Howdy Folks! Been a while. While the boat is hibernating for the Winter in our garage, we thought it was about time to make use of the "apartment on wheels!" We were fortunate the last part of 2011 and the beginning of this year, both Christmas and New Year's fell on a Sunday, therefore giving us a Monday as a day off from work. We took advantage of the situation and headed out with the Shasta Camper for both Holidays. Christmas was spent in Sedona, while New Year's we spent just down the road in Cottonwood, AZ, at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
The last few year's we have spent Christmas at my in-laws in Asheville, North Carolina, but this year, decided to stay here in Arizona. So, up to Sedona it was. Rancho Sedona RV park is located in the heart of Sedona, right around the corner from Tlaquepaque "village." It's located right along Oak Creek, and in the warmer months, there's nothing better than soaking in the creek when it's 100 degrees out! In Winter, it's almost as enjoyable giving you access to nearby hiking, shopping, and all the things Sedona has to offer.
Weather was downright chilly, as one morning it dropped to 22 degrees! YIKES! With electrical hookups, and a new Delonghi heater, we slept in the comfort of 72 degree temps, cooked inside one night, and watched movies & Football on the new 19" TV, (Christmas present to myself) with cable hookup.
Now, I never thought I'd reach a point in my life where I'd be out camping with the amenities of home... Heater, Internet access, electricity, TV, etc. I was always a tent camper with a philosophy of "the further away from civilized activities, the better." People who said they were going "camping" in a van, RV, pop-up, travel trailer, weren't really camping, just parking a rig and living out of it. I have somewhat changed my tune, as I now see a different perspective of having the combination of nature and technology mixed into our trips. Gotta' admit... Loved watching NFL and Bowl Games, movies at night, and cooking indoors when it was 32 degrees outside!
I would have to say that this was the most unique Christmas I had ever experienced... At an RV campground, just me and the Wifey, hanging out... Opening presents at a picnic table, making prime rib, 'taters and gravy for Christmas dinner, then watching Marx Brothers movies inside the vintage camper.
(Click on photos for actual size)
Red Rocks of Sedona, airport road
Evening cocktail in 30 degree temps
View from Airport Road, without that ugly guy in the photo
Our new Breakfast Buddy, Kahlua!
Washing dishes at the dish station
Corn and au jus (for prime rib), cooking outside
Wifey by the trailer
Taking a break from the cold, warming up inside the camper
Breakfast in the Morn, with a lovely electrical box in the background
NEW YEAR'S 2012 AT DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK
First off, almost everyone says how did that place get it's name? So, from the Park's website...
"The story of the park's name begins with the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s. At one of the ranches they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. The kids said, “the one with the dead horse, Dad!” The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and later, in 1973, when Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale."
That being stated, it's a great place, despite the name! There are two main areas for camping; one has a forest-like setting, and the (upper area) is open desert. We cruised through the forest-like area and then opted for the open desert sites. It certainly ended up being a wise choice, as we had the entire side of the campground to ourselves, and the stargazing at night was brilliant. At one point the first night we were there, for a moment I thought I had a close encounter- spotting my first and only UFO in the night sky! Wifey quickly informed me that what we witnessed was simply a long-lasting, blue & green meteor shooting across the horizon. Bummer! I am still a UFO sighting virgin.
Once again, not unlike Christmas at Rancho Sedona, we enjoyed the hell out having new amenities such as the TV w/ BluRay player, and our killer new Coleman lantern, bright as a full moon & then some! At Dead Horse, campfires are allowed, and this is the single reason I like this spot better than the RV campground in Sedona. (That, and tents are allowed here as well, as opposed to the other spot). One local (out of the air station) was playing old Mae West, W.C. Fields, and Marx Brothers movies all Holiday Weekend, and we really enjoyed yucking it up with those old classics! Great fun at night.
I was a little "Cocktailed Out" our second night, after having slightly overindulged New Year's Eve (Geez... What a surprise), so the next night, not wanting to have a repeat performance, we decide to head to the nearby town of Jerome and have a look around.
Jerome is an old mining town turned freaky artist-hippie community, biker destination, living ghost town, and generally interesting spot on the map. Not much was going on, so it was like we had the whole town to ourselves! The town was all decked out with lights for the Holidays, very pretty, so we hiked up and down all the stairs around the main concourse of "downtown." You get an eerie feeling at night, like spirits are watching you there, a different, darker vibe. Nonetheless, glad we ventured up there and checked it out.
Back to Dead Horse... So what's to do there? Well, besides the RV & tent camping sites & cabin rentals, there's horseback riding (rentals, don't have to bring your own), fishing in the verde River and lagoon, hiking trails, biking, bird watching and stargazing... and just around the corner at city parks there's a soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a hang gliding landing field, a skateboard park, basketball courts, picnic areas, etc. etc. etc. It's a great spot, nearby (15 miles) Sedona, with lots of things to do, very clean and well kept.
(Looks like he's put on a few lbs.)!
OK... Sayonora, Tootle-Loo for now! Until we meet again, Happy Camping, and may all YOUR travels be safe, fun, and adventurous!