Bonjour tout le monde!
Here we go into March with new friends. We were excited to have a visit from Marc and Julie Bennett from RVLove, this time a sit-down dinner while they were in the Phoenix area. Having guests after months of traveling was satisfying. How does one entertain in a T@B trailer you ask? You picnic outside! It was nice to share a simple meal, laughter, stories of our RV lifestyle beginnings, and the places we’ve been.
March break included my dear friend, Flavie from Ottawa. We collected Flavie at the Phoenix Airport and then we drove three hours north to Sedona. We stayed at the Lo-Lo-Mai Springs Campground in Cornville, fifteen minutes from Sedona, where both tents and RV’s are permitted. Flavie was prepared with all the comforts of home while tenting. Having only a couple of days, we opted to see the backcountry with a Safari Jeep tour, allowing Flavie to perceive the red rock country. What a hoot! Our guide was feisty and informative and enjoyed finding what made his guests tick. The Mogollon Rim Run road—if one can call it that—is rough, very, very rugged. Our kidneys were left behind somewhere between the dips and huge boulders spread out over the trail. On our way back to the campground we stopped at the Javelina Winery for some Sedona wine tasting, some accompanied by chocolates.
Before leaving Sedona, we swung by the Tlaquepaque, known for its signature Sedona events, art galleries, fine restaurants, and one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques. Sedona is packed with tourists in the Spring, so there were no places to park putt-putt to view up-close and personal the amazing Bell Rock and Courthouse Rock. Driving towards the buttes of Sedona to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, on Chapel road, I noticed a big sign with the words “NO TRUCKS WITH TRAILERS” posted. Michael, being a stickler for details noted that we possessed a SUV, not a truck. Da!!!! So, as we progressed into the parking area, I repeatedly mentioned the written words; but ignored by “no problem” Michael, we proceeded. A parking ambassador gesticulating vehemently stopped us in our tracks. URGH! He asked if Michael had read the sign. Michael replied, the sign said “NO TRUCKS WITH TRAILERS”, not “SUV WITH TRAILERS.” I just rolled my eyes. Michael carefully executed a 7 point turn in a one-lane parking lot. Fifteen minutes later, the parking lot and the sign were in our dust. Mighty sorry, no exclusive photos of this specific incident!
The weather was a bit out of season, so we drove back to Phoenix to take advantage of the 90°F/32°C warmth and the sun. The KOA in Gila Bend was our vacation home for the next five days. There we planned a hike in the Sonoran Desert, where cacti thrive. Then a visit to The Painted Rock Petroglyphs Site, to see the largest known site with about 800 images pecked onto weathered basalt boulders overlaying a granite outcrop. The outcrop is an east to west orientated oval form about 400'/123m long, and about 20'/6m tall.
Flavie and I enjoyed the beauty of 140-acres/56.66 hectares of cacti in the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden, located in Papago Park. The scent, textures, and colours were breathtaking. The extensive planning continued as we enjoyed margaritas and laughs at Otro Restaurant, and finally admiring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West for a few hours before waving goodbye to Flavie at the Phoenix Airport. The sunsets in Gila Bend were not the same without her. Michael and I stayed another month to write, create, and relax.
One afternoon, we received a phone call from the KOA Campground Director while driving around Phoenix. Our first thought was Putt-Putt was in danger! They did not give us much information, but suggested we return immediately. Distraught and anxious we drove HWY 238 through the Sonoran Desert National Monument in a frenzy. When we arrived, we were greeted by a camera crew for a shoot of the KOA Annual Directory. They fell in love with putt-putt and wanted to photograph it as part of their promotional material. We agreed to the shoot, thinking it was just Putt-Putt; but no, they also wanted our mugs in the photos. We spent the next three and a half hours drinking and smiling for the director and camera-man to frame the shot. We had lots of fun meeting this fabulous photographer Jeff Dow, who was very generous with photography advice. The shoot ended as the sun reached below the horizon and new friends were made.
Many sunsets were admired as the days went by. At the beginning of April, we received another invitation. In this instance it was for a toilet video from Marc and Julie from RVLove. Yes! The imperial throne, le WC, the john, la commodité, the crapper, le berniquet, the loo, le vay-say, the privy, le pipi-room... is a critical element of full-time RV life... Presently Michael is famous for his putt-putt wet bath scene in the RVLove video.
Most tourists leave Arizona when the cacti start to bloom. Lemon yellow and fuchsia flowers pop up everywhere—a sign that summer is on the way. For us, it was just a continuation of pleasant, sunny weather. Dreading leaving our wonderful space, we went up north to Utah to meet up with friends and take advantage of our health practitioners.
In Salt Lake City, Linda and Marty Muir served as our hosts, while my foot healed and we planned our next phase of our emergent lifestyle. It was the best B & B we ever stayed at, although 6 weeks passed and we had to leave them to their privacy and move on.
While in the west we made a detour to Boise to spend a fantastic time with Dale Rogers. We even made time for a movie and margaritas. Remember those margaritas! Wow! We heartily enjoyed loads of those!
After months of extensive research for a better-sized trailer, I think, we fortunately found, our new rig. Living a year in 90 square feet, we sincerely wanted to explore a bigger trailer with more space. Michael desired a zone to write, and I would love to spread out to publish my artists' books. A bed that does not need to be taken apart in the morning and prepared at night would also be fantastic. A freezer for ice-cream and ice cubes for our wine, would be a dream...
We traded our Kia Sorento for a Ford F-150. This provided me the chance to get used to a truck before hitching it to a bigger trailer—which I never drove in my life—and the truck is the size of a battleship!
May ended with our departure from Utah and the start of our eastward voyage to deal with the repairs to Putt-Putt. We are extending our travels for another year, and enjoying our incessant journey.
Bigger trailer or bust!