Our Good Fortune Continued

It was mid August when Al and I were in dire need of a little down time.  With obligations behind us, we were able to meander as our hearts desired.  Just the way we like to roll.

Elks LodgeAfter a four hour drive, we pulled into the Elks Lodge parking lot in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We found a nice grassy spot to set up camp for three nights.  It’s easy to fall in love with Santa Fe, New Mexico.

It is such an eclectic mix of new and old offering a little something for everyone, not to mention a great farmer’s market.  Ah, yes… worthy of its own post!

And although we loved our boondocking spot at the Elk’s Lodge, the real camping gem we discovered was forty miles down the road.  At Cochiti Lake Campground we snagged a lovely pull-thru site with electric and water.

Loved the Cochiti Lake Campground

Loved the Cochiti Lake Campground – photo taken just before sites filled up and rain started

Each afternoon, a summer storm would roll through gracing me with an artistic show that only mother nature could create.  During these storms, I would try to leave the RV door open or at least a window. Cochit Lake Campground

The smell of fresh rain in this arid high desert landscape was intoxicating and the vegetation and bunnies seemed to relish in the moisture.  And once the storms passed, a rainbow would remind me to smile.  Each afternoon as I sat in the comfort of the RV watching the show unfold, I was flooded with a mix of emotions; comfort, relaxed, awed, alive, lucky, life is good …..  and this is why we RV.

Cochiti Lake Campground

Cochiti Lake Campground

The ten days we spent here were just what we needed to relax and rejuvenate.  Although the majority of the time was spent around camp, I did manage to venture into Santa Fe  a few times and hiked at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument at every opportunity.

Hiking at Kasha-Katuwe NM had me feeling relaxed and renewed

Hiking at Kasha-Katuwe NM left me feeling relaxed and renewed …. aaahhh!  There’s something very special and spiritual about this place or maybe it was my timing.

We also managed to take in a quick visit to Bandelier National Monument. We must return - fascinating!

We also managed to take in a quick visit to Bandelier National Monument.  Fascinating place that we must return to! Unfortunately, weather forced us off the trail.

This area in New Mexico is definitely a place I look forward to returning to and as much as I was reluctant to leave, hitch itch set in and it was time to put the RV wheels in motion.

Our next stop was in Arizona at the Petrified Forest National Park.  On the far south side of the National Park, just outside the park entrance, are a couple of gift shops.  They allow free overnight camping.  We stayed here last year for a quick overnight when we helped our daughter move from Denver to Phoenix.

Our free campsite near the Petrified Forest National Park

Our free campsite near the Petrified Forest National Park – Crystal Forest Gift Shop

During this visit, I was able to linger and explore the park …. well kind of.

Retracing the historic route 66 - those are the original telephone poles. A quick photo before the bad storm rolls in.

Retracing historic Route 66 – original telephone poles still stand. Quick photo before the bad storm hits.

The weather wasn’t necessarily all that agreeable and after I took a fair share of commemorative photos, the lightening and down pouring rain had me hightailing it back to the RV.

In between weather fronts, Al and I decided to hit the road bound for Williams, Arizona.  Fortunately, the winds were short lived and the three hour drive was pretty uneventful.

While we were trying to back in to a site at Lake Kaibab National Forest, the camp host rolled up in his golf cart letting us know he just received a cancellation for a nice pull-thru site ….. sweet!  My how those travel Gods continued to smile upon us.

Our peaceful campsite at Lake Kaibab National Forest Campground

Our peaceful campsite at Lake Kaibab National Forest Campground

my front yard - aaahhh, relaxing!

my front yard – aaahhh, relaxing!

Williams, Arizona, is known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon, but the town has also done an amazing job of rebranding itself and playing up its Route 66 history.  This is a fun little town worth spending an afternoon exploring.  It’s also a great place to grab a bite to eat or a hotel room for a visit to the Grand Canyon since the national park is only an hour drive up the road.

Williams, Arizona - historic Route 66 is the theme around here - fun!

Williams, Arizona – historic Route 66 is the theme around here – fun!

I had every intention of driving up to the Grand Canyon for a day of photography, but I managed to come down with a head cold and with the cool temps that are common in this part of Arizona at the end of August, I longed for some heat.

So down in elevation we went …. to the town of Cottonwood.  Just east of town is a popular boondocking spot (free camping, no services).  It’s amazing how drastic the change in weather can be a mere hour apart.  In Flagstaff the weather temps barely hit 70 degrees Fahrenheit while in Cottonwood temperatures were well into the 90’s.  The heat felt wonderful, although when it reached 104 inside the RV, even sick lil’ol me thought it was a tad too hot.  However, between the RV sauna, chicken noodle soup, and a spicy Mexican meal at Javalina’s in Sedona, I started feeling better in short order.

Boondocking near Cottonwood, AZ. Sedona off in the distance.

Boondocking near Cottonwood, AZ. Sedona off in the distance.

Three days of boondocking in the desert heat had us moving on down to Prescott Valley in search of electric and air conditioning.  We booked a month long stay at the Fairgrounds RV Park.

Fairgrounds RV Park, Prescott Valley, AZ. It was an ok place to park for the month of September.

Fairgrounds RV Park, Prescott Valley, AZ. It was an ok place to park for the month of September.

On October 1st we returned to Phoenix, Arizona, our starting point back in April. We’ve been comfortably parked on the north side of the valley and visiting  with friends and family regularly.

So now you’re all caught up on our summer journey.  I’ll eventually write some posts and share a bunch more photos on the highlights of our summer stops.  We truly had a fantastic six month adventure filled with lots of firsts and a few repeats

Al and me with our daughter and son. We're able to spend the holidays together this year - happy dance!

Al, our daughter, our son and me. We’re able to spend the holidays together this year – happy dance!

For now, I’m off to finish up my Christmas shopping…..

Should I get this pressure cooker or would this  drone be more fun? I like the idea of both, don’t you 😉 I ordered this T-shirt for my daughter!and several gift cards as stocking stuffers.  Yep, I’m getting close to the end of my shopping and starting to wrap’m up.  I’m a shopper and love this time of year 🙂  This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure can be found here.

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63 thoughts on “Our Good Fortune Continued

  1. Your photos are simply AMAZING!!! Oh how I’ve looked for cool picture opportunities like yours….guess it won’t happen until we get to the SW!
    What great places you visited!

  2. Your summer meandering was amazing, Ingrid! Beautiful captures galore, I’m making mental notes! We headed back home to Maryland and Delaware for Thanksgiving and are still here for the holidays. It’s been a joy to see the grandkids again, I will confess I missed them during our summer/fall journey. Hey, I have to tell you we had to cancel our January-April reservations at Port Aransas, look for an email from me in the next few days and I’ll explain why. We are soooooo disappointed with the curve ball that has hit us. 😦

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a great rolling 2017!! 🙂

    • We did have a wonderful summer and are starting off the New Year back in Rockport, Texas amongst my favorite birds. I’m so sorry to hear we won’t be meeting up for a little birding. Hope all is well and look forward to your email. Here’s wishing for the New Year to be filled with lots of new adventures filled with endless photo-ops!

    • Thank you and the same to you. Have a wonderful visit in Boerne and look forward to seeing some photos from the trip on your blog. Safe travels and see you back in the desert just in time for her to show us her blooming finest!

  3. You sure did have a great summer! And who knows we will be just copy your route for 2017!
    While you are enjoying your warm sun in Phoenix we are constantly bundled up here in CA.
    Will be in Tucson area sometime mid Feb to April and hope we can meet up by then.

    • It turned into a really fun summer. We’re leaving for TX on Monday and returning to AZ the beginning of March thus maybe we can arrange a meet up upon our return. Let me know if I can offer any suggestions for your summer travels. Our 2017 summer plans are still up in the air 😉

  4. Pingback: Galveston Historical Section Walk | Tumbleweeds Tumbling

  5. Lovely to see your beautiful backyards, Ingrid, and travel along with you in the wild west. I enjoyed every photo, especially the one with the brilliant double rainbow.

  6. Wow…that was a busy summer! But…oh so beautiful.

    I love Williams…we visited there when we were traveling Route 66 from Texas to California. I don’t know if you had a chance to stop by the Red Garter Inn, very nice and it used to be a brothel way back when. We met the proprietor who gave us a tour of the inn – he was one of the original guys who decided to rehab the Red Garter and encouraged other people to do the same. It is one of the best and largest historically accurate towns on Route 66. We visited in 2007 and I am glad to know that it’s still in tact with so much of Route 66 having shuttered itself due to the economy. One of these days we’d like to go visit the Grand Canyon and we plan on staying at the Red Garter.

    • Yep busy and fun summer. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at the Red Garter. My daughter and I wanted to overnight at the Inn over the Thanksgiving holiday, but they were all booked up. Williams has done a fabulous job of revamping itself. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised should you revisit.

    • Thank you. Selling the house and living on the road full-time is very liberating and freeing. Certainly not a lifestyle for everyone, but it works for us… at least for now 😉

    • My biggest concern with the drone is storage. I’m not sure where to put it and have it be secure. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, eh!
      Wishing you a wonderful Christmas as well and I know it’ll be especially fun with the addition of that adorable little one.

      • Happy wishes to you too Ingrid! We are indeed looking forward to the holidays with the wee Grandbaby.
        I agree regarding the drone. Where there is a will there is a way!

  7. Amazing, we have a few of the same pictures! We arrived back in Florida a couple days ago and are planning our trip back to Arizona. We did 16 states in 52 days, our favorite is Arizona. We also boondocked in Cottonwood and got rained on, must have been there at the same time! On our way out west I purchased a Drone, I did some amazing videos of the California coast, Colorado river george (just outside the Grand CAnyon) and some of our boondocking spots. Even got to see a coyote while I was flying around!
    It is very easy to fly, I recommend it! I have the DJI Phantom4
    If you are interested you can check out some of my videos https://www.youtube.com/c/katzfamilyadventures

    Did you notice the cars in front of Crystal Forest Gift shop were just there for show. Most of the cars weere old and had flat tires, I think to make it look like they had customers…

    • Thanks for the comment. No I did not notice the cars with flat tires at the gift shop. You’ve certainly piqued my curiosity. Hmm, I’ll definitely look into that drone and check out your video.

  8. Yes the fortune god smiled upon you, hope to make some of the same stops as we head to AZ next winter. Looking forward to seeing you next month. Enjoy the holidays with the family. See you soon.

    • We’re already looking forward to our time in TX, but it is bittersweet… I’ve been enjoying time with the kids and feel very settled here. Ah, but those birds (and friends) are calling. See ya soon!

  9. Yes you certainly had good fortune traveling to AZ. We hope to making some of those same stops on our way there next winter. Will fill you in on everything when we see you in Jan, looking forward to your visit to this area. Enjoy the holidays with the family.

  10. Great post and beautiful pictures. There is nothing better than the smell of the desert after a rain storm. We can’t wait to hike Kasha-Katuwe some day. Great family picture, so glad you get to spend the Holidays together!

    • Thank you Jeanette. I love the desert after a good spring soak. It’s as if all the cacti are doing a happy dance as they swell with moisture. New Mexico is a state well worth meandering slowly. We’re working on our 2017 plans and NM will definitely be part of the plan.

  11. A lovely post, as always Ingrid. Those times when for some reason everything just seems perfect are the best… and perhaps the best part of RV’ing where those kind of trips can sometimes happen one right after the other.
    Love the photo of your family.
    Shopping — don’t get me started. I think this year we’re going to break new records for unusual reasons.

    • I had the best of intentions to keep the presents simple and minimal this year, but I kept finding awesome deals that screamed “buy me” LOL. Oh well, isn’t that part of the fun during the holiday season… thinking of others as I was out and about or pursuing online! At least I didn’t hurt the budget … too much 😉
      I love this life when things go smoothly and foresee no ending insight, but when things go horribly wrong – well that’s another story. Hope the weather for us all will be lovely in TX this season. We’re heading back to Rockport at the end of the month 🙂

      • So, you’re another one of those people who hears sales talking to them! 🙂

        Well, we have surprises in store. We’re really thinking of settling down again. Have enjoyed the mobile lifestyle but sometimes the body dictates that we pay attention to it.

  12. You know, Ingrid, you are not helping… to put my adventurous mind to rest for now! I am looking forward to exploring New Mexico one day. Mark and I talk about getting a camper every day now, but we want to hold out, just a little while longer. Unless an affordable and suitable camper van comes on the market, of course! We are keeping an eye out. 🙂

    • New Mexico never ceases to surprise me – so many beautiful and unique sights. Just when I think I’m ready to settle down and travel part-time, I come across an area that beckons further explorations and puts the “settle down” mode back on hold.
      I love the idea of a camper van. I’ll keep my eyes open.

  13. I love your posts and photos…makes me almost miss the road….almost.
    One should never have to chose between gifts – get the cooker and use the drone to deliver something tasty over our way.

    • Almost haha! I know you’re loving your new place and I like how you think – cooker AND drone. Aside from the budget, storage is the big issue. I know you can relate 😉

    • I’d love to take some drone video of some of our remote camping spots, but my kids aren’t convinced I wont’ crash it LOL. We’re discussing our 2017 travel plans and New Mexico will definitely be included. I’ll be sure and reach out for suggestions 🙂

  14. Thanks for sharing those great pictures.
    As to downtime: I admire your stamina in travelling. On our latest trip [http://tinyurl.com/jfu9bep] I already needed some downtime just after one day of travelling 500 miles.
    Have a great weekend,
    Pit

    • Traveling 500 miles in one day makes for a super long day – days we try to avoid. The RV allows us to break up the driving, slow it down, making our excursions fun 🙂

    • The heat felt wonderful at first and cured me of my chills but did get old real quick. We visited several places that we’re planning on returning to in 2017 🙂

    • Thanks JoAnne. We always enjoy our time in New Mexico. We’re thinking about a visit to Ghost Ranch in 2017 and I’ll be re-reading your blog for ideas.

  15. You guys really got around, to some gorgeous spots too. Never been to Tent Rocks so that’s on my list.

    Nina

    • Those afternoon storms kept us off the trails but made for some fabulous skies. I think my daughter will like that T-shirt… it’s so her.

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