Thursday, December 31, 2015

Prescott, AZ Christmas And More!

Earlier this week we decided to drive over to Prescott to take in the Christmas lights.  Rather than drive the expedient highway around Mingus Mountain, we decided to meander up to an elevation of 7,000 feet and enjoy the winding scenic route down to Prescott Valley!  We highly recommend it for a daylight drive.  

At an elevation of 5,066 feet you go through the copper mining ghost town of Jerome.  It is a tourist attraction today with a population of around 500.  The gold building is the Grand Hotel and it is open for business.  It is said to be haunted and even feels spooky passing by in the light of day!    
When we arrived in Prescott, we decided to explore the local geological attraction called Granite Dells.  Granite Dells are these weathered rock formations to the north side of Prescott.  Granite Dells itself is not a park, but you can drive amongst some of the boulders by driving the Granite Dells Loop off of Hwy. 89A.  There are homes built along the loop.  You can get this scenic view at Watson Lake State Park.  Watson Lake is a man-made reservoir.  Swimming is not allowed, but there are boat rentals.  The lake as a whole is a no-wake zone and therefore is for peaceful exploring.  Willow Lake is nearby, but is also a reservoir with the same restrictions.  It has some trails near it.
This is the courthouse square.
This view is walking towards the front of the courthouse.
This view catches the side of the courthouse and the front near the red lights. 
This is the front facing the street called Whiskey Row.  Whiskey Row was reported at one time to have 40 bars!!!  It is now a combination of restaurants, art galleries, and gift shops.
This is the back of the courthouse.  It is so pretty, I was undecided for awhile, as to whether is was possibly the main entrance! 
This is Whiskey Row.  We enjoyed a stroll through the shops and around the rest of the square, as well.  Including the beautiful drive over the mountain, exploring the Granite Dells, our tour of lights and shops, plus the expedient route home, our adventure only took 5 hours!  A very reasonable and fun outing from Cottonwood, through Jerome, to Prescott, and home again! 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cottonwood, AZ Christmas

Roy and I love Old Town Cottonwood and can see ourselves living here someday.  We took a stroll around town one evening this week to enjoy the Christmas lights and quaint shops.
O' Christmas tree, O' Christmas tree,  O' How I adore thee!  The tree changed colors and the lighted snowflakes danced around the building! 
We love the Grinch on the City of Cottonwood Finance Department building!
Music was playing and the lighted figures were dancing about changing and putting on quite a show!  Very festive! 
This is the main street with all the cute shops and nice restaurants!
Here's a peek into the Iron Horse Inn courtyard!
Awwwww!  It's so serene!  Come for a visit and stay awhile!  Siiiilent Night.....!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sedona, AZ Christmas

We decided to drive the 15 miles up Hwy. 89A from Cottonwood to Sedona to check out the community Christmas lights.  This is a picturesque pullout along the way.  Sedona's holiday lighting wasn't what we had hoped for, but we did enjoy strolling around the Tlaquepaque artisan village. 
When in the Sedona area, you will hear Tlaquepaque mentioned often.  Sedona has a t.v. channel dedicated to featuring the Tlaquepaque artisans, shops, and restaurants.  When I saw the name,  I assumed there might be a translation giving meaning to the word.  What I didn't know is that my research would discover a whole story!  I'll share it with you, as you scroll through the shopping village called Tlaquepaque!
Back in the 70's, Sedona had one stop light and most of the land was still open range.
Around that time, Abe Miller, a successful Nevada businessman, started coming to Sedona on vacations.  Being in the real estate development business, he had an eye for possibility.
Abe was a traveler and he loved Mexico.
It was his heart's desire to build, someday, somewhere, a beautiful place reflecting the charm and mood of old Mexico.
The conceptual history of Tlaquepaque is truly a story of this man's love for beauty and perfection.
Under the influence of the lively creative arts scene in Mexico, it struck him that Sedona was a natural location for a living arts community.
It would be a village where artisans work out in full view and live on-site as well.  It worked in Mexico and could work here.
He would call his artisan village Tlaquepaque after the colorful Mexican city on the outskirts of Guadalajara.
Tlaquepaque is a word from the ancient language of the Aztecs.  Tlaquepaque  means the "best of everything"!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Crazies, Guns, and 911

We’ve been full time RVing for 6 years now without neighbor issues other than minor annoyances.  We recently had an experience with a neighbor that had us moving out quickly in the night and making a new life rule!  Trails End R.V. Park which had been a nice park in the past was changing its philosophy towards filling the park with full time residents and as such was letting some very impoverished and questionable people into the park.  Unfortunately, we were in a lot with empty lots around us.  We had two different trailers and renters move into the lot behind ours only to get tossed out.  One was asked to leave for lack of funds to pay his rent and the other for issues with his dogs.  Our craziest neighbor moved in next to us.  We knew he was not right in his head and had a scary edge the first day he arrived.  We should have left when our rent first came due, if not sooner.  We’ve added moving out when scary crazies move in to our list of life rules!  From day one we started altering our actions, because of his presence.    Roy tried to be especially nice thinking it would ward off trouble with him.  We locked our door more.   Our thoughts were on our safety, but we hadn’t considered potential damage to property. The guy started out staying to himself and then slowly started coming out and about terrorizing his neighbors.  He mostly was just abusive in his comments, but did let some know he had a large knife hidden up inside a walking stick and that he had a gun, as well.  He angrily grumbled about what should have been positive short exchanges.  He wanted favors and was angered whether things went his way or not.  I took him to have a very controlling and abusive personality.  Thursday night, November 12th, it sounded like he was punching the inside of his trailer walls and he roamed around outside swearing so loudly to himself that we could hear him over a movie we were watching!  I think that was the day he was told he had a week to leave, because of the number of complaints the office was getting about him.  Although several people had complained about him, it seemed he decided to particularly blame us!  We think this came about, as Roy had tried to befriend him only to have it create negative feelings later on.  The Friday after the neighbor’s evening rant, Roy found a suspicious cut about the width of a knife blade in the side of our front tire.  Roy suspected the crazy neighbor, but it could have been one of the crazies from behind us that minor tensions had occurred with.  We probably should have left the park that day based on our suspicions, but didn’t.   On Friday our crazy neighbor made a particularly nasty remark to a guy’s wife.  He had made abusive remarks to other women living near him, also.  The park manager told our neighbor he would have to leave on Saturday!  The evening of Friday the 13th the neighbor got on another drunken rage.  We could hear the bashing of the inside of the trailer and his outdoor rants.  The park management called the marshal’s office and four vehicles showed up!  The show of force told me they knew of him!  They told him to stay in his trailer until morning, which of course, he didn’t do.  People were told to call 911 if he was seen outside the trailer.  After the police left, we saw him leaning against our truck and talking to some new neighbors that had moved in behind us for the week.  He was telling them how people think he is crazy, but he isn’t!  Roy called 911 and the marshals came out again.  They didn’t do anything besides try to get him to stay in his trailer.  He came out with them still there and they didn’t do anything.  We decided to pack up and leave, as the neighbor was escalating in his defiant behavior towards the park residents and we were becoming fearful that he might decide to start shooting people or at a minimum cause damage to our vehicle.  We had the police stay while we loaded up.  Amazing how quickly one can get on the road!  We went over by the casino for some free overnight camping.  It was the best sleep we’d had in a month!  After we left the park, the crazy neighbor was reported to have begun pretend shooting people with his finger and making threatening remarks!  That was one more escalation before possibly doing the real thing in my opinion.  The marshals returned and took him away for the night.  Roy checked the truck Saturday morning to find that the plastic rain shield over the driver’s door had been busted, and that there was a suspicious mark in the windshield and paint.  We checked out some r.v. parks just outside Cottonwood.  We were lucky to get into Rio Verde RV Park on 89A towards Sedona.  We told them the crazy guys name and gave them Trails End RVs number for verification.  The gal in the office looked him up on the Yavapai Superior Court website and found that he has a whole list of charges against him going back as far as 2003!  Some burglary, but most returning to properties he was thrown off of by the police or owner.  We were told by a Trails End Park resident that the crazy guy said he had been thrown out of every park he’d been in!  I counted about a dozen such charges!  I was glad to see there weren’t any violence charges other than a single assault of a minor.  I talked to an r.v. park up the street to give them the heads-up, but found that they had already had dealings with him of a similar nature and that he wouldn’t be allowed back there.  Whew!  I was glad to hear that!  We’re very happy with our new location, but it took awhile to recuperate from our encounter with this guy.  We’ve decided if we see him around our new location that we will move on, but for now we are going to follow through with our plans for this area.

Thoughts on guns:   In the heat of dealing with our scary neighbor and afterward, people would mention that they have a gun and speak as though they wouldn’t hesitate to use it.  Our philosophy is that it’s great to have a gun in the event that your life is being threatened and there isn’t any chance for escape, but that any use of a gun is going to incur expensive and tension filled legal ramifications that could determine your actions to be in the wrong.  I’ve always heard that you can only match force with equal force.  Someone’s ranting and the fear you might feel isn’t enough to start flashing your gun around and most likely will only escalate the problem.  A crazy like our neighbor might shoot you directly, but would be more likely to shoot you right through the side of your rig or some other time when you didn’t see it coming!  Best to move on as soon as a crazy moves in or at a minimum when they ramp up like our neighbor did!

Using 911:  Since the police advised the r.v. park residents to call 911, we had to check the internet to see whether our phone number from another state would contact 911 in the state of origin!   It turns out calling 911 will connect you with a local central dispatcher capable of contacting local 911 dispatchers around the United States and Canada!  The internet pointed out that you could be on the phone with a friend across the country when they experience an emergency.  You could call 911 on their behalf.  You would be connected to the 911 dispatcher for the area you are in regardless of your phone area code and you would then be transferred to the dispatcher for the area your friend is in.  Another internet example of 911 networking says that no matter where you call 911 from in New York City the call will be routed through one of 5 centers all located in Brooklyn.  Now we know!     

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Desert Swimming Hole!

While in Camp Verde, Arizona, I decided to research desert swimming holes.  West Clear Creek is the most popular one for the area and you'll soon see why!  To get there you travel east from Camp Verde on Hwy. 260 about 6 miles.  You turn left onto FR 618 and travel about 2 miles through the desert on a dirt road.  You'll then turn right onto FR 215 going about 3 miles over ridges and down through desert valleys to discover what is known as the Bull Pen and West Clear Creek Wilderness Area.  You will end up on the creek's edge with easy access to the water.  
Here is the road in on FR 618.
This is further in and probably on FR 215.  We were glad to be in our pick-up truck to cross the dry rocky stream bed at the bottom of this hill. 
About the time you've crossed a few desert ridges and valleys and start to think you're getting a little too deep into the desert, you come over a rise to see this beautiful green canyon valley!
 Here is the road descending into the canyon!
What a cool refreshing treat to see West Clear Creek running below this canopy of trees!  This fast moving water goes to the right of a small island.  It is almost magical!
This calmer part of the creek runs to the far side of the island.  It looks great for putting inner tubes in on a hot day!  Our dogs seemed to realize how special the water was and enjoyed some romps and swims. 
Roy enjoyed some wading, too!
This area of the creek just upstream from Roy appeared to be at least 5' deep and adequate for our swimming needs.  There were several areas along the creek where groups could park their vehicles and have their own private niche for swimming and having a picnic.  A portion of the creek is maintained as a day use area and two restrooms are provided. 
All along the creek are wonderful pools to discover and hiking trails are provided.  On the left end of the day use area is this gate.  If you are up to a 2/3 mile hike, there is a trail leading back to a 20' deep swimming hole!
Here is an Internet picture of the deep swimming hole.  There are high rock ledges to jump from!  We didn't realize at the time that this swimming area was available, but were so thrilled with the area along the creek that we could drive right up to that we probably wouldn't have hiked there anyway.  That will be an adventure for another day! 
This is a view of the Verde Valley on the way back out to Hwy. 260.  Once we had experienced the route in, the trip back out didn't seem as long or scary.  We'll definitely visit this swimming hole again during warmer weather!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

ASIS Massage Schools

Maybe it was because we were in desperate need of a massage after our months of harrowing financial dealings that I decided to research whether there was a massage school in the Camp Verde, AZ area.  Much to my surprise I found one only 16 miles away! 
This is the Arizona School of Integrative Studies (ASIS) massage clinic in Clarkdale.  Clarkdale is a quaint little community that is always fun to visit! 
One hour massages are provided by students for $30 and with a senior discount it's only $25!!! 
ASIS massage schools are also located in Tucson, Prescott, and Flagstaff!  Here is a website where you can book your own appointment:   Massage Appointment Link.  You can also schedule an appointment by calling the numbers provided on the link.
Roy and I have had a few appointments now and all have been good!  We may never leave this area or will have to plan our travels around massage school locations!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fort Verde Days Parade

Every October Camp Verde, AZ has a parade, as part of the celebration of historic Fort Verde in what is called Fort Verde Days!
Here comes the parade!
Here is the parade route!
This is a cute parade entry! 
Here comes the park service!
It's always fun to see Smokey!
Looks like the cavalry has arrived!
Here is some Camp/Fort Verde history!
The stagecoach has arrived in town!
I don't who the Murdock family is, but they must have some history here.  I'll have to look into the significance of the family name.
Here are the Murdocks!
Yay for beer!
It's the VFW riders.
I love this style of H.S. band uniforms!  It's the Camp Verde H.S. band!
The Camp Verde Assembly of God Church has some rockin' music!
King Kong appears ready for action!
It's the Historical Society!
What's a parade without candy being thrown and kids grabbing as much as they can!
It's the end of the parade, but only the start of the fair, car show, and craft show!  Fort Verde Days is always a lot of fun!