Sunday, November 15, 2015

New Mexico and our winter destination, Arizona!

After driving 2 days from Arkansas to Albuquerque, NM we took a few days off to stay and enjoy the area.

This past 6 months we binge watched the series Breaking Bad after it was recommended by my brother and several others.  Since we were in it's filming town we decided to check out a few of the locations.  Those who have watched it should recognize these!

On our NM high point hike 2 years ago we met Deb & Kathy and they live in Albuquerque.  We called them up and met for dinner to catch up on the past 2 years.  Great seeing you!
It felt great to get out and stretch our legs on a morning hike.  We were used to hiking every morning and now we've missed almost 10 days while traveling.  Moxie was thrilled to finally be out of the RV and the Jeep and running around in the wilderness!  She was a great little traveler across the US!

Moxie's checking out the desert
After a little work on the RV we were on our way to sunny Arizona!  Our drive on Route 40 was beautiful and we were thrilled to see the mountains in the distance as we were approaching Flagstaff.  We climbed this mountain below (without the snow!), Humphrey's Peak, several years ago.  Ahhh!  To be back in the mountains!

I always laugh when I see this sign below on Route 17 from Flagstaff to Camp Verde.  Seriously?  If you need it what are you supposed to do for the next 10 miles?!  Thankfully all was well with our brakes and it was not needed.

Ahhh...the Verde Valley area!  We're back and will be here for the next 5 weeks!

In the few days we've been here we've been enjoying daily hikes, Jeep rides, star gazing (the black sky is amazing!), a meteor shower and even a therapy float in Sedona.  This is living!

Til next time...Happy Trails!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mississippi and Arkansas (and lots of driving!)

Thursday, our last morning in Missouri, we walked outside to this double rainbow over the RV.  Perfect start to the day!  We traveled from Missouri to Arkansas (approx. 2.5 hours), quickly parked the RV in our campground and hit the road in the Jeep to the Mississippi high point (another 2.5 hours away).

Woodall Mountain - our high point #36 at a whopping 806 ft!

Friday we hit the road again, in the Jeep, but this time in the opposite direction, and another 2.25 hours, to Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Let's just say that every minute of this drive was well worth it!  In one of the local shops we met an 80 something year young woman who moved here in the 70's.  She was ill at the time and the water has healed her.  She looks wonderful and we could hardly believe she is 80+ (she wouldn't tell us her exact age).

These "filling stations" were in several places in town.  Locals come with gallon jugs to fill up their regular water supply.  

Natural drinking water fountain

one of many of the springs in town
Superior Bathhouse - the local brewery in the park which makes their beer and soda from the local natural water

Marque and Jake took great care of us at lunch and Marque is the creator of the recipe of the best cookies ever!
When we first hit the road our dear friends, Brenda & Joe, bought us the best book ever, Off the Beaten Path, which we have been using to land ourselves in some very cool areas which we would not have found otherwise.  At lunch today we had the most fabulous cookie, which was created by Marque, pictured above, and found out it is featured in this cookbook, Off the Eaten Path, On the Road Again.  Well with that title how could I resist.  This book covers the southern areas of the US and now we have another reference to use to hunt down some fun places and yummy food.

After lunch at Superior we headed to Buckstaff Baths for a few hours of pampering and relaxation in these natural waters!

The first step in our relaxation was our own personal whirlpool type bath similar to below.  They had an interesting mechanism which made the regular tub like a whirlpool.

After the 20 minute bath is was onto the relaxation table for a rest over the hot packs (which was the towels soaked in the naturally hot water).  Next stop a brief sit in the steam room cabinet.  I thought I'd be claustrophobic but it actually felt great to have the steam on my body and not my face as well.

Next we enjoyed a brief soak in the sitz bath (similar to the image below), which is good for the lower back and hips.

After all of this wonderful soaking and sweating out the impurities it was time for the needle shower to rinse off.
Oh no, it's not over yet!  One more treat of a Swedish Massage and then a paraffin hand dip.  Then back to reality.  What a wonderful experience we would recommend to anyone!  We'd love to have stayed there for a few weeks to enjoy regular soaks.  I love my baths!

We spent Saturday in the RV traveling from Arkansas almost through Oklahoma to our "campground" at Wal-Mart in Elk City (about 40 miles from the Texas border).  We'll spend another day in the RV today headed to Tijeras, New Mexico where we'll spend 3 nights so that we may enjoy a few days touring around Albuquerque and catching up with friends we met there a few years ago.

Til next time...Happy Trails!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


On Monday we left PA to work our way to AZ for the winter.  
Our site at PA Dutch - all packed up and bare again
Night 1 in a Wal-Mart in Ohio.  Yes, this is living!  

Nights 2 and 3 in Missouri.

Missouri - 2 days - 3 State Parks - 1 High Point

Big Oak Tree State Parkthe home of many current and past state and national champion trees—trees that are, for their species, the largest in the state or in the nation.
Champion TreesCircumferenceHeightSpreadPointsStatus
Pumpkin Ash118"150'77'357Alive
Rusty Blackhaw48"29"25'83Alive
Eastern Cottonwood288"114'76'421Died 1976
Slippery Elm264"115'60'394Died 1979
Shumard Oak205"134'86'361Died 1997
Bur Oak229"154'92'406Alive
Swamp Chestnut Oak272"156'104'454Alive
Pawpaw24"39'26'70Died 1980
Swamp Privet26"28'31'62Died 1959
Black Willow148"113'69'278Alive
We didn't see all of them but we sure did see impressively large trees!

An unplanned sunset by the Mississippi River - As we were driving back from the State Park we wanted to find a place along the river for a quick stop.  We didn't expect the perfect timing of the sunset and magnificent colors but we sure soaked it in!

Taum Sauk Mountain Sate Park - Also home of the Sate High Point (Taum Sauk Mountain - 1,772 ft.) - #35 for us!  

Next stops - The Mississippi High Point and Arkansas.

Til next time...Happy Trails!