Monday, November 30, 2015

Slowing Down in the Southwest

Post by Henry

We've arrived in the last state of our 2015 journey.....Arizona!

We're staying at the Escapees North Ranch RV Park in Congress, Arizona which is about fifty (50) miles northwest of Phoenix.  The park is set in the middle of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land with a view of the Weaver Mountains out our window.

Mountains (in background)
Seen From our Window

The front section of the park contains roughly one hundred (100) RV sites with full hookups.  The back of the park are permanent residents with quite an eclectic mix of housing.

In one corner of the park, there's a cactus garden called Saguaro Park.  Here is an assortment of cacti, including one Saguaro estimated to date back to the 1600's, appropriately named Methuselah.

Methuselah, the Saguaro

Argentina Maxima

Joshua Trees and a Saguaro

Yellow Barrel Cactus

Rabbits and Gamble Quail can be seen scurrying about most everywhere in the park.

Gamble Quail

Since we arrived here a few weeks ago, we've just kind of chilled out.  We've been on a few short trips exploring the area - Prescott, Phoenix, Wickenburg, and Yarnell - but mostly we've been hanging out here at the park. Loretta's been working on sewing projects and attending 'stitch and chat' meetings at the clubhouse.  I've been doing some hiking in the BLM area behind the park and even played golf for the first time in over ten (10) years. (I still suck!)

We've reconnected here at the park with a couple we met at the beginning of the year at the Sumter Oaks Escapees Park in Florida.  Stuart and Jackie started their fulltime journey about the same time as us and their trip this year was amazingly similar to the places we visited, but our paths didn't cross again until here in Arizona.

We discovered a local brewery unlike any other we've ever been to - located out in the middle of nowhere - literally!  Barnstar Brewery is located outside Skull Valley, miles from the main highway, on a dirt road, in the Prescott National Forest, with views of Granite and Tonto Mountains, with no other building in sight!  It's remote, I tell you!  And they are only open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Enjoying a Cold One
Barnstar Brewery

Before we landed at North Ranch, we managed to squeeze in a quick one day trip to the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon
South Entrance

We caught it on a beautifully sunny, though chilly and windy day.  Nothing really prepares you for that first view into the canyon.

Magnificent Grand Canyon

Mere words can't do it justice and photographs are only slightly better.

Colorful Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Two days after our visit, the Grand Canyon received several inches of snow.

Unbelievably, the holidays are approaching fast.  Last week was Thanksgiving and we attended the big dinner at North Ranch, which was very enjoyable (and filling).  This was the first time either of us spent the holiday west of the Mississippi.

Loretta will be flying East soon to spend some time with her daughters and their families before Christmas.  I'll just be 'hanging out' with the 'locals' and digging the sunny Arizona skies.

Javelina - One of the 'Locals"
(Our First Sighting)


  1. Looks fun and relaxing -- and your view is gorgeous! Love those cacti. Happy Holidays to you both from us both! :-)

  2. I bet it took your breath away to stand there and take in that beautiful canyon! Ya'll should go to Sedona while your in Arizona, lots of cool stuff to see there!