Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crossing over into Arizona

Almost immediately after leaving Goulding’s we entered AZ where Daylight Savings Time is not recognized. A bit of a stretch trying to keep times straight. Trouble enough just to keep the days straight!

Spider Rock Canyon de Chelly

We made out way down Hwy 63 and turned east onto Hwy 160 before getting back onto Hwy 191 south. A bit of backtracking but there wasn’t a more direct route to Holbrook, our next overnight.

Ruins at Canyon de Chelly

Much of our route took us through the Navajo Indian Reservation. We stopped for a rather lengthy visit at Canyon de Chelly National Monument and its preserved ruins of early indigenous tribes. An interesting contrast in that while there are ancient ruins, the monument is home to a present day Navajo community. With the exception of one site, a park ranger or a Navajo guide must accompany anyone wishing to enter the canyon floor.

From there we stretched further south along Hwy 191 before picking up I-40 west, scooting past the Painted Desert and Petrified National Forest before stopping at the OK RV Park in Holbrook. Owing to our extended stop at Canyon de Chelly, the distance traveled turned out to be one of our longer travel days (300 miles). There wasn’t much shaking in Holbrook, which was just as well. We were happy to retire.

Up early the next morning (we usually are), we packed up and headed south along Hwy 77 through Snowflake. We stopped for breakfast in Show Low at the Blue Coffee Pot and got in touch with Karen and Jerry Smith who were parked near Show Low and who are also headed toward Texas. They were on their way back from an extended trip to Alaska. It was the Smiths who convinced us that we should spend the winter at the RV park near Mission (they will be parked there as well). We planned to catch up with the them while we were all parked near Sierra Vista, AZ in another day.

Out of Show Low we turned southwest onto Hwy 60, which took us through The White River Mountains, the Salt River Canyon and much of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.

Boyce-Thompson Arboretum

Hwy 60, was narrow, winding, and with lots of changes in elevation. Very scenic. South of Superior we made a stop at the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum, which sits next to Superstition Mountain, our first real opportunity to spend time birding before pulling into Florence, AZ and the Desert Garden RV Park.

site at Desert Garden

We have a tentative reservation at this park for the month of March. This stop not only was a convenient one on our way to SE AZ, but it and also gave us an opportunity to check the park for our possible March stay. While we found the park to be comfortable, we also found it to be too distant from places in southeast AZ where we want to spend time birding. We had been aware of some management issues prior to our arriving but we left with the impression that not all issues had been dealt with effectively. The park was supposed to have wi-fi but it wasn’t working and with no foreseeable fix in sight. And there was no TV cable connection. OK for folks with satellite service but we don’t use it ($$$). Not problematic for a one or two day stay, but for a month? We will probably take a pass on Desert Garden in March and look for another location.

The next morning before leaving Desert Garden we held an iChat (video chat for you none Mac people) with the Wards in Dale, WI. The connection using our Mi-Fi was quite good – nice to see some friendly faces. As for all you other family and friends with iChat capability – how about it!

Next up: A week in Huachuca City, AZ, near Sierra Vista and Tombstone. By the way, since so much has been happening (i.e., tough to keep up with current postings) we've already moved on from our stay at Huachuca City. It is now October 10 and we've just parked at Rusty's RV near Rodeo, NM, just east of the AZ border and Portal. We'll be here for a week exploring various birding locales.

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