The crew and I eat breakfast in the desert and lunch high above the pine trees.
That’s one of the things I love about living on the road . . . climate change in an hour!
Friday, April 26
On the way out of Camp Drake, we stop at Rusty and Timber’s camp to say goodbye. I ask Rusty to check my lights for me. We hug and promise to keep in touch.
The Perfect Tow Vehicle carries us northward on Highway 89 to Ash Fork, and climbs aboard Interstate 40 east to Williams, then Flagstaff. Our only stop is Exit 198 to take advantage of the free dump and trash receptacle at the Conoco station.
Bridget and Spike wake up for a potty walk and we’re soon back on the interstate. About three miles further, the PTV turns northward, picking up another leg of Highway 89.
We’re on our way to Sunset Crater Camp!
I don’t have to look for a camp in the area because I already know where the best one is. I remember how excited I was when I first explored Arizona. Everything was new. Now in my second year as a vagabond, I experience a different emotion as I travel a familiar road on the way to a former camp. The excitement is still there, only now another element is added. I’m looking forward to returning to a special place!
I open the door to the scent of pines.
Ahhh! This is heaven. I let out the crew and we walk the few paces to the edge of “our” hill. I look out over the pine tops and view the desert in the distance.
The only sounds are the wind rushing through the pines in the valley below our camp and the squawk of a mysterious, unseen bird.
I immediately set out my camp chair.
“Hey, guys! Let’s have a picnic lunch!”
I know Bridget and Spike are hungry because they didn’t eat much breakfast. I heat up some of the leftover concoction of peppers, onions, sausage, tomato sauce, and pasta shells. That’s for me. The crew gets the roast turkey slices they love.
We take a short walk up the road and meet our neighbor.
Chris is a young man from Tucson who’s car-camping while waiting for a friend to meet up with him. They’re both cyclists who plan to bike to Vegas and the coast.
I hate to bring up this subject, having just met the guy, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share what I’ve learned.
“When I was here last year, the ranger came by and told me I was in violation of the 30-foot rule. She only gave me a warning because it was during the grace period when the new rules first went into effect. I was about 40 feet from the road. The rangers may not be as forgiving now that a year has passed.” (On this particular Coconino National Forest road, campers are restricted to 30 feet, not 300 feet as in other places.) Chris is leaving tomorrow, so he’s not too concerned. We chat a bit more, I wish him well, and the crew and I move on.
All this cool, crisp air makes us sleepy.
The three of us snuggle up inside the BLT and take a nap. My first thought upon waking is . . . Gee, I’d better take some more photos for the blog before the light is gone. Spike is always game for a little exploring. Bridget doesn’t want to get out of bed, so we leave her behind.
By camping at Sunset Crater Camp we’re poised for the drive across the Navajo Nation Reservation and the desert on our way to Monument Valley. We’ll enjoy living in the pines through the weekend, maybe longer.