Looking for Montezuma Well.

An old work buddy suggested we go find the Well.  We did,  it was pretty amazing.  A deep spring in the middle of nowhere that has thousands of gallons of fresh water coming in every day.   And there were some rock dwellings along the cliff face.

Driving up to Sedona.

The day after visiting Montezuma, Jerome and Tuzigoot we ventured out to Sedona.   I just love all the red mountains. (like everyone else)   It was a 17 or so mile easy drive to the town.  I am amazed how many roundabouts they have now.  We went thru 25 if we went thru 1.    I was shocked how many stores had been built since ’89 but i guess that is progress of sorts.

We parked around the old part of town just prior to heading out of town on the northern end and started looking for a breakfast joint.   Prior to finding breakfast we were found by what I will call a “Sedona hawker”   It seems that one out of every four storefronts are in business to resell tickets for the four things that tourists must want to do.  The pink jeep tour,  the Trolley,  the Train or the Helicopter ride.   I kid you not,  there were so many of those shops I wondered how anyone could pay the rent.   This guy was pretty smooth,  and almost sucked me in.  Talking about a new camping spot right in town that he can get us.   What he failed to mention was it was a timeshare place we would have to endure the few hours of high pressure sales.   We said we would stop by again on the way back to give him time to get us an RV Site.   Luckliy I looked the place up while at breakfast/lunch and found out I wouldn’t ever want to stay there, let alone sit thru the sales presentation.

Afterward we wandered thru many trinket shops and art studios but it all looked somewhat tourists chic…

After a non existent breakfast at a Panera Bread clone business that stopped serving breakfast at 10:30..  Ala McDonald’s…  we wandered back to the car on the other side of the street to miss that smooth hawker…

I have to say that the views from town of the red mountains were incredible.   Once we got back to the car and headed toward the Red Rock Loop road out west of downtown.    Just a gorgeous road that was supposed to go down to a large pool on Oak Creek and small water falls.  The gal at the ranger booth told us that this time of year it’s pretty dry,  but once the monsoons start,  next month that would be an awesome place to be.

On the way out of Sedona we went looking for the chapel.   Once we found it we were in awe of the surroundings.   You must park at the bottom and walk up to the chapel and it’s worth the hike.   Incredible views from all sides.  There is even a gift shop underneath the chapel,  just take the inside stairs down one flight.

A drive up the mountain to Jerome Az

I had been to Jerome back in ’89 on a motorcycle trip with my Cuz and another friend.   I really liked it and knew I would be back to spend more time there.   It took a while but we made it.   It was a beautiful sunny and fairly cool day, mid 70’s with a slight breeze.   As we traversed the three levels of the town we started thinking about getting breakfast.   Since we had the pups we needed to find a place with a patio.      We found two of them,  one was closed and the other was a hole in the wall,   Downstairs off one of the streets that intersected two of the levels.   Our little patio was not much more than four feet wide.

The pups were a big hit in this town, everyone wanted to pet them.

A visit to Montezuma Castle.

This was an impressive site.   I’ve always wanted to see some of the cliff dwellings.   They are more impressive in person than in the pics.   We got there early as the day was supposed to be hot.   To our amazement our pups were allowed to hike the trails with us.   Everywhere else we’ve been excluded dogs from the trails.

The pups received their Bark Ranger Credentials. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Yuma to Camp Verde

Thankfully we were able to get out of Yuma before it got up to 100,  guess it was about 9:30 am as we trekked over to the CAT scales to get the coach weighed prior to hitting the freeway.   We were under the limits, a hair over 6 tons on the front axle and just a bit less than the 10 tons the rear axles are rated for.    

The TOAD weighed in at 3900 lbs,  probably 500 lbs more than the Jeep.

We jumped on I-8 east toward Gila Bend, then up to I-10 and over to I- 17,  it was a fairly uneventful trip all the way to  the Distant Drum RV resort on the outskirts of Camp Verde.

What we did figure out is we need to map out where we can stop half way to our destinations.   I have found a pretty good resource listing most rest stops since getting to Camp Verde.

RVParky is my new favorite tool!  http://www.rvparky.com/

Heading toward Yuma on the first day out.

We started heading out interstate 8 east into the mountains with Yuma as the destination.   It was warm and as this was the first time for pulling Kathy’s equinox, I kept one eye on the rear camera hoping it was still there each time i looked.   After about 60 miles we topped the highest pass for this part of the trip at  4120 feet,   And then there is a long steep grade heading down to the desert floor that gets to about 50 below sea level.   I got to use my Jake on  the way down to keep the speed below 55, only had to set it to stage 1 compression which uses just 3 of the 6 cylinders to slow the coach down without using the brakes.   I am starting to wonder if I will ever need to use the 2nd stage for anything I will drive on.

As we got a few miles into the desert we noticed it was about 110 degrees outside.   Just then the tire pressure monitoring system started alarming.   After my initial “oh crap” moment i realized it was an over pressure, not an under pressure situation.   Turns out I had set the upper threshold too low.  Live and learn…. err, every day is a learning experience.   No harm, no foul and we kept trucking to Yuma.

We arrived at our destination just at 5pm, were checked in within a couple of minutes and a guy in a golf cart escorted us to the site.   Fairly uneventful except it was extremely hot,  so hot I had to turn the fridge down a few points to keep it cold.  But that’s a story i will write up later.

JFYI.  Both A/C units were on all night while in Shangri La.

 

 

Working on the punch list prior to leaving for the long trip .

Where has the time gone  Last minute updates to the coach are happening right now at a feverish pace.   Swapping a white outlet under the dining room table for the brown one that was impossible to find when you needed to plug in your phone or tablet, extending that circuit over to the side of that cabinet for plugging in the TV I installed behind the couch.  And hopefully I will have time to install the Linear actuator that will raise and lower that same TV with the push of a remote.

Ordered a new See Level Bluetooth tank monitoring system to replace the OEM system that always had me wondering how full they were.  While it’s slowly making its way here, I’ve been pulling wire from all the tanks and finding a place to draw power etc.

 

I sold the Jeep last Monday after Kathy said enough of the jarring ride.  Had the Equinox modified on Thursday to be able to tow it behind the coach.

We had a Base-plate installed along with a wiring kit to have the Equinox’s tail lights show followers what we intend to do.   And as a bonus I had a switch installed so we don’t need to unplug a fuse each time we tow and replace it when we get there and need to drive the car somewhere.

Our first few “Shake Down” trips around San Diego

Let me start out by saying I am way behind on setting this up.  Needed to get the coach customized for us to make the long trip more enjoyable.

Our first outing was to a small County campground called Dos Picos outside of Ramona CA.   Beautiful secluded park with some very low hanging large (18″)  branches way to close too our coach.   Dos Picos Campground

Our next trip the following weekend was to Santee Lakes,  much closer to home than the previous park.   It’s a very crowded place on weekends, as it’s close to the City of San Diego.     Santee Lakes Campground

 

 

 

The following week we headed off to the mountains east of San Diego.   It’s a good climb, a real test of the cooling system and horsepower as this was the first time we pulled the Jeep and we did one 4000 foot pass on the way.    Potrero was great,  lots of huge California live oak trees for shade.  Our campsite had a 10 acre wooded area for our table and chairs.  It was amazing!   I scoped out some other sites with full shade to maybe come back during the summer months which can be really hot out here.     This is the trip where I almost stepped on the biggest rattler I have ever seen.   Luckily it moved back a bit, kind of the sidewinder coil and I stopped,  yanked my dog back, turned around to get out of there and noticed Kathy was halfway back down the trail.  I guess she only had to outrun me.

Potrero County campground

The final shakedown was to Sweetwater Summit campground south of town near Bonita CA.   Our nextdoor neighbors recommended this place and it lived up to their claims.   We will come back to this place a lot in the future.   Sweetwater Summit Campground