Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015 - A Look Back: Part 1 -- Dec 16, 2015

Hi everyone!  Happy Holidays!

Well, it's that time of year when a lot of us recall what the past 12 months had in store for us.  Some events were planned....others, well, not so much!  So, I thought I would take this opportunity to share the first half of 2015 with you in [mostly] photographs of my travels.  Some of you may recall a few of these stop overs, but others may have just joined me and haven't gone back into the blog archives. I've condensed the entire year into about 60 photographs....too many for one sitting -- unless you have a lot of popcorn!  I'll divide it into two posts. Of course, you can go into the blog archives to see more photos and the accompanying narrative about each spot!

Let's travel back in time!

2015 began where it has Senator Wash Reservoir, 25 miles north of Yuma, AZ.  We were graced with this beautiful hot air balloon - one of my favorite surprises to start off 2015!

Before leaving Senator Wash for the season, I took a couple of side trips -- all less than one hour away. One excursion was to Castle Dome City, a very authentically restored mining town, just north of Senator Wash.

There's the Castle Dome rock formation in the background....

On another side trip, I stayed a few days in Palm Canyon that is within KOFA - the area's wildlife preserve....timed it for the full moon!  This was a quiet [free] desert spot to enjoy nature.  I was the only one out there!

I moved out of Senator Wash on March 27th and made my way northeast a bit to Tonapah, AZ to Saddle Mountain - another free camping area...and again, uninhabited.  One morning, out of nowhere, appeared a beautiful hot air balloon!

Saddle Mountain is where my refrigerator went on the blink, but I met up with two nice fellows in town that repaired it for free!  :-)  Because of that mishap, I only stayed at Saddle Mountain for about two days....the plan was for two weeks!  Gotta be flexible in this lifestyle!  A lot of plants were blooming at this time.  So nice to see in the desert!

The journey from Saddle Mountain took me north to the Prescott National Forest...more free camping!  It was quite a change from the desert...greenery and pine trees.  This was a nice spot for a week!  The walk from my site took me up to this wonderful overlook which was directly west for some great sunsets!

From Prescott National Forest to just outside Camp Verde, AZ....more free land!  The views were great here, too.  This was a two-week stay!

The great find here were the mysterious hoodoos.  
There was a very large area of these strange rock formations.  Really interesting!

By April 20th, I've moved from Camp Verde to Sacred Mountain in the Coconino National Forest...another two week stay!  This area is very rich in Native American culture!  They inhabited the top of Sacred Mountain.  A few ruins remain, if you look real hard...

 A view from the top....spectacular!  Once again, I had the entire area to myself! 

Within walking distance was Beaver Creek....a wonderful, tranquil spot.  Nice to see a water area!

Also within walking distance of my camp spot was an area with hundreds of preserved petroglyphs.  Sooooooo cool!

I hated to leave this spot after two weeks, but it was time to move on.  The idea was to keep moving to cool's now the first week of May and I find myself in Walnut Canyon near Flagstaff, AZ. And cool it was!  This was May 9th ---- I wasn't expecting snow!  But it was fun.  It melted quickly and warmed up.  This was the night my INDOOR thermometer registered 39*!  A little too cool! LOL!  This was a free spot, too, with no other campers!  :-)

I wasn't complaining, tho, when the snow gave way to this beautiful view the next morning!

There were lots of days in Walnut Canyon with wonderful photo opportunities!

Mid May:  I stood on the corner in Winslow, AZ, then made my way out to the town lake -- McHood Lake.  This was another really great free spot!  Can't get closer to the water than this!
I stayed here for the full, allowable, two weeks!

Across the road from the lake are areas of big red rocks....old Native American settlements...

I was lucky to find these Native American "scrapers"...

At the end of May, I finally drive across the Arizona border into New Mexico.
First stop:  El Morro National Monument.  They have a free campground there!
This area is of great historical significance.  

I hiked to the top to see these well preserved  Native American ruins....
It amazes me that they built these communities so high up on these rock plateaus.

The sunset view from my campsite....

One day I took a side trip over to the Zuni Reservation.  There are a lot of street vendors's a very poor environment.  I saw, and purchased, some very pretty handmade jewelry.  I opted for an inexpensive private tour so I would know where I could take photographs.  Most of the "old town" is sacred and photos are not allowed.  This is the Zuni Mission.  I went inside (no photos allowed).  It was really a neat place with beautiful hand painted murals.

The Zunis still use these clay beehive ovens daily to make their own breads, and bread to sell.

Interestingly, I was told by the guide that the most severe crime there was "alcoholism".  Not what alcoholism causes, but alcoholism itself.  I really liked this one allowable photo tells its own story....

Last but not least, all my travels would not have been complete 
without my trusty companion, Nikko, a Belgian Malinois.
I rescued Nikko on January 23rd and he has been the best RV and guard dog ever!  

That wraps it up for this segment of "looking back".  I hope you have enjoyed the memories as much as I have!  So much to see here in the USA!  I will finish up the Year in Pictures in my next post!

I can see by the Amazon orders, via my blog links, that many of you are doing holiday shopping! I noticed one reader (I never know who buys what) purchased an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.  Good for you! I love mine!  Best pressure cooker out there!  There's still plenty of time for ordering, especially if you are a Prime member!  But, if you do find yourself running out of time - or you just simply don't know what someone would like, Amazon Gift Cards to the rescue! Everyone loves them!  They even have "Instant Delivery" gift cards!

I truly appreciate your orders via my blog link(s).  Thank you for supporting my efforts to bring travel into your homes --- wherever they may be!  But, let us not forget the true meaning of the's certainly not all about shopping!

Stay tuned for"2015 - A Look Back: Part 2!


  1. I remember most of these great pictures, but some I had forgotten! Nice to look back and see where you've been since you left! More to come in 2016, I'm sure!

  2. Good review! Hope newcomers will go into actual blog archives and read narratives! Thanks!