The more time I spend in Arizona, the more I like it. It’s a fascinating state offering diversity and extremes. The landscape ranges from stunning red rock country to unique hills filled with cactus to dense forests of tall pine trees. In the morning, I can enjoy a cup of coffee in delightful 70 degree sunny weather in Phoenix and a couple of hours up the road I can go snow skiing in Flagstaff (that’s if I was into snow skiing).
This kind of diversity can catch visitors by surprise and quite often does. A few years ago, we visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon the first week of November. The north rim had already closed for the season. We were well prepared for whatever weather Mother Nature had in mind, and I was actually hoping for snow. By mid October, all the campgrounds located outside of the national park are usually closed for the season.
We set up camp at the only campground open year round offering hook ups; Trailer Village. With the overnight temps expected to dip into the twenties, we connected the electric only. The next morning as Al and I were ready to head on over to the rim for sightseeing, we chuckled as numerous RVer’s were struggling unsuccessfully with their water hose connections. Yeah folks, when the overnight low hits 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect things like waterline’s to freeze up.
When we arrived at the visitor center, we glanced at a couple of tour buses that had just pulled up. The moment the tourists disembarked in their summer attire, they were assaulted by the winter weather. We noticed the shock, disbelief and discomfort on their faces. While Al and I stood there comfy in our winter garb, we wondered if anyone bothered enlightening these European tourists.
Several months ago, I made mention to a friend back in Illinois that Al and I decided to spend most of the year in the state of Arizona, including summer. My friend questioned our logic and wondered why we would stick around Arizona in 110 degree weather.
And just like those tourists at the Grand Canyon, my friend had no clue about the elevation changes in this state. Let’s face it, Illinois is pretty flat. You want colder weather, you drive north. You want warmer weather, you drive south. Easy peasy, huh! But it’s not so easy in the west. It’s all about elevation and has nothing to do with north or south.
A little over a week ago, the temps in Phoenix were nearing that three digit mark. That was our cue that it was time for us to head to the hills. Our one hour plus drive took us from Phoenix’s elevation of 1,100 feet to Prescott Valley’s 5,200 feet, and the temperature dropped more than twenty degrees…. brrrr. Al and I were cold. Had our time in the valley of the sun turned us into reptiles? Anything less than 70 degrees and we were donning sweatshirts!
Since we’ll be staying in Prescott Valley at least a couple of months, I decided to do a little homesteading and plant a garden.
I haven’t done any digging in the dirt since we went full-time in the RV four years ago. I purchased three planters, a bag of dirt, and a bunch of plants; parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, chives, and tomatoes.
I think I’d be dating myself if I said I was humming a Simon and Garfunkel song while planting my garden ….
It felt wonderful to do a little gardening and even though I’ve never been the best gardener, I’ve always found the activity enjoyable. That said, Al and our two children have made bets on how long I’ll be able to keep these plants alive. Who needs fantasy football when you can bet on mom and her green thumb or lack thereof 😄
So our first week in Prescott was a busy and fun one which included a day trip to the Grand Canyon for a picnic lunch. Fun planting my little garden. Hiking at one of my favorite locations – Watson Lake. And trying to stay warm as a cold front accompanied by a record rainfall blew through the area.
I have a few more entertaining things planned for the month of May. Let’s hope Mother Nature is agreeable and she won’t make me bundle up …. even more!