Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 - A Look Back: Part II -- Dec 23, 2015

Hi again!

I bet at least some of you are scurrying around doing last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking....but if you're ready for a 10 minute break,  please join me in looking back at these travel photos of my journey through the second half of 2015.

We ended the first half of the year at the Zuni Reservation in New Mexico which was highlighted in the previous post.  The reservation was a side trip while we were at El Malpais for our free, two week stay.  The El Malpais campground was nice, but it didn't offer any particular views of interest..... however, down the road, it was rather scenic....

This is a nearby, huge, natural arch that  was pretty cool ...

There was also this nearby overlook area called the Sandstone Bluffs...

Upon leaving the El Malpais area, Nikko and I made our way to northern New Mexico, near the Colorado border.  I knew there was "free camping" at a spot called Angel Peak, but I sure wasn't expecting this spectacular setting!  This was one of my favorite stops!  We stayed the full [free] two weeks and would have stayed longer if it had been allowed.  Angel Peak was like a smaller version of the Grand Canyon.  I can say, I almost liked it better than the Grand Canyon.  Our campsite was directly in line with, and at the same elevation as, the actual peak....we were just steps from the edge of the canyon.


And....we caught a lucky rainbow!

We left Angel Peak and headed across the border into Colorado.  Drastically different terrain, of and trees!  I wanted to explore a lot of Colorado, but there was no getting around the mountainous areas from our starting point.  This old RV doesn't take mountains so well.  So, we ended up in the beautiful San Juan National Forest in southern Colorado, near Mancos.  I nabbed the ideal, secluded campsite for another free, two week stay!  And we had the whole area to ourselves. We did a lot of great hiking here.


Since we couldn't explore Colorado too much, I decided to go back into the higher elevations of Arizona.  Through my research, I came upon Aker Lake in the Apache National Forest several miles south of the far east end of Hwy 260 which runs along the Mogollon Rim.  I said Angel Peak was a favorite stop, but so was Aker Lake!  Totally secluded and, again, we had the whole area to ourselves aside from a few local fishermen that came by here and there.  No internet or cell service, but this was an ideal spot!

One of my favorite wildlife captures of the year....the resident heron!

We're now into the second week of July and headed north back to Hwy 260 along the Mogollon Rim which runs about 200 miles east-west in northern Arizona.  On the way, we encountered THE best wildlife capture of the year.  A huge elk herd crossing right in front of us!  Really glad my windshield was pretty clean!

We landed in another part of the Apache National Forest and were lucky, again, to encounter a 
beautiful double rainbow...

We found a nice, quiet forest spot and settled in.
But....this is where our luck changed.  It's the monsoon season!
Rain, rain, rain....mud, mud, mud.  So much we packed up and left after about a week.
Too bad because it was a great area!

There are tons of camping areas along the Rim, but rain was in the forecast day in and day out.  So, we ended up in Payson, AZ for about 7 weeks camping out in the driveway of a friend's vacant house. That was cool, tho', as we could run electricity into the RV.  A SUPER luxury of civilization!  And it was within easy walking distance to many shops and the large grocery.  During our stay in Payson, I focused on my zen art kachinas and cooking/baking in the Go Sun solar oven!

From Payson, we headed down to Scottsdale to help out this same friend with moving his parents into his place.  This took about three weeks.   

The red moon solar eclipse from the city view....

Upon exiting Scottsdale, it was still too hot down in Yuma to go to our winter spot, so we drove a bit northwest to the BLM land in Wickenburg, AZ.  This is a really nice area and we had a great camp spot.  The only negative was when I got the RV stuck in deep sand and had to have a big rig tow truck from Phoenix pull us out!  Stuff happens!  Lots of good hiking and pretty views here!


We stayed two weeks in Wickenburg then FINALLY, as the weather was getting a little cooler, we headed south to make a full circle, to our current spot...where we started back in March.....the Imperial Dam BLM area 25 miles north of Yuma, AZ.  It's October 25th already!

So, we're back at the same spot we had last year....overlooking the Senator Wash Reservoir.  Perfect!

We had a nice Thanksgiving potluck with a lot of people we met here last year and I've been enjoying golf most every day, solar cooking, hiking, a couple of trips into Mexico and creating more zen art pieces.
Courtesy of my golfing buddy, Daniel...

There will be a full moon on Christmas!  
Hoping to get some good shots like this one taken at Thanksgiving...

So, that wraps up our RV adventure review for 2015.....  
it was fun and we are looking forward to more adventures in 2016!  
Thank  you for joining us!
Stay tuned!  

From Nikko and I, everyone have a very Merry Christmas
and a very Happy, and safe, New Year!
We will see you on the flip side!!


  1. Love Aker Lake as I am a water nut! All these pictures are great! I remembered some, others not so much. Thanks for the look back!

  2. Scurrying is right. Thanks for this post. I liked it!
    Custard check, tea ring check, roll dough check, fondue bread cut check, ribbon salad check, relish check.....Dinner Thursday at 5...all systems go...Merry Christmas!

  3. Love following you and Nikko on your adventures through your blog. Your photos are breathtaking and tell a story themselves! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  4. Your posts are the highlight of my work day! I save them for afternoon Pepsi One break :)

    I also saw your solar oven featured on "Top Chef". you probably don't get to watch that series but you probably would do pretty well in the competition with your background.

    Anyway, the lady who used it poured some water on her concoction and it blew up the oven!

    Merry Christmas and keep the blog going... Larry

  5. Great pics as usual. Merry Christmas to you and Nikko. Hope to be out your way next winter.