Sunday, May 30, 2010

Grand Falls & then Walnut Canyon & our 3rd Triple D in Arizona!

We had a long day today here in Arizona.  We experienced the Grand Falls & then Walnut Canyon, then  topped it off with dinner at our third Triple D!

We first drove for an hour on a very rocky bumpy road, lost just one mud flap along the way, it was so jiggly, I think we'll have to go through the van an tighten all that can be tightened, Jerry says we're good. Our mission was go get to the Grand Falls, just outside of Flagstaff.

 We bounced up and down until we got there, there wasn't any river or water falls, we drove on the river bottom .. Duke found some water on the river bottom!  It was indeed beautiful. We found out, that there was a lot of water there 2.5 months ago, and it'll be back again in the Spring of 2011.  That's just how that water falls is.  Cool.

After our "fill" at the Grand Falls, we went to Walnut Canyon, where the Hopi Indians lived.  It was lovely as well, Duke couldn't come, but, he didn't mind.

 It's like these places where the first condos!  They were 7,000 feet up.

Finally, after both hikes, we went to our third Triple D, Salsa Brava, here in Flagstaff.  The food was excellent.. big taco portions. Jerry had the same meal that Guy had when we filed the Triple D there October 2008.  I had a Portobello Mushroom & Spinach taco, i liked mine better.  Then we actually had desert, which we really haven't been doing on this trip.  Jerry had Apple Cinnamon ChimiChama, and i had deep fried Icecream!  Again, i liked mine better!

Tomorrow we aren't moving the van for a day, then Monday we had up to the North rim of the Grand Canyon, we think that's around a half days drive from here.

Good night!
Sofie & Jerry (and Duke)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mountain Camping, Sedona & our Second Triple D!

We, since our last post, we left the southern Arizona desert, replaced our camera card and camp in the mountains on either side of Sedona and went to another Diner, Drive-In & Dive (Triple D!). It's amazing how quickly the land changes, flat to hills, stone to trees!
Hard to believe these three pictures were all within a few hours of each other!

We camped in desert State Park in Safford Arizona, it was nice to have a shower after being in the Mountains in Gila Wilderness and then in the Desert outside of Safford Arizona.   Jerry out did himself on the BBQ at the State Camps site, he BBQ about 10lbs of beef ribs for the three (three include Duke!) of us. .

The drive from Safford up to the Sedona area was beautiful.  We camped off a National Forest road, they're everywhere, you can camp for free off of these road, or find primitive camp sites with a National Fee of $3 to $10/night.   Primitive camping means no electricity or water.  We don't need any for a few days.  We had camped on a wonderful mountain ridge, it was lovely. 

Then we continued through Sedona, it does take your breath away, it's unbelievable. 

We headed toward Flagstaff to our 2nd Triple D! So, we camped up in Flagstaff too.  It's is about 30mins north of Sedona.  The road from Sednoa to Flagstaff is pretty, and very steep.  That same hwy, hwy 40, was closed earlier in the week due to high winds.  The winds were crazy today, but, settled down now. 

We went to our second Triple D, here in Flagstaff, pretty cool experience, once again.  Brandy's was the restaurant, they're known for their breakfasts and lunches, the show was about the dinners.  The show aired October 2008.  The chef came out to speak with us, nice guy, he & Jerry exchanged food talk.

Then, as it would turn out, he has a camper (he had a Pleasure Way) that we're interested in, so, he took us over to see it.  He bought it up in Saskatchewan.  His wife, dog and he camp similar to how we do.

Today Duke & I went for a three hour hike up the mountain we're camped at. Jerry says this isn't really camping, as it's a KOA center. Well, we're still in the van, so, it's camping! Anywho, i needed Highspeed for a couple of days for Breken's system launch, so, we decided to stay here.. i can work and work out with the highspeed at the KOA camp, and these wonderful trails Flagstaff has through their mountains! I didn't take the camera with me on the trail, as i was warned it was very steep with many rocks, but, i took lots of photos from my phone and sent them to Jerry.... we were being escorted by a herd of deer for a little while,  i was in such awe of seeing them, i didn't take a picture. Duke & I were looking for an Indian Ruin i was told about in the hills, seems we went an hour past it, my directions are bang on at the best of times.  The air was thin, so, a little hard to breath at the top... we survived!

Fire damage, there was one part of the hike that looked like something out of Lord of the Rings, all trees where black, there was a fire there two years ago we're told. SO sad.

I quickly found out that when you're hiking, the top's not the top yet.. you always think you're at the top, till you get there, then there's more! AHAHA!

We had a wonderful day.. tomorrow Jerry, Duke & I are going to see BIG waterfalls and a big Canyon (not THE canyon, that's not till Monday or Tuesday.)

Thanks for viewing our blog!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Camera Card Just Died!

Well, I was just going to share some pictures from our camping adventure in the desert, but, the camera card says "click here to format the card" and when we go to put the card back in the camera, it says insert we took incredible pictures of the desert.. can't share them with anyone.. We took over 1,500 photos of the trip so far, we backed up everything, except those of last night and today. So, not too bad.  We'll get a new card tomorrow. (I hope it's not the camera!)

We had a wonderful time in the desert .. we stay, by ourselves, at Hot Well Dunes, Arizona. It was a pretty crazy feeling camping alone in the desert.. I thought I'd be scare, but, i wasn't.  Jerry gave me a GPS, because i kept wondering off into the desert to take pictures and kept turning myself around.. Duke was pretty cool, I'd say, lets go find daddy, and he'd turn 90 degrees or right around and start walking back to where we were parked/camped.  He was always bang on to what the GPS said. 

The birds, flowers, sand dunes, Cati and everything we really unique. I'm sorry we can't share them with you.. We did take some good videos, I can't upload them from this connection, so, when we get another free WiFi connection, we'll upload those, and Jerry took some photos from his phone..  We didn't have any facilities at Hot Well Dunes, just us and sand, lots of sand.  There  are normally two hot springs in Hot Well Dunes, but, they were empty, as the water flow has changed.  Jerry camped at Hot Well Dunes 6 years ago, and had a magical experience of being in Hot Springs at night when a Shaman , well into his 80s, had hiked across the desert for a soak.. Jerry said they spoke for hours about healing and other spiritual things.  He has such a unique experience 6 years ago, there was no way we could have reproduced that.  But, i enjoyed what they call primitive camping.. it was wonderful being the only people in the desert at night. 

Duke and I went for a 9 km run through the desert this morning, at 5:30am (15mins after the sun started coming up), he had a blast, he chased a lot of Jackrabbits, their paws are just a touch smaller then Duke's.. I'm glad we didn't see any snakes, there were signs warning of them when we were up in Gila Wilderness, and that's only a few hours away.

There is a Hot Spring where we are today, it's in Roper Lake State park, very civilized compared to where we were yesterday, we have electricity and showers here. 

Tomorrow we're going to Sedona, Arizona for a day and to camp , then up to Flagstaff. In Flagstaff we are going to continue are Triple Ds adventure.  We'll stay  North of Flagstaff a until over the weekend, and then after the weekend to Grand Canyon

There is a Hot Spring here, at Roper Lake State Park, we are just going to head over there.

Jerry made us to big racks of Beef Ribs today, on our travelling BBQ, it was pretty amazing.. Duke loves it when we have beef ribs.. not sure who likes it most from the three of us. 

OK, that's it for now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Video from the Hot Springs in the Gila Wilderness

As we pack up to head into the Desert, to camp for a while in Arizona, I'm trying to upload a video for the blog from the Gila Wilderness Hot Springs. It was a place we both want to return to.  Hopefully with our Westy friends next time, a Buses to Gila Wilderness! I can see it now!
(I have forgotten to press record many during the trip, so, I'm trying to make up for it in this video.., )

OK! Better go, Jerry's been waiting in the Van for 20mins!


Videos of the Cliff Dwellings in Gila Wilderness, New Mexico

We are about to leave Silver City, New Mexico and continue our journey to a Hot Springs in the Desert in Arizona.  We won't have any cell or highspeed there again.. before we go, i thought i'd upload a some videos from Gila Wilderness. The connections isn't strong enough here to upload to many.. so, here are four for now!

On the 3 mile hike toward the Cliff Dwellings:

Just coming up to the Cliff Dwellings:

In the Cliff Dwellings:

Leaving the Cliff Dwellings:

Enjoy.. Jerry's packing the van, i'm going to see if i can delay long enough to get just one of the HotSprings from the Gila Wilderness uploaded.. it's unbelievable too!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gila Wilderness, my new favourite spot!

Well, it was hard to leave, we had a wonderful few days in Gila Wilderness , New Mexico, we had no cell (still don't) and no high speed.. We camped at a Hot Springs that Jerry tried to get to 6 years ago, but it was flooded then, it is perfect now.  We could have stayed there a week (or forever), but, then we would have had to miss seeing everything else.  It's a two hour drive through some roads (pretty much like the Mexican roads through the mountains but the Mex roads are banked in the corners better ) which require all of your attention as there were MANY curves, no shoulders, we've been on worst road, so, not a problem, it was nicely paved ..  it was worth it. Our final destination was in the Gila Wilderness  was just outside of the Gila Cliff Dwellings on Hwy12, there are 35 people who live there full time, (and probably 40 dogs).  Its a very friendly place, for humans and dogs.  Duke wasn't on leash the entire time there, he played non-stop.  (We're in Silver City now, which is why we have Internet connection, we're at a hotel, Duke's passed out on the bed! I'm typing the blog, Jerry's gone shopping as our electrical inverter on the Van broke, she won't let us charge anything while we're driving, it had an E8 error code,( new inverter installed 750w up from 400w) the inverter is 6 years old, and we've heard others say that theirs last 1 year, so, she's had a good ride, as Jerry's out to replace & install it.. then we'll had back into the wilderness again tomorrow, were we won't have highspeed again for another few days, we would have gone straight if we didn't have the inverter issue.. there isn't any cell coverage here in Silver City either..)

Back to the story, so, we finally got to our destination on Friday, there is one store/gas-station in the area, Don Campbells, Don bought the place, I mean the entire ridge/mountain/hot-springs, in the 40s.  Now his son and daughter own the area.  We met the son Allen last night, as he owned the Hot-springs ( Jim is the manager I met him 6 yrs ago and when he saw me he asked what took me so long to get back )we were camped at (and everything else).. He stopped in with his three dogs and made his way around to say "hey" to everyone.  He's trying hard to keep it a sanctuary and not let it get built up, he's doing an excellent job.   There are a total of 35 residences on the ridge, no police, no mayor, no dog leash laws! It's wonderful.  Gas costs 3.50/gallon at Don Campbells, you don't mind when you're there! :)

The Hot Springs & Camp "ground" were amazing, it cost us $5/person/night! (I've staying in $460/night hotels and certainly nothing comes close to the experience of this $5/person/night Hot Springs.) Here were probably a dozen other people camped there, however, somehow, we ended up with the best spot right on the water. Most of the people where in tents, one other Westy came in our last night there. ( the whole town is heated from this one hot spring it comes out of the ground at 155 deg F )

 The other Westy was owned by a 28 year old female who travels alone, her name is Phoenix, actually, she doesn't travel alone, she travels with her dog! She's been travelling on her own since she was 16, she's been all over North and South America.  She plays an amazing Irish Harp, she played last night while we were in the HotSprings.. imagine Harp music, her lovely voice, under the stars with the rushing river behind you while you're in the Hot Springs.. doesn't get any better then that!  The photo with the woman with a hat & dog and I is Phoenix & I saying good bye at the Clff Dwellings.

Duke & I got in a 6km run/walk (way too many inclines to run the whole time!).. then we all headed over to the Cliff Dwellings.  There, Duke wasn't allowed up, so, Jerry & I went alone.  They are very civilized, they have crates to leave your dogs in while you take the hike, we didn't want to leave Duke in a crate,  so, we left him in the Van, in the shade with a breeze and food and water.. Anyhow, Jerry & I went in for the 3 mile hike, zig zagging up a hill to the Cliff Dwellings.. Like Jerry says, anything worth seeing is either a big climb up or down.. this was worth seeing, and was up!

Well, this has been the best few days of the trip yet, however, Jerry tells me that we're heading for even more amazing places.. Tomorrow we're going to hot-springs which are in the desert in Arizona!

That's it for now.. we have some wonderful videos we've taken too, I'll see if we have time to upload a couple tonight, as i would like to get some voice over power points done for YLM tonight, their new system is launching next week.. i was thinking (as you have lots of time to think up here) it would be nice to have some of the new system with some voice overs for the 140 YLM communities..  and i promised J some materials for his Peterborough Talent Search 2010 contestants, on how to promote themselves. I've been writing both while we travel.. so, I'd like to send out both!
Bye for now!