Yesterday was a travel day, so I got to work in the morning and didn’t post. I had the scooter loaded Saturday evening, but didn’t get much else done due to the cold, windy weather. When I say cold, I mean in the 60s but with a stiff wind.
I started by pulling the wheel covers, then checking and adjusting tire pressures. Donna went out for a walk while I was doing this. When she returned, I cleaned the windshield and rear view mirrors. I waited until she showered to dump the holding tanks. I was in for a surprise.
I had dumped the tanks on the previous Wednesday. I was off my usual weekly schedule, due to us changing our plan and extending our stay. No problems at all on Wednesday. Sunday morning, when I pulled the handle on the blade valve for the black tank, there was an odor. Then there were two two small streams of black water spouting from the top of the sewer hose. Yuck! Something had punctured the top of our sewer hose. It only lasted a few seconds since the tank wasn’t very full and the pressure quickly subsided.
As I flushed out the black tank, I used the outdoor shower wand to spray off the area around the punctured hose. The two holes were spaced a few inches apart. The were about 1/16″ in diameter. I don’t know what caused this in the top of the hose. The hose was fine four days earlier.
While the tank was rinsing, I saw our new neighbor with the Alpine Coach that pulled in a couple of days ago. I walked over and introduced myself. His name is Ron. He’s owned his 1999 Alpine Coach since he bought it new in 1998. He and his wife have traveled to 49 states (including Alaska), all of the Canadian provinces, all of the states in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. They’ve been on the road full time since they bought the coach.
Like most Alpine Coach owners, he’s very enthusiastic about the brand. He was one of the original six founding members of the Alpine Coach Association. He and his wife worked as travel guides for RV tour groups. That’s one of the reasons they’ve been to so many places. He currently has about 189,000 miles on his coach and it’s still going strong.
Once I finished with holding tanks and cleaned everything, I threw our sewer hose into the dumpster. We hit the road around 11:30am.
Our route took us back through Wickenburg to the Carefree Highway. I’ve noticed that some people can’t stand driving behind a motorhome, no matter how fast the coach is going. On one stretch of the Carefree Highway, I was driving along at 58 – 60 mph where the speed limit was 55 mph. A guy in a pickup truck pulling a boat made a risky pass. He passed us over a double yellow line where side roads join the highway. Once he was in front of us, he gained about a hundred yards on us before he pulled off at the Lake Pleasant turn off.
We turned north on I-17 and drove up to the Verde Valley. This route climbs into high desert with a series of uphill and downhill sections. I was really pleased with the way our coach handled the grades. On the steepest climbs of six or seven percent, we easily maintained 50 to 55 mph. On the downgrades, I used the engine compression (Jake) brake to keep our speed in check. On steep descents, the low setting on the Jake allowed the speed to slowly creep up. When I switched it to the high setting, it reduced our speed. I played the switch back and forth between low and high to adjust our speed. I never touched the brake pedal. I remembered Ron telling me that at 189,000 miles, he still had the original brake pads.
We turned west on AZ 260 and drove to the WalMart on the outskirts of Cottonwood. We stopped there at about 2 PM. I bought a new Camco Rhinoflex sewer hose and few other RV supplies there.
Donna and I were hungry. We made a rare visit to a fast food place. We ate at Carl’s Jr., Donna had a turkey burger and I ate the western bacon cheese burger. We talked about staying overnight at the WalMart or moving on to boondock on public land. We decided that Donna would shop for groceries while I went online to look for free camping opportunities.
Highway 89A from Cottonwood to Sedona runs through the Coconino National Forest. I saw a few places that looked promising, but it’s hard to tell just by looking at a map or Google Earth how good the roads are. We turned off the highway at Spring Creek Ranch Road. This didn’t work out as we hit a dead end at a gate. Luckily, there was a wide turn around area. We’re always concerned about getting into something we couldn’t get out of.
We continued north and saw a few campers on a small hillside. We pulled into the turning lane and came to a stop before entering. There were two motorcyclists on Honda Goldwings, pulling small pop-up camper trailers exiting the dirt road. Donna jumped out and met them at the stop sign. She asked them whether we could maneuver our rig in there. They advised against it, saying it was very rough. That was why they turned around and were leaving.
We continued north, past the Red Rocks State Park Lower Loop. At the upper loop turn off, I turned in towards the park. I thought it was called a loop for reason. I figured if it’s a loop, we can drive through and take a look. We continued down a narrow, winding road. The scenery was spectacular with views of the famed red rocks. But the only turnouts were small and uneven. We dropped down into a narrow valley and came to a Y intersection. The road on the left led to a recreation area, but there was a “No Outlet” sign and another sign said it was closed at the river crossing. This didn’t sound good. We stayed on the loop to the right.
On the GPS map, it looked like the road would lead us back to the lower loop road and back to the highway. We came upon a rural residential area as the road became narrower. I saw a guy walking on the side of the road and I stopped. I opened my window and asked him if the road looped back to highway 89A. He said it did, but the pavement ends and it climbs through tight switchbacks. I asked him if he thought we could do it in our rig. He was skeptical.
Now our mission was to find a way to get turned around. We weren’t having much luck. Every side road was a short, narrow spur. When we reached the end of the pavement, the road curved sharply to the right. There was another road angling off to the left at the curve. I pulled into the road on the left. Then I backed the trailer into the curve on the dirt road. It was a tight, tricky maneuver, but I had us turned around and heading out of there.
By now it was after 5pm. I was anxious to get off the road. We turned back south on 89A. If we went any further north, we would be in the town of Sedona, where we not be able to park. We pulled off at an RV park on the side of the highway. It was a membership park, so we continued on. We saw an RV off to west in the national forest. We pulled off at forest service road 525. Right away we saw a large turnout. I passed it by and continued down the road. The pavement ended.
There was another smaller turnout ahead. I pulled into it. We debated whether we should continue down the road or turn back and pull into the large turnout we saw. We decided to turn around while we had the chance and park in the large turnout. We could explore later on foot. I couldn’t turn around in the smaller turnout, I had to jockey back and forth, taking care not to hit anything with the trailer before we were out of there.
We found a fairly level area in the large turnout and called it a day. It was beer-thirty for me. With a beer in hand, we took a walk down the road. We found a perfect spot about a quarter of mile from where we turned around. We thought about moving, but it was almost sunset by then. We decided to stay put and explore more of the area in the morning.
Here are a couple of views from the area where we dry camped.
Red and white cliffs in the distance
We started watching a new (to us) series recorded on the hard drive. Last night we watched two episodes of The Americans before we turned in.
Our site at sunset
Today, we’ll hike around the area and decide on our next move.