Hiking Piestewa Peak and Echo Valley Trail Under the Sun in Phoenix

A nice thing about a hike near Phoenix in the winter is I don’t have to worry about being cold!  The seventy degree temperatures were a nice break from the single digits in Denver. Continue reading “Hiking Piestewa Peak and Echo Valley Trail Under the Sun in Phoenix”


Days 292 – 293: Petrified Forest National Park

Days 292 and 293 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Day 292

Well, I didn’t see anything of interest yesterday except road construction taking place in the rain. Most the time the road was just blocked off with no one there.  I couldn’t believe when I saw a crew was working in the rain!

I did forget to mention that while in Kings Canyon I parked behind a car with a Hawaii license plate, and I recall an Alaska one from Washington. While I didn’t concentrate on the other 48 states or for that matter consciously look for Hawaii and Alaska plates, I believe I can say I succeeded at the license plate game! Continue reading “Days 292 – 293: Petrified Forest National Park”

Day 171 – Monument Valley Meander

Day 171 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Navajo National Monument

Indian territory in Arizona recognizes daylight savings, so I ended up losing an hour and got a bit of a late start this morning.  VANilla carted us about 60 miles through the Monument Valley area  to Navajo National Monument past an interesting pair of buttes called Elephant Feet.  As one would guess, these sandstone monuments look like wrinkled, leathery elephant feet. Continue reading “Day 171 – Monument Valley Meander”

grand canyon's south rim

Day 170 – Grand Canyon Loop – Part 2

Day 88 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Planning a Scenic Drive at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim

I’m not even sure how to start this blog about the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.  When I originally plotted my course around the USA, I simply glanced at the number of stops and miles on drive Reader’s Digest drive.  For every four stops or 100 scenic miles on average, I allotted one day.  After reviewing the plan the night before I depart, I mentally determine general stopping points.  Factors that go into my decision making are interesting locations, shower and food needs, and cell service availability.  With this in mind. I and adjust my tour accordingly. Continue reading “Day 170 – Grand Canyon Loop – Part 2”

Day 129 – Another Lazy Day in Carefree

Day 129 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Carefree, Arizona

Another lazy day in Carefree is just what I needed.  We went to breakfast at Fluff’s favorite coffee shop.  It was rather crowded for a late morning on a work day.  The shop had an inside and outside counter with barstools, an outside patio, a few lounge chairs and a few inside tables.  It also had four beers on draught because a few nights a week they have live music.

We chose coffee and a breakfast sandwich this morning and ate at the outside counter so Petey could hang out with us.  As we chatted about where I was headed next, Fluff informed me a section of Hwy 1 in California had washed into the ocean!  I didn’t know that.  I will have to do a little more rerouting of my trip.  Before we left, a biker came in with his cat on a leash (I’m glad Petey was outside).  That’s the second cat on a leash that I’ve seen on my journey so far.  The other was at a campground in West Texas.

places in carefree

On the way back to the house, we made a quick stop at the resort to take a peek at the main room and dining room.  Fluff said, “You’ve hardly seen anything since you’ve been here, and your mom is going to ask, did you see this?  What about this?”  It was fine with me to “not see much”, though I felt like I saw quite a bit.

Besides how many people can say they’ve seen a baby hummingbird in its nest?  In addition, I planned for more down days on this leg of my journey just to rest and address odds and ends that come up.  And, anyone that knows Fluff and Charlie, knows it’s just plain FUN to sit and chat with them.

places in carefree


We lounged around the house waiting on VANilla.  The mechanic in Scottsdale was supposed to have it ready by noon. Unfortunately, they ordered the wrong parts.  So with that, we decided to do a bit more wandering as VANilla wouldn’t be in tip top shape until late afternoon.

The Sundial

We strolled around the shops and restaurants in Carefree and stopped at the Sundial, the largest in the USA.  Judging from the shadow created by the Sundial, it was around 2 o’clock.  Also, I picked up a nano geocache hidden in the area.  Hidden in plain sight, it blended in quite well.  As we headed to Big Earl’s for a milkshake, I got the call…VANilla was anxiously waiting to continue our journey.

places in carefree

On the Way to Indio

By the time I got VANilla back to the house, packed up, and water tank filled, it was rush hour, so we waited until six before going west to Indio, California.  A lovely sunset unfolded as we left the outskirts of Phoenix, so I decided it was a good time to fill VANilla up with gas and snap a picture.  Soon thereafter, we drove in the dark crossing through Quartzsite, a town that caters to snowbirds, and Blythe, a place I was told to stay below the speed limit.  The exits on I-10 were few and far between for the next few hours.  It was a good time to insert the CD full of songs that Fluff provided me.  I imagine a few songs of the day will come from here.  ETB

places in carefree

PS.  Fluff and Charlie, thank you for a wonderful visit!


Day 123 – Arizona Indian Country
Day 124 – Grand Canyon Loop
Lower Antelope Canyon Tour
Day 125 – Call of the Canyon in Red Rock Country
Day 126 – Red Rock Country – Part 2
Day 127 – Red Rock Country – Part 3
The Grand Canyon’s North Rim
Day 170 – Grand Canyon Loop – Part 2
Day 128 – A Day in Carefree



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Day 128 – A Day in Carefree

Day 128 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA


Petey and I spent a relaxing day in Carefree, AZ.  This morning we took a walk with Fluff, a long-time family friend, around The Boulders stopping to admire the blooming cacti, bunny rabbits, and quail.  The morning sun combined with a cool breeze presented a perfect temperature. Continue reading “Day 128 – A Day in Carefree”

dead horse ranch state park

Day 127 – Red Rock Country Part 3

Day 127 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Today Petey and I spent the morning geocaching in Dead Horse Ranch State Park.  We found five of six caches placed around the park.  Most of them were near the lagoons which was definitely the most picturesque part of the park.  The caches ranged in size from micros to medium sized containers.  We found a film canister, a magnetic key holder, two hard, plastic latchable containers the size of a pound of sugar, and a large vitamin bottle that was well camoed.  They were hidden under rocks, in trees, and attached to benches. Continue reading “Day 127 – Red Rock Country Part 3”

Day 126 – Red Rock Country Part 2

Day 126 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Tuzigoot National Monument

Once we found the local Starbucks, tucked away in the Safeway, we drove four miles to Tuzigoot National Monument located just north of Cottonwood.  Tuzigoot, Apache for crooked water, is the remnant of a Southern Sinagua Village that was built in the 1100s.  The original pueblo of 77 ground floor rooms was two stories and sat upon a ridge above the Verde Valley.  The village was home to approximately 50 people for 100 years.  In the 1200s, the population doubled and then doubled again as farmers fled drought and settled here. Continue reading “Day 126 – Red Rock Country Part 2”

Day 125 – Call of the Canyon in Red Rock Country

Day 125 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Call of the Canyon Day Use Area

Today Petey and I started our Red Rock Country scenic drive toward Sedona.  We simply drove one mile south to Call of the Canyon Day Use Area and took a five mile hike on West Fork Trail.  Less than a quarter mile into Oak Creek Canyon are the ruins of the Mayhew Lodge constructed in the late 1800’s.  The oldest structure was built by “Bear” Howard, who earned his nickname by killing four bears armed with only a knife. Continue reading “Day 125 – Call of the Canyon in Red Rock Country”


Day 124 – Grand Canyon Loop

 Day 124 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

The title of my daily adventure is probably a little misleading.  I didn’t go to the Grand Canyon today, but it is a stop on this Reader’s Digest Scenic Drive.  I plan to visit it at a later date to ensure good weather.  Hopefully that doesn’t end up being a mistake, because it was absolutely gorgeous today.  The portion of the loop drive that I conquered today was southeast of the Grand Canyon near Flagstaff. Continue reading “Day 124 – Grand Canyon Loop”