Traveling is always fun. I love to get out and explore familiar and unfamiliar destinations. Traveling in an RV provides that extra comfort and convenience of being able to stop for a nap, open the fridge for a cool beverage or make a sandwich. It is a blessing and is far more exciting than travelling in a car – for me anyway.
We got home late Wednesday afternoon and unpacked. Packing for the trip is always more exciting that getting back home and unpacking. We typically clean Shorty up inside and out as soon as we get home, but for now he is just getting unloaded. Tomorrow he will get scrubbed inside and out.
“LIVING IN ARIZONA”
I was so excited about our trip to Arizona to explore Prescott, Prescott Valley and some of the surrounding cities. I have been following a Facebook group and You Tube Channel, called “Living in Arizona.” The host, Jeff, is a resident and seems to know all things Arizona. His You Tube channel has a library of various episodes covering almost any and every subject about Arizona. His Facebook group with 2.4K members is also very interactive and informative. Arizona resident members have a wealth of knowledge and are so helpful in responding to those of us, not yet residents. Jeff is pretty cool, knowledgeable and a funny guy. In following “Living in Arizona” Jeff has provided enough information for me that I can weed out cities that I don’t need to explore primarily because of the weather. It seems that central Arizona speaks to my husband and I more so than the Phoenix area (too hot) or the Flagstaff area (too cold). We like the idea of temperate weather; and Prescott and the surrounding cities provide just that – they are just right.
Our adventure to Arizona began last Thursday afternoon. My previous post showed the traffic as we were heading to the Arizona Border. Even though the evening was upon us, we could feel that desert heat as we passed thru the Palm Springs and Palm Desert areas. A trip that typically takes two hours took us three and a half with all of that traffic. Since we had a late start we decided to find a place to spend the night once we hit the Arizona border. We opted for the Rest stop in Ehrenberg, AZ, a border town just before Quartzsite. (We have slept at Rest Stops before. We always feel safe, but they are a little on the noisy side. BUT if you are tired, they will do the trick.) OMG it was so hot! The outside temp was 102 and before we cooled it down, the inside of our rig was 96 degrees! We slept with the generator on all night to keep it cool. Between listening to the generator all night and the big rigs coming and going, it was not a great night’s sleep, but we did get enough rest to continue our adventure. We woke up at the crack of dawn and hit the road.
The sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning. We stopped in Quartzite for coffee with our sites set on exploring the new Dorn Community in Wickenburg. I love the long stretches of desert highway along the 95. It’s dry. No one waters or cares for the land, yet in the distance one can see the blooming cactus, some bearing fruit, the little desert bushes and occasional wildlife. Man can come in and build and shape the land, but once he leaves, nature takes over. Nature finds a way, it always does; nature rules! The desert is sparse, but beautiful in it’s own right. On the 60 between Vicksburg and Wickenburg one can notice the changing terrain and smell the difference in the air. The soil smells richer, almost like compost; don’t know why, but I could smell the soil. Besides the RV parks dispersed here and there, there are a few random homes along the road. Who would choose to live in such a desolate place? and why? I ask myself.
It was at least 100 degrees as we approached Wickenburg. The Dorn model homes were cute, but far too close to each other. There wasn’t much by way of amenities in the town according to the locals.
We stopped in a Denny’s for breakfast and there we met some locals who shared their thoughts. “It is a great retirement town, but if one doesn’t golf or ride horses, there is not much to do.” The gentleman continued stating that they had to drive to the next town for any major shopping. There was one little grocery store, but no Costco, Target or Walmart. He and his wife were happy there because it was a little sleepy town and they had friends there. Turns our Wickenburg was not our cup of tea, plus it was tooo hot.
We arrived in Prescott early afternoon and explored some of the new Dorn home builds and walked through lots of model homes. The model homes are so beautifully decorated; they were quite impressive. Ideally we want to park Shorty on our property but learned that it is not allowed at many of the new builds. There was one home model that would build an RV garage, (Pronghorn Ranch)to the tune of about 60K, which was the only way to keep Shorty at home with us. The others offered off sit RV parking facilities. Well, It looks like we will have to find an established neighborhood with a long driveway or room for Shorty at the side of the house on our land.
The Dorn homes boast “The Organic Home.” They are well built and ventilated. We checked out the following Dorn home builds: Walden Farms, Shadow Ridge at Pronghorn, Talking Rock, and Vistas at the Dells in Prescott. Other Dorn homes we checked out were in Prescott Valley, and Cottonwood. They were all nice, BUT the Pronghorn Ranch is the only community that would build an RV garage.
We arrived at Mark and Roxanne’s home on Friday. They are friends that feel more like family. Roxanne had our room ready; even though we could park on their property and sleep in Shorty….we don’t, they have plenty of room. She and Mark had a tough week and Craig and I were tired. We went out for a bite and caught up. There is always so much to talk about. The next morning Roxanne had breakfast and coffee ready when we got up. During breakfast we discussed our plans of exploring the vicinity. But before we started exploring we hit the Farmer’s market. It was a nice size farmers market with the usual items; fruit, veggies, specialty items and foods to try along with a local beef supplier; Broken Horn D Ranch; http://www.BHDRanch.com. We purchased some ribeye steaks for dinner. While there it started to rain; and then pour. Before you knew it, people were clamoring for the vendor tents to avoid from getting soaked. The rain would stop and then start again, like in Hawaii. It was a hot and rainy, but good day with friendly people.
We did some exploring in the afternoon. Roxanne, being a proud resident for 30+years had much input on the areas we explored. She drove us around and acted as a tour guide offering history and information on the various neighborhoods, housing projects, builders, things to do, and places to shop. She was quite a little gold nugget for us! The information she shared was invaluable. We looked on Zillow and Realtor for homes meeting our specifications and drove around checking out various neighborhoods. It was a busy day. We grilled the steaks for dinner along with some veggies. After dinner we played cards – Phase 10 – and did a lot of laughing.
Sunday we did some more exploring and drove around more neighborhoods looking at homes. Another busy day. The Matthew’s neighbor, 91 year old Kitty is downsizing and selling her home. She was gracious enough to let us take a look at it. The land surrounding her home was great with some nice boulders and plenty of space between her and her neighbors and on a quiet street! The home was cute, but outdated and would require lots of upgrades but it had a really cool detached artist/craft building and a couple of little Zen and fairy gardens. There was plenty of room to park Shorty on the property. Later that evening we had the pleasure of having dinner with Mark and Roxanne’s three beautiful little grandchildren. We could easily see that these kiddos are the “apples of their eyes.”
CAMP VERDE, COTTONWOOD & DEWEY-HUMBOLDT
After breakfast, Monday morning we bid our farewells to the Matthews, with our sights set on Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Dewey-Humboldt, and Payson. First stop, Camp Verde. The mountain drive to Camp Verde was beautiful, and about 45 minutes from Prescott. As we approached the town, I could see the green valley below. I saw a winding river, lots of green pastures, cows, roads and hiking trails. What a picturesque little town, I thought to myself. It was so cute. We drove down the main street and found a little local coffee house called “Thanks Alatte,” they also sold sandwiches, smoothies and pastries. We each got a latte and chatted with a couple of locals who were sitting on a cozy brown couch talking. One of them was the town reporter for the local paper who was very proud to share some of the town history with us. The gentleman who he was speaking with could have easily been Kurt Russell’s TWIN. All he needed was a bigger, handlebar mustache and he could have doubled for him in the movie “Tombstone.” They told us of some expansion projects and how the town is looking for entrepreneurs to help grow the town. Turns out that both gentlemen were from California – 0ne from Riverside and the other from La Jolla. They moved there yearning for a smaller slow paced town. They found it! And are very happy there. The reporter shared that there are land lots for sale for prospective cattle and those wishing to do some farming. They encouraged us to take a ride to visit the towns of Strawberry and Payson, except that we were heading the other way to Cottonwood when we left them.
Sidebar: When we were chatting with these gentlemen, our friends the Carey’s came to mind. They are a very entrepreneurial young couple. He has a desire to raise cattle, chickens and grow their own food. They both bake AMAZING Keto/sugar free desserts and are super healthy. This lifestyle would suite them nicely. In my head I could see them living in this little idealic town with us driving over the mountain to visit and bring them supplies and what not from Prescott. LOL, I have a very vivid imagination!
After leaving Camp Verde we headed over to Cottonwood, just southwest of Sedona. We’d been to Cottonwood before with Mark and Roxanne so it was a little familiar. We drove around a bend and I saw the coolest store called the “Hippie Emporium” I had to go inside and look, so Craig pulled over. I jumped out and took a couple of pix and then went inside. It was like stepping back in time, into the 60’s with tye-dyed t-shirts, incense, lotions, dresses, headbands, hats, scarves, pipes and so much other paraphernalia. Almost anything one could think of from the 60’s hippie era was in this store. It was fascinating! The owner came out from a back room to greet me. As she pushed the tapestry aside I could see that she was a slender woman, with two long braids wearing a head band, tye-dyed dress and flip flops. Such a stereotypical hippie. She must have been in her 70’s. She was the coolest lady and gave me a quick tour and a little history about some of the items. She was especially proud of her hemp and cannabis products. She said that if I needed anything that her grandson, Clay could help me. He was blonde, tall and slender, maybe early 30’s, standing in the background listening to her and waved when she mentioned his name. I must have been in there about 20 minutes – Craig opted to stay in the RV. I thanked her for her time and waved to Clay and headed out of the store back to 2019.
It was early evening and we were hungry, so we opted to stop for dinner at the Colt Grill that boasts delicious BBQ. The staff was friendly and the food was good. We took a little walk through town before we left Cottonwood. I noticed that their City Hall was a little store front building, truly a small town. After our walk we headed to Dewey-Humboldt.
We hopped on the 69, 89, 71, 60 and finally the 10 taking us to the Arizona/California border. Each highway offered different scenery. While on the 89 we stopped at the Granite Mountain Hot Shots Memorial State Park, near Yarnell, where 19 members of an elite fire fighting team died on June 30, 2013, while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. The park opened on November 30, 2016, and had over 18,000 visitors in its first year. We stopped to pay homage and say a prayer for the families. There was a picture of the Hot Shots just prior to the fire – most of them were in their 20’s and 30’s.😭
The mountain roads provided beautiful views of the valley below and the desert skies provided beautiful blue skies and white fluffy clouds.
We crossed the border and decided to spend the night at Hidden Beaches RV Resort in Blythe, CA. The resort honored Good Sam; so for one night it was $38.61 for electric and water hook ups. Hidden Beaches RV resort is quite the little gem with RV sights right on the water. It was a very peaceful night’s sleep as the river rolled by. The next morning I took a walk to explore the facility. I spied the bathrooms, showers and a laundry room; all very clean. By the boat launch area there is a little park with cement tables and umbrellas. It seemed like a nice place to hang out on a hot afternoon while sipping a cool libation. There was even a little thatched umbrella with table in the water.
This place was a hidden gem.
We didn’t make it to Payson or Strawberry, AZ this trip; maybe next time. We have our sights on Prescott.
Well, Shorty got washed inside and out today and he is ready for his next adventure.
One thought on “Exploring Arizona-September”
You are a great writer, I felt like I was on the trip with you guys.