Last Entry - Dead Horse Ranch State Park, AZ

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February 23rd 2010
Published: February 23rd 2010
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Just gotta watch out for the cactus
Day: 175
Miles: 7,580 with about 2,500 left to get home

The Tucson Gem and Fossil show is enormous and we dropped in on just a very small bit of it. The huge specimens of gems and crystals for sale makes us wonder if anything is left in some places. We made some purchases and wanted many more. I found a ring with small bits of opal and amethyst set into silver and Ron bought a large piece of malachite to carve and polish. We'll be back next year.

After the gem show we spent 2 weeks in McDowell Mountain Park just outside of Fountain Hills. This is a Maricopa County park and has won awards as one of the best parks in the US. Our campsite had one neighboring site across the street, but on the sides and back there were at least 2 acres of openness. Dave loved his walks again and had to explore every hole and bush.

During our stay we had several coyotes come across our site in daylight as they tried to scare up lunch. One night there were several javelina outside the window
McDowell Mtn ParkMcDowell Mtn ParkMcDowell Mtn Park

Acres to ourselves!
- Dave, the guard cat, alerted us to their presence. Jackrabbits came and went all day long. They look so cartoonish when they are in a hurry with those long back legs and enormous ears. Gambol's Quail came to the bird feeder and 3 Anna's hummingbirds were there all day long.

We spent lots of time sitting in our chairs and watching birds and wild life. The weather was perfect - sunny and mid 60's. We did manage some pretty strenuous bike rides. The hard part is peddling uphill to get to the top of the ridge, but on Tonto Tank trial we had 2.6 miles of downhill. We got pretty good at avoiding cactus and rocks and not falling off steep edges.

We are now in Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, AZ. It is about 10 degrees cooler here than at McDowell - higher elevation. From the campground we can see Jerome on the side of the mountain and the Tuzigoot ruins. This is the 39th campsite we have been in since leaving in September and our last real camping for this trip.
Kris and Ed arrived on the
the kidsthe kidsthe kids

Kris and Ed the day they arrived - nice and sunny!
18th and we hiked and explored almost continually until their last full day here when the weather finally defeated us.

First was a hike to Devil's Bridge which was supposed to be a short 1 mile in to see an arch - but the road was closed to vehicles. We decided to walk in instead - our final hike was about 5 1/2 miles, much of it straight up. After lunch we headed to a Sanagua Indian ruin called Montezuma's Castle. From there we headed to the salt mines - abandoned now except for folks who know about it as a collecting spot for Glauberite crystals. Together we collected a bucket full. That was a very full first day!!
In the following days we celebrated Ron's birthday with a trip to the old copper mining town of Jerome which is built in the side of a mountain with VERY steep streets. Ron got a very cool 'western' hat, and a great lunch out at a restraurant called Grapes. We saw more Indian ruins at Tuzigoot and found a total of 7 geocaches. On the last day of their visit the weather finally got too nasty and we opted for a movie and driving through gorgeous Red Rock country in Sedona. In the evenings we played Liar's dice - a very fun game - we made ice cream in a bag, and when Kris's cat allergy became too much the kids retired to their tent to read and watch DVDs. It was a terrific visit and we did most of the things we wanted to even though the weather was crummy for much of their time here.

Our travels for this trip are just about over - we just have the long sprint back home left, and that starts on the 25th. We'll be watching the weather updates as we try to dodge the winter storms that seem to be going on everywhere right now.

This has been such an adventure. I had some BIG misgivings about traveling for 5-6 months in a 22 foot motor home, but the problems have been minimal and the rewards have been many. I wouldn't want to do this full time, but 5 months was a piece of cake, and a very good one at that. So good-bye to all from the road, and
Devil's BridgeDevil's BridgeDevil's Bridge

A very steep trail.
we'll see many of you back in Michigan!

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


On the ArchOn the Arch
On the Arch

On the Devil's Bridge Arch

Construction started in AD 1000 by the Sinagua people.
Salt MinesSalt Mines
Salt Mines

Ron checking the crystal by tasting it - of course.
Jerome, AZJerome, AZ
Jerome, AZ

Here is Ron and his new western hat!
 The new Merlin glider The new Merlin glider
The new Merlin glider

This had a 'hard' landing shortly after take off. The next flight will be in Michigan.

The helicopter flight was successful!!

23rd February 2010

Drive safely
This blog you did was awesome! you guys are ready to be journalists for the travel channel. You could get paid to do this! Get home safely.
24th February 2010

Thanks for keeping us up to date on your travels. We've thoroughly enjoyed every bit. Jerome is a great little town. We went there with the Meehan's a couple of years ago.
24th February 2010

Very cool trip; very cool blogs!!! Thank you so much for writing so much and posting pics -- I totally enjoyed your blogs! What a cool adventure -- you guys are fortunate to be able to do it!! Be safe coming home! Love ya! Krys
25th February 2010

Thank you
Thanks for sharing your trip with us.The walking would have killed me.I am glad you had fun. cu in MI.
25th February 2010

Happy Birthday Ron, but you did'nt say your age. 39 perhaps. What is a javelina? Welcome home and as I said before I want the first copy of the printed edition of this journey! See you soon. TD
7th May 2010

Your Blog (Janis)
When my husband was alive we were in all these places. Thanks for bringing up the memory. I'm traveling--in Santa Fe at the moment--Janis put me on to your blog and some campground suggestions. Thanks--have you bookmarked--great blog

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