After 6 months of being in the same town, going to work, having a routine, it was so freeing to have a week of just being campers.
We pulled out of Show Low last Monday morning in high winds, so, instead of towing the car, we drove the 84 miles to Winslow separately, Marika and Cody in the RV and me following in the car. We had reservations for 2 nights at Homolovi State Park just outside of Winslow. The park consists of a campground as well as excavated archaeological ruins of the early Hopi Indians. The park is situation on the open plains of the high desert, with wide and vast and open vistas, and you can see for miles.
The first night, the Ranger suggested we drive up the road to a neglected county park to see the sunset at Little Painted Desert. We pulled in as the light of the sun spotlighted the layers of history in the cliffs, from gray to orange to a deep brown that looked like soft suede.
The next day we lounged in bed, listening to the wind outside the open windows, then we took our morning walk around one of the areas with ruins. Shards of ancient pottery lined the walkway and I imagined the hundreds of people that walked and lived in this land more than a thousand years ago.
After breakfast, we left Cody at home in the air-conditioned comfort and set out to find the reservoir and park where Marika might find some birds. The sun was high and warm, so I sat on a collapsible stool under some cottonwoods while Marika sought out some songbirds in the reeds.
We drove into Winslow and explored the famous La Posada Hotel. Designed by Mary Colter, the same woman who designed many of the buildings at the Grand Canyon, this former Santa Fe Railroad property has been completely renovated by four amazing people. The buildings, the gardens, the history, and the art on the walls kept us entertained for several hours. And we ate at the famous and delicious Turquoise Room.
On Wednesday we headed 80 miles west and south to Cottonwood, and camped at Dead Horse State Park, an old favorite along a stretch of the Verde River. The campground has changed a lot since we were there 14 years ago, with better marked trails and more cabins. And the trees and bushes are fuller, taller, and thicker.
We were camped among many tenters, and the campsites were very close together, so we spent the mornings out on the trails, then, when it got too warm, we tucked inside with the curtains and windows closed. Cody loved playing stick along the river and I couldn’t believe the intensity of the cicadas, so loud, we had to almost yell at each other to hear.
We lingered at camp on Friday, getting in one more river walk before heading down the mountain into the Big City. We hooked up the car to tow, but the transmission pump in the car wasn’t working, so we unhooked and, again, drove separately. This time I was in the RV and Marika and Cody followed in the car. It was an easy drive, no traffic, and we arrived at our grass and trees RV park without incident.
And now we are here. Yes, it is warm and the sun is sharp like a knife. But there is a swimming pool right behind our camp spot and, even though the water was winter cold, I got in and enjoyed the swim. And we have also hugged good friends, eaten favorite foods and spent time with my Dad.
The crazy drivers and all-day traffic are taking some adjustment, but I keep reminding myself that we are here for good reasons. And, like every other place we’ve been, it is only temporary.
Marika’s first cataract surgery is next week, and I start seeing favorite Mac clients next week, too. And we have lots of fun things planned in between. So there is much to be grateful for, as always.