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October, 2005
Indio, CA  to Lake Havasu City, AZ October 1
Today, as we left the Shadow Hills RV Park, I decided to take the long route around the Salton Sea. In some ways it was a mistake because there wasn't much to see along the eastern side of the lake on Hwy 111, just lots of desert with not much variation in the landscape. At the south end of the lake at Brawley, we headed north on Hwy 78. Along that route, we saw a lot more vegetation including citrus trees, alfalfa, and even cotton fields and a ginning facility. There were also huge dairy farms that smelled for miles.

Heading north, we had to stop at a border patrol station and also saw several border patrol cars along the route. Tumbleweeds blew across the road and saguaro cactus dotted the hillsides. The drive took us through Quartzite and we weren't really too impressed with that area. We arrived late at Havasu Falls RV Resort ($35) to spend the night.
October 2
This morning, we left Lake Havasu City and headed toward Laughlin/Bullhead City. We decided to drive a 45-mile stretch of Historic Route 66, the route we took back to Wisconsin from Long Beach, CA in December of 1968 when Mike was released from active duty in the Navy. We were really glad we took the detour because it brought back so many memories, even though we couldn‚??t remember how hilly and winding the road was. On that trip, we were driving our little VW bug through blizzard conditions all the way from Needles, CA to Oklahoma City, OK. No wonder we couldn‚??t remember what the countryside looked like, we were white knuckling it for 4 days. Rocco was with us on that trip, so it brought back many memories of him too.

The drive took us through the old mining town of Oatman where the streets were full of tourists shopping the t-shirt shops, souvenir shops, ice cream and fudge shops (you get the picture) and wild burros. At one point, the burros were blocking the road and one even came right up to the driver‚??s side window.

We arrived at Bullhead City and stopped for the night at the Moon River RV Resort in Mohave Valley ($17), a little south of Bullhead City to spend the next 2 nights. The place isn‚??t fancy, but it is clean and neat and not very crowded...yet‚?¶ they are awaiting the arrival of the snowbirds here too. The days are really hot around here, close to 100¬į and the nights drop down to near 70¬į. There‚??s not much shade, so we put on the new UV screens that we had made and extended the awning. Unfortunately, the sun‚??s path goes straight over us, so the awning didn‚??t do much good. Thank God for AC, although it cooled down enough Monday night that we could have the AC off and the windows open. The quiet and the fresh air felt good for a change.

Lake Havasu City to Mohave Valley, AZ
Mohave Valley to Flagstaff, AZ October 4
Not much to say about this drive. We did stock up on groceries at Walmart before heading out. Plan to spend a couple of nights in Flagstaff in order to see the sights in this area. We spent the night at a KOA ($33) - a bit expensive considering they had to cable TV or wireless internet.

It was really windy and we couldn't believe the difference in temperature - a real cool 70 degrees and it dropped to the high 30s at night, but it was great sleeping without the AC running.
Flagstaff to Sedona, AZ October 5
Today's plan was to take a drive to see Sedona, then on to see Walnut Canyon National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano, but we never got past Sedona. The drive here along US-89A through Oak Creek Canyon was beautiful! Although folks had told us how beautiful it was around Sedona, we expected to see more of the same desert country that we had been through. Not true. It was another of those sharp curves and around every curve was another breathtaking sight.

A stop in the downtown led to a stop in a movie museum where we got sucked into a free 2-night stay at a luxury timeshare resort. WE DID NOT BUY, but we did have a pleasant stay.

The nights have been cool and we can hear coyotes yapping throughout the night - kind of spooky.
Sedona to Grand Canyon October 7
Left Sedona via Arizona Hwy 179 that led us through the Oak Creek Canyon, then north on I-17 to Flagstaff where we stopped to stock up on food for Lucy. From there we headed west to Williams and on up Hwy 64 to the south rim of the Grand Canyon where we spent the night at the Mather Campground ($15). Mike was feeling a bit under the weather with cold symptoms meant for a pretty quiet evening. The campground had no hookups and limited generator usage, so we went to bed early.


October 8
Saturday morning we headed for the rim trail and hiked along the canyon rim, enough to get some pictures and enjoy the breathtaking views and cool breezes. We wore Lucy out because she ended up sleeping the rest of the afternoon.

Today‚??s destination was Page, AZ near Lake Powell. As we were driving out of the national park toward the east entrance, we were both pretty excited when a wolf crossed the road in front of us. We didn‚??t have the camera close by, so missed out on the photo op. Once again, the drive was absolutely gorgeous and led us through high desert and along the Navajo Indian Reservation. We had a nice chat with a man that was selling jewelry and crafts along the roadside and we purchased some great buffalo jerky from him. As we got closer to Page, red cliffs surrounded us as far as the eye could see, at one point the road cut through a hillside and we had high red walls on both sides of us. This country is so amazing ‚?? you can drive 100 miles and see so many different types of terrain. Once again, we feel so fortunate to be able to taking this trip.

Our stop for today was at the Page-Lake Powell RV Park ($24). Heavy, dark clouds moved into the area and we had some rain and even thunder and lightening. We haven‚??t seen any rain since leaving Iowa in mid-July, so it was kind of refreshing.


Grand Canyon to Page, AZ
Page to Bryce, 152 miles October 9
This morning we packed up and headed toward Bryce Canyon National Park, about 130 miles from Page on Hwy 89. The closer we got to Bryce Canyon, the redder the hillsides became and also more vegetation. After turning east on Hwy 12 near Panguitch, there were ranches and expensive looking houses dotting the hillsides. A cowboy was herding his cattle along the roadside. Once again, I didn't have the camera close by. We only stayed at Bryce long enough to see the canyon from the rim trail and to check out the campgrounds. It was really windy and cold.

Heading back west on Hwy 12, we stopped for the night at a campground in Red Canyon ($12), probably the most beautiful campsite on the entire trip. Everywhere you look, there are beautiful red rock formations. The campground is relatively new and still very clean. The campground host informed us that the campground is closing for the season at the end of the week. When he arrived in March, there was 8-10 inches of snow covering the ground and it won't be long in coming. That‚??s the last thing we want to see. Because it is soooo COLD, probably mid-low 30s, we spent the evening holed up in the motor home. This is the coldest we have experienced in a long, long time. We sat drinking wine and playing scrabble with the heat on and snuggled in warm clothing.

October 10-12
Funny, we were packed up and on the road by 9:30 this morning. I think it had to do with the COLD. We started the day off with a nice, hot bowl of oatmeal, then headed out toward Zion National Park. I really do think that this has been the most beautiful scenery of the whole trip. The views are just spectacular, with so many different color variations and the red in the hillsides is gorgeous.

Going through Zion National Park, there are two tunnels, the first was plenty big to accommodate our Volksbox but the second required that the traffic on the other end be stopped and held until we went through, driving down the middle of the tunnel. It must have been at least a mile long, seemed like forever.

We wanted to check out St. George, but there were senior games going on and all campgrounds were full and expensive. We headed north to Leeds, a small town and stayed in the Leeds Campground - very nice, quiet, off the interstate and only $20 per night. We will spend the next 3 nights here before heading to Las Vegas to meet up with the Hooveys.
Bryce Canyon to Leeds, 142 miles
October 13-16
The drive to Las Vegas took us through some rather boring countryside. Hilly and scattered with Joshua trees for most of the 130 miles, no interesting looking towns to speak of. Guess we won't be settling in here.

Lucy was dropped off at the kennel for the next 3 days and we proceeded on to the KOA at Circus Circus, just a big parking lot, but it will do. Pat and Roger arrived around 4:00 and we caught up on the last 3 months, then Sherry arrived in the evening. We gambled a bit, had dinner and gambled a bit more - no big wins tonight.

We met for breakfast at the Riviera, played a little, then hung out at the pool. Sherry aka Big Spender, aka Big Winner, bought dinner at Circus Circus on her gambling comps. We gambled a little (lost a little) and it was an early night for Mike and I because I started to come down with the cold that Mike had all last week. AJ & Abby arrived around 11:00 and they all played blackjack until 3:30. They all won at least $100 except Roger who broke even.

Met for breakfast (thanks again, Sherry) at Circus Circus, played for a while at the Stratosphere, then headed downtown. Played for a while (and lost), then walked Fremont Street and shopped. Met up with the group again for dinner at Main Street Station, watched the show on Fremont Street, gambled a little, then headed back to the strip. No big winners in the group again today.

Another breakfast on Sherry's comps today, then we headed for the other end of the strip to check out the newer casinos. Walked through Bellagio and played there for a while. Sherry hit the jackpot playing video poker and won $2000. We went from there to the Barbary Coast and played a little more. Mike has won there in the past and wanted to try again, he won a little bit there. Sherry felt her luck was better there, so she stayed on that end and the rest of us headed back. AJ and Abby wanted to play more blackjack at Slots of Fun where they had $3 tables. I got lucky there and came out ahead for the first time all weekend. I finally felt like I didn't have to quit by 10pm. AJ and Abby headed for the airport after doing well at blackjack and the rest of us went to dinner at Tony Romas. After dinner, we played at the Stardust for a while and I came out ahead once again. Thats enough for me.

AJ and Abby called to say they never made it to the airport. An accident along the way backed traffic up for miles and prevented the cab from getting to the airport and $57 later, they were back with us. Sherry helped them with her airline experience and got them on a plane the next morning and they bunked with Pat & Roger. Mike and I called it a night, said goodbye and headed back home to the Volksbox. Another great vacation, good times and great company, but I'm ready to move on once again.
Leeds to Las Vegas, 130 miles
Las Vegas to Kingman, AZ October 17-18
Drove south on US 93 and got to see the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead along the way. It started raining hard and we were pretty tired, so we decided to stop in Kingman for the night. Since we're not on any schedule, it was an easy decision to make. So we got some groceries and went to the KOA.

The rain continued to pour down all through the night and we woke up this morning in a soaked bed. The rain was seeping into the floor of the cabover on the passenger side. We will have to seal it up once it dries out (it's supposed to be back near 80 and sunny the rest of the week). For now, we put some blocks under that front wheel to see if it changes the direction of the runoff - sure hope that works until we can fix it. Needless to say, we decided to spend another night here since its supposed to storm and rain all day again.
October 19-28
Today we headed south from Kingman on Us 93, then cut over to I17 and drove to Mesa where we stopped to look at some RVs. Spent the night at Mesa Regal RV Park ($35) then headed to La Mesa RV in the morning where we spent the day negotiating on a different motor home. At one point during the day, we were headed back to the Volksbox to have some lunch and couldn‚??t believe our eyes. Right next to us sat an identical Volksbox, the first that we have seen since leaving Forest City, IA. The dealership also had the Vista model on the lot. Back to the negotiating ‚?? before leaving we were the new owners of a 2001 Winnebago Brave, 30 foot Class A motor home. We will pick it up next week.

We arrived at Nan & Dale‚??s house in Tempe and proceeded to catch up on lost time. We went to Monti‚??s La Casa Vieja restaurant (a historic mill & home) in downtown Tempe for dinner. Monica got home from work and we chatted for a while. It was so nice to them all again.

On Saturday, Monica, Nan, and I went to the Desert Botanical Gardens while Dale golfed and Mike worked on their computer to get it wireless. That evening we had a great dinner of capon cooked on the grill rotisserie.

Once it got dark, the family demonstrated their scorpion hunting techniques - using a blacklight, they stalk the cement block fence looking for the creatures that glow in the dark. Once found, they are pummelled with a shovel. We didn't find too many since the nights are getting cool and the scorpions are starting to hibernate.

After dinner we took a drive to Starbucks to shee where Monica works and to have a coffee. When we got back to the house, we had cherries jubilee and played Tripoli where Mike as the big-time winner.

On Sunday afternoon (23rd), we all piled into the Volksbox to go to Tortilla Flats. The route took us along Route 88 through the Superstition Mountains. We stopped for a while at a park along the Colorado River, then on to Tortilla Flats Saloon & Settlement, an old stagecoach stop on the Apache Trail. We had a nice dinner in the old saloon where the walls are covered with $$$$ bills and the bar stools are saddles.

Tuesday, 25th. Found our tow car in Sun City, a 1987 Suzuki Samarai, now named *bleep*ty Brown. We named it this because the previous owner was in the process of waxing it when he began to have heart problems and ended up in the hospital. The wax made it look really bad. Lots of elbow grease and various cleaners and new wax got it looking pretty good. It will really be nice to get off the beaten path, take side-trips and just go shopping now and then.

Thursday, 27th. Picked up the new motorhome at the dealer, had a walk through (it will take a while to learn and remember everything), transferred all of our stuff from the Volksbox to the Bravebox and headed back to Nan & Dale's house. We managed to get it backed into the driveway. Can't believe how much more room we have now. It will take a while to get organized.

Friday, 28th. It felt really good to sleep on a regular bed again. Although I really didn't mind the climb up the ladder to the overhead bunk in the Volksbox, this is a true luxury. Monica, Mike, and I met Nan for lunch at a nice Mexican restaurant on the square in Chandler. We stopped on the way back to get new sheets for the motorhome. In the evening we went to Shangri La, a Chinese restaurant for dinner.

Saturday, 29th. Drove 3 1/2 hours to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point), Mexico and rented a condo on the beach for the night. The beach is gorgeous with white sand, clear water, dolphins and pelicans, and shrimp boats scattered along the horizon. There were not many people around. We had a great dinner, plenty of good drinks, and enjoyed the good company, the sounds of the surf and the great sea air.

On Sunday we hung out at the beach, fixed a great breakfast, and bartered with the vendors that peddle their wares along the beach. I had a pedicure by Juanita on the veranda of the condo. Unfortunately, it was time to leave so Mike didn't get to have a pedicure too.

After leaving the condo, we drove around to check out the RV parks for possible future visits, then went on to the downtown market. After shopping, we had dinner at the Senior Shrimp restaurant overlooking the water. Our waiter, Hugo, helped us purchase shrimp to take home with us. The last time Nan and Dale were here, they bartered to get the price down and found they were shorted on weight when they got back home. Hugo made sure that we got the correct weight and we made sure he was well paid for the service.

Created on 09/26/2005 12:30 PM by bridge
Updated on 11/13/2005 03:08 PM by bridge
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