It’s a new world out there

posted in: Arizona | 0

It’s been over five months since we posted a blog. A lot has happened in that time. Not so much with us personally but more with the world. Since most of us are hunkering down at home, we thought it was a good time to show some pictures to take your mind off this dreaded coronavirus and isolation.

 

Mother nature is still showing her beauty.

Cactus are in bloom.

 

Birds are sitting atop cactus not caring about social distancing.

 

Wildlife is still around. The ears looked like a jackrabbit but his backside was a lot fatter than most jackrabbits we see.

 

A roadrunner, looking a little scruffy on the back side.

 

Hummingbird taken at Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson.

 

Colorful flowers at Casa Grande Mountain hike on a beautiful sunny day.

 

In October, we took our motorhome from Maine to Arizona going thru New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas and New Mexico. The trip had its high points and its low points. We were happy to share our trip with my cousin Pam and her husband Ron, their dog Rudy and our dog Shelby. It is a different trip when you share it with the dogs but as long as they get out for walks they are happy.

Since it has been five months since our trip my recollection of the details are long gone. Luckily there are a few pictures. Hopefully, I get the locations correct.

John, Pam, Ron, Shelby and Rudy.

 

Schodack Island State Park in New York was just a quick stopover and a nice one to see the starts of Fall color.

 

Colorful trees at Schodack Landing State Park.

 

We were amazed at how busy the campgrounds were all along our trip. We didn’t make reservations and felt in mid October there would be no problem. Most of the time we got a site but it wasn’t always easy.  Allegheny State Park in New York was a nice stop. Because of the rain our campsite was pretty muddy–which of course is fun trying to keep the dogs out of the muddy puddles.

A great hiking trail in Allegheny was called Thunder Rocks.

The size of the rocks put Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts to shame.

 

This formation at Thunder Rock looked like a big lion.

 

Fall foliage was nice at Allegheny State park right next to the covered bridge.

 

A nice state park in Pennsylvania was Colton Point State Park. The foliage was just starting to turn here.

 

We got a lot of rain during this trip so pictures were a little sparse at times. We were going to stay two days at Great Smokys National Park but it was raining so we opted for only one night. As we were leaving, the sun came out, giving us the opportunity to at least see some of the beauty at this park.

 

The view at the top of Smoky Mountains was beautiful.

 

The clouds looked like snow at Great Smokys.

 

John and I even allowed our picture to be taken.

 

Driving through Gatlinburg, Tennessee was an experience. While the traffic was really heavy, seeing the unusual buildings made up for the slow crawl.

Here is one building we especially liked.

 

The trucks were also very entertaining.

 

Pam and Ron turned around at Tennessee to make the trek back to New York. We continued on and our next stop was Lake Catherine State Park in Arkansas.

A beautiful waterfall on one of our hikes in Arkansas.

 

We even came across arachnids on our walk. Luckily, we didn’t step on it. This one was about 3 inches long.

Our first view of a tarantula. He was moving right along.

 

There were many places we wanted to see along the way but sometimes, things change. We wanted to see Hot Springs National Park but in driving through with the motorhome there was no place to stop and this was in the middle of lots of traffic. Other places we didn’t get to see that was on our list included Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas and White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

The last leg of our trip was definitely an experience–not always good. We (okay me) broke our toilet one night when I stepped on the flush pedal. So we had no toilet and had to use the restrooms at the campgrounds. We attempted to find an RV parts place so we could fix it. The first place didn’t have the part. We said okay how about a whole new toilet. “We have one in stock,” the manager told us. But then they couldn’t find it. We carried on for another few hundred miles and stopped at another place. They gave us the part we needed. Great. When we stop at the next place, John can fix it. Wrong. After pulling the whole toilet apart to fix it, they gave us the wrong part.

It was difficult to find a campground that had space available. We finally found one in Texas where we stopped and knew we would have to use the restrooms. Big mistake. When we pulled in, we knew we were in trouble just looking around. For good or bad, I never even wrote down the name of the campground. So having no toilet, we headed off to the restroom. In the men’s room, instead of doors on the stalls there were shower curtains. One of the signs posted on the wall was, “Don’t use shower curtain for toilet paper or you’re out.” Another sign said, “If you poop on the seat, please clean it up.” Say what?!?

Needless to say, we left as early as we could the next morning.

To finish the toilet saga, when we got home, we ordered the foot pedal from Amazon that needed to be replaced. John attempted to fix that and another part broke, We finally gave up and ordered a whole new toilet. We should be all set now for a while.

All in all, we traveled about 4400 miles to get to Arizona.

Our winter in Arizona has been very enjoyable. We spent Christmas with my sister and family. We had a new addition to the family, Hailee Maczko. She is a great baby and always full of smiles.

John, Nancy, Ed, Cheryl, Urissa, Andrew, Hailee

 

In February, we took Hailee on her first hike. She wasn’t overly impressed but did well for her first time.

Hailee, Urissa and Andrew on Hailee’s first hike.

 

We have avoided taking Shelby on the hikes because he is not great on leash and there are too many cactus for him to get tangled up with. We finally did break down and take him on his first Arizona hike at Oracle State Park.

John and Shelby at Oracle State Park

 

View of Mt. Lemmon with snow from Oracle State Park. This was as close as we got to snow this year.

 

We went on many hikes with friends this winter. Each one, just a little different but all beautiful. This picture below was taken on Lost Arrow Trail. Difficult to see but “Eagle Eye” John actually found the lost arrow in the cactus.

 

Joan, Lisa (pointing at lost arrow), Cheryl [photo by Kris]

 

The hiking team at Sweetwater Preserve. Kris, Joan, Ron, Lisa, Cheryl, John [Photo by Kris]

 

That’s all from Arizona for now. We plan on leaving end of May to go back to Maine. The timing might change depending on the state of the country.

May you all stay safe, healthy and happy during this pandemic. For those of you and your families having health issues, we are thinking of you and sending our best wishes.

 

Sunrise in Eloy, Arizona