich history of mining and it is evident in the topography of the land.

That's all they had to say and we changed our plans to meet them. Having been in Durango earlier in the summer they knew of the Durango/La Plata Fairgrounds. The fairgrounds has 6 electric/water hook ups for RV's so Steve quickly made reservations for us both. The fairgrounds isn't really an RV park but at $16.50/night and close to downtown, it was perfect.

We arrived and backed into our site next to Steve and Debbie and got set up.

Please enlarge the photos for best viewing

We had stocked up on those Royal Red shrimp I mentioned in an earlier post so Steve and Debbie hosted our dinner that first night. We brought the shrimp and they had some steaks. Surf and Turf.

Shrimp, steak and corn on the cob

Glenda is digging in

Steve and Debbie

We got our fill of shrimp and steak and made room for some sorbet for dessert. What a way to start our visit.

The next morning Steve and I went to the office to pay for our sites and one of the office assistants had this great sign. I couldn't resist taking a photo.

Best way to look at life

We got started right away doing some biking on the nearby path through town and even got a few geocaches along the way. Did I say we're glad we made this detour? Yes we are.

Durango is a very interesting town. Known for the winter snow skiing along with horseback riding, fly fishing, rafting and many more activities. And several small craft breweries. Durango Brewing, Ska Brewing and Steamworks Brewing. They also have many historic buildings so one evening we had dinner at the Diamond Belle Saloon.

They even have a gunfight a couple times a week. Of course this is all show but fun to watch. They start inside the saloon and take it outside.

After dinner and the gunfight we took a walk around the downtown and checked out the train station and where we needed to be for the train ride to Silverton.

We also checked out one of the breweries in town. Steamworks Brewery has several great beers and I'm partial to stouts. We stopped in for a nightcap before heading back home.


Ok, we've seen Durango and had some food and drink now it's time to see some fall colors. Steve and Debbie took us for a ride in their truck to Telluride, Ouray and Silverton for an auto(truck) tour of the area. We were NOT disappointed. The colors were spectacular. We were in sensory overload.

We came across a herd of sheep and some elk grazing along the road. You can tell something is up as you're driving along the road when you come upon a number of cars pulled over on the side. 
This is what we came to see and why our friends invited us to meet them. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

We got to Telluride and came across some interesting fashion decisions. Telluride is a former Victorian mining town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and is set in a box canyon surrounded by forested mountain peaks at the base of a popular ski-and-golf resort area. We found a nice little restaurant for lunch and took a walk around the town.

We took the free gondola ride up and over a peak to Mountain Village and back to Telluride.

Great views from the gondola.

What a fun way to see the area from above. After our gondola ride we continued on our journey to Ouray. There we stopped at a local ice cream/coffee shop. Nice to stretch our legs and get additional views of the landscape.

The route we've been following is on the San Juan Scenic Byway. So colorful and scenic this time of year. After our trip to Ouray we continued on to Silverton. This is where the train ride will take us.

Steve and Debbie showed us one of their boondocking sites near Silverton before we got into town. We located a couple more geocaches and got a nice view of the town below. It was getting late and dark and the road back had several switchbacks so we headed down the mountain back to Durango.

We had tickets for the Durango/Silverton train ride the next day at 8 am. Early morning to get there on time. Steve made reservations for an open air car so we dressed in layers and took a light blanket. This turned out to be the perfect way to see the fall colors and get the real effect of the train ride.

Our seats were facing outward so we could get full view of the landscape and photos of the train as it rounded some of the mountain bends.

The train tracks came very close to the edge of the mountain in some places.

And very close to the mountain in others.

Once we got to Silverton everyone on the train headed to the local restaurants except for Steve and I. Long story short....about a mile out of Silverton I was taking a photo with my IPhone and turned around. As I did so my hand hit a pole and I dropped my phone over the side of the train. Yes, I dropped my phone. I was is such disbelief. I thought it was gone forever. I said..."I dropped my phone" and sat down on my seat. I couldn't believe I did that. Fortunately, a couple of women next to us were not going back on the train and had their car there. They said we'll take you back so you can find your phone. Steve went with me and they got me within about 1/2 mile from where I thought it was along side the tracks. I jumped out of the car and started a fast walk along the tracks. I had seen some landmarks after dropping the phone so I had some idea of where it might be. Sure enough, I walked right up to it. No damage, everything still worked. Wow, if that had been anywhere else along the route it would have been gone forever. REALLY.

I called Glenda on the phone, told her we had it and the two women were nice enough to wait for us and take us back to town. We even got back to the restaurant before Glenda and Debbie got their meals. Nothing like making a life interesting.

We had time for lunch and some geocaching before the train headed back to Durango. It was a long day but so much fun(except for the phone thing).

It was our last day in Durango, we were all tired from the train ride so we found a small local pizza joint called Home Slice Pizza and relaxed. Great atmosphere, pizza and we slept like babies.

We are so in love with the state of Colorado. We will be exploring this state more in the future. Glenda and I can't thank Steve and Debbie enough for the invitation to meet them, for taking such good care of us while there and their friendship. Looking forward to seeing them again at the end of October as they move into AZ and visit Steve's Dad and step mother. Many more surprises await us I know. We never know when a detour will come our way in life however if we're like the sign that the office assistant had at her desk and embrace it, the results will be worth it.

See you in AZ. Next up Cottonwood, Sedona and on to Gold Canyon.
Thanks for following along.