|the other guy :(|
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
After spending our four free days at the Thousand Trails park in Palm Desert, we moved to the Shadow Hills RV resort for our final night in California. It was great seeing so many of the folks we had worked with last winter, but most of the work campers that were there before had moved on. So we stocked up on our favorite “Happy Camper” holding tank treatment that I had learned about at a seminar there and moved on. Our next destination was the Thousand Trails park in Cottonwood, Arizona, from where we would explore Prescott, Jerome, and Flagstaff. To keep the drive down to a reasonable length, we opted for an overnight stop at the El Dorado Hot Springs in Tonopah, Arizona, just a bit west of Phoenix.
We had stayed at this hot springs before on our way through Arizona last year and really enjoyed it. The place is pretty rustic and was a bit run down the first time we stayed here, but it’s under new management now and the new manager is taking much better care of the place. Most of the soaking tubs here are individual bathtubs with a continuous flow of water from the spring that you can adjust to regulate the temperature. We really enjoyed having the time to soak and relax; especially knowing the next day’s drive would be a short one.
The Thousand Trails Park in Cottonwood does not reserve a specific spot for you, so when you show up you sign in at the gate and then go to in and find a spot. Once you’re settled in you go back to the entrance and register. After driving around for a while looking for a spot with 50 amps and getting aced out of what we thought was a perfect spot by about 30 seconds, we settled for second best and got set up. It’s a really nice park with a recreation facility that includes a spa, large pool and TV/game room with a pool table, which I used on more than one occasion.
Our first excursion was to the town of Jerome, which is visible on the side of a hill west of Cottonwood/Verde Valley. This is a former mining town that had a really bad reputation as the kind of place that gave the Wild West its name. Today it’s an artsy community with lots of galleries, shops, and restaurants. We visited a lot of shops as we walked up and down the hills looking for a place with vegan food and a view of the sunset for dinner. I think our favorite was the store full of kaleidoscopes. They had everything from large ones mounted on a planter that you spun the plants around in to tiny ones that fit on a necklace…very cool.
The view from Jerome looks out to the east across a large valley toward Sedona and the Mogollon Rim. It’s a breathtaking view and even more fantastic at sunset. We came up to Jerome twice. The first time we ate at a burger joint that had limited vegan fare so we had chips and salsa with guacamole, which was okay, but left us wanting to try a better place. While there, we saw a poster for a band called Major Lingo. This band is from Jerome and used to play at a small venue near my house in Mesa, Arizona back in the 90s. They were a great band with a unique sound and a dedicated following. As it turns out, they were playing one of their last gigs in Jerome while we were there, so we made the trek back up the hill to see them. This time we ate at a much better restaurant that afforded a fantastic view of the sunset and had some yummy vegan entrees. We didn't even get to go into the bar where the band was playing because they sold out, but we danced in the streets with dozens of others and had a great time (without getting our eardrums blown out). Great food, great sunset, and a great band, I guess you could say it was a great night.
Our trip to Prescott wasn't quite as fun as Jerome. We went there on a weekend and there was a festival of some sort going on, so the place was packed and several of the main roads were closed. We did find a few shops with some interesting stuff, and stopped for a beer on Whiskey Row at the Palace Restaurant and Saloon, which had authentic swinging doors just like in the movies. We had hoped to get in some hippie watching in the town square, where they’ve been known to congregate and even smoke the loco weed on the steps of the courthouse, but I think all the bikers scared them away. In the end we kept the visit short and headed back to our home, but not before stopping at a local natural food market to pick up some provisions and have a small accident. Debby was straightening out the car after pulling into a parking spot and we backed into another car that was backing up to leave. We had our bike rack on and that’s what hit the other car’s rear bumper. Nice dent for them and no damage for us. Whew!
Our final destination in Arizona was Flagstaff. There’s just something about college towns that Debby and I both find attractive. I think it’s the energy that young people bring to a place. Oh, and lots of bars and breweries. We had wanted to spend a few days exploring Flagstaff, but other places and obligations overruled and we only got one day in this neat town. We managed to cram in some shopping, a nice vegan lunch at a brewery, and a visit to another brewery where we picked up some of their craft brews in cans—our new passion. Debby bought a cute new skirt while I browsed books at a vintage book store that made me feel like I had done the time warp back to the 60s. Good to see there’s someplace where people are still reading the books that so influenced me back then. Saw a few I’d missed and was tempted, but hey, got to keep moving on.
So that was about it for northern Arizona on this trip. There are still many things left to do here, so we’ll be back.