We stopped in Camp Verde on September 12th to get supplies and made our way back into the Coconino National Forest and found the Rim Road. It’s a pretty good dirt road, definitely passable by car although it is narrow. We got up above 7500’ and found a great campsite off a spur road overlooking the mountain ranges, valleys and trees far below. When we left Camp Verde an hour before, it was 99F; now it was a comfortable 72F and the afternoon clouds were gathering. It rained after we’d been there about an hour and it last for a couple of hours. It cooled off a little more that night but never got cold.
We continued down the Rim Road on Wednesday morning and saw some wonderful viewpoints, hiked out to General Springs where General Crook had a cabin back in 1872 while fighting the Apache. This entire Rim Road was part of the 200 mile supply route he had created. We did not see many people until the more eastern end and loved the remoteness of this place.
We spent Wednesday night in Payson and got to Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix on Thursday. It was quite muggy here; so unexpected but rain is in the forecast for the next few days.
We took advantage of being in the last big city in the US before entering Mexico and Doug saw an ocularist for his eye, we both went to the dentist for teeth cleaning and we went to an optometrist to get new glasses while we still have coverage and also, money left in our FSA.
Serena is flying in to join us for the week on Monday so we have booked a condo in Chandler (south east of the city) through our time share and are looking forward to spending some time with her. She just returned from her job in Alaska and returns to Big Sky to work again this winter starting on the 20th. We also rented a car for the week. The latter was quite fortuitous as the rear differential on Tigger began acting up a couple of weeks ago and there is a Four Wheel Parts location near our condo for them to repair it under warranty. The part had to be ordered from the manufacturer so we’ll be without it for several days.
Serena arrived on time on Monday the 14th, the day after her 25th birthday. Fran & she went shopping on Tuesday and after a few hours at the condo pool in the afternoon, we went to a very nice Thai place for dinner to celebrate that night.
Wednesday we drove the scenic Hwy 88 east of the city known as the Apache Trail. It took us up and down small mountains, partially on good dirt road but mostly paved. It was a very pretty drive following the Salt River past Canyon Lake and Apache Lake out to the Roosevelt Dam and Lake. It passes through the small town (if you can call it that!) of Tortilla Flats: Pop: 6!!!! We passed the Tonto National Monument and realized our parks pass was in the RV so we did not go in but a short ways down the highway, there is a lookout from which you can see the monument which is cliff dwellings. We lounged at the pool that afternoon and rented a movie that night and stayed in.
Thursday, Serena and Fran ran some errands and finished up shopping before hitting the pool once again. That night we all went to the movies and saw Vacation; it was pretty fun and better than we expected.
Serena left on Friday to return to Big Sky; she starts work on the 28th and we plan to go see her and meet the boyfriend in January. We miss her already.
We got Tigger back before returning the rental car but the part was still not in. We checked into a campsite in Apache Junction – near the Superstitious Mountains (and the Apache Trail!) for the week. Doug has to fly to Austin on the 27th for a week and we got a great price on the condo we just checked out of for another week so Fran stayed there (for a way better price than we paid the first time and cheaper than the campground!) until Doug returned on the 2nd.
So, today, Tuesday, October 5th, after visiting 28 states, passing through two more, driving 16007 miles, Doug having open heart surgery and two trips back to family, we are headed to Mexico finally! We will spend tonight in Yuma and then hit the border at Tecate tomorrow mid day – yeah!