Cliffdwellers, pathwalkers and roadrunners

Monday, November 24

Shortly after waking I open the door of the Best Little Trailer to greet the morning.

“Well, hello there!  Good morning to you, too.”

A roadrunner runs (of course) across the blue mat, puts on the brakes under the palo verde tree for a quick eyeball at me, and then disappears into the wash bordering the back of our campsite.

1-P1010634I turn at the door . . . . “Time to get up, Bridge.  You’re missing all the action out here.” 

It’s chilly with bright sunshine.

This promises to be another beautiful, November day in the Sonoran desert around Roosevelt Lake in eastern Arizona!


1-P1010611I fix our breakfasts.  I drink a cup of coffee while reading and responding to comments on this blog and checking Amazon orders from yesterday.  Light glows through the curtains, luring me outside.  I close  up the laptop and change out of my sleeping clothes.

What shall we do today?  I feel like going somewhere!

Soon Bridget and I are on our way to the Tonto Recreation Area Visitor Center.

The road winds through stately saguaros and deceptively soft-looking cholla.

1-P1010606I leave Bridget in the Imperfect Tow Vehicle while I go inside the visitor center. 

I’m greeted by two cheerful, mature ladies stationed behind a reception desk.  I buy enough recreation passes to extend our stay through the Thanksgiving weekend.

After signing the registration book, “RVSue from Everywhere” (a touch of overstatement but not lacking in enthusiasm), I tour the rooms displaying creatures of the desert.  The mountain lion is lifelike and has paws as big as my face!

I learn the history of former residents, mostly those who lived in and around Tonto Basin starting as far back as the 14th century.  I look at their pottery and simple tools.  Another room displays photos and tells the story of the construction of the Apache Trail road and the dam that turned Tonto Basin into a lake, both accomplishments of such magnitude I can hardly comprehend it.

Well, that was fun . . .

By the time I return to Bridget, I figure it’s her turn for some diversion.

Not far from the visitor center I take a narrow dirt road leading us to a clearing.  This is good.  Bridget can explore while I take pics of the marina.

1-P1010608Next we go to Tonto National Monument.


1-P1010613Inside the visitor center I show a young ranger my senior discount pass (Inter-agency Senior Pass issued by the National Forest Service for a one-time fee of $10; gives free entrance to national parks and monuments, along with other discounts).  She scans the pass number into the computer.

1-P1010612I learn that dogs can go on the path to the cliff dwellings, but they aren’t allowed to go inside the dwellings.

I lift Bridget out onto the pavement, retrieving her stroller as well.

I put her in her black suit with attached leash.

“Wow!  You’re excited!  Do you think you can climb all the way to the top?”

She scampers ahead of me on the concrete walkway that zigzags up the hillside while I hold her leash and stroller.

Halfway to the top we stop for a rest.  I sit on a bench enjoying the view.  Bridget is panting and immediately lies down in the shade.  I try to photograph a cactus wren perched on top of a saguaro, but he takes flight before I capture him.

“Can you keep going, little girl?”  Bridget thinks not and makes a move to go downhill.

“Wait a minute, honey.  How ’bout I push you in the stroller now . . . . ”

This alternative meets with her approval.

Up we go, me pushing and Bridget enjoying the ride.  It’s warm now and the path is steep.  I can see the cliff dwellings.

1-P1010626I’m not going to leave Bridget unattended in order to explore the ruins.  That’s okay.  The view from here is worth the hike.

Down we go!

1-P1010623“Don’t worry, Bridge . . . . I put on the brakes!”

1-P1010625In the parking lot we both have a drink of water.  I place Bridget on the bench seat and we head for home.

I bring out an assortment of vegetables to prepare at the picnic table.

Red potatoes, green beans, carrots, broccoli, and an onion go into a pot… a little seasoning on a plate for lunch.  Lots left over for another meal.

1-Roadrunner-Greater.1-1025Later as I read my Paperwhite in the lounger with Bridget napping in her favorite bed beside me, the roadrunner returns!

Or maybe it’s a different one.

(Photo from

He gives me the eye and fans his comb a few times – Is that a wave, roadrunner style? — and then he scoots under a bush to hop up on a boulder on the other side of the blue mat.

He cocks his head, checking out our campsite, and then proceeds to preen his feathers in the sun.

This is what I like about a quiet camp!


UPDATE ON THE REPLACEMENT DOOR:  The body shop tells me that rust was discovered on the door from the salvage yard.  Another door has been ordered which delays the installation until after Thanksgiving weekend.


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