Friday, May 7, 2010

Away We Go!

I was gently reminded today that people can’t keep up with our travels and adventures if I neglect the blog writing. So, I will catch you all up on the last week or so and what’s happening now.

First, one of the reasons I haven’t posted is because I was hoping to get a response from a reader who e-mailed me after my last post, regarding my mini-rant about the park employees at Tuzigoot National Monument. If you remember, I mentioned the employees were less than welcoming or helpful to us that day. This reader is a National Park Employee in the area. She sent me an e-mail to tell me that knows the supervisor of Tuzigoot, who happens to be the supervisor at Montezuma’s Castle in the same area. She wanted to know if I minded if she mentioned my concerns to the supervisor. I replied to her, telling her that I didn’t mind, and also telling her that our experience at both Montezuma’s Castle and Montezuma Well was the total opposite. The employees and rangers were all very welcoming, friendly and helpful at those locations. I wanted her to also pass along that information as well. I also asked her if she minded if I posted about her e-mail and asking if she minded if I used her name. I think, however, that my reply to her may have gotten caught in the NPS’s spam filter, because I never heard back from this reader. To respect her privacy, until I hear from her giving me permission to use her name, I won’t, but I’d like her to know I appreciate her e-mail and hope she got my response.

Speaking of e-mails, I want to mention again how I handle comments that include your e-mail address. I intentionally do not put our e-mail address on this blog page, but if you want to hear back from me, feel free to include your e-mail address in a comment. I won’t publish that comment, but I will respond to you.

Now, back to our regular content…

After our visit to Tuzigoot, we also wanted to see Montezuma’s Castle and Montezuma Well, both additional Indian ruin locations not far from Cottonwood. On Tuesday, we went to see both of these fascinating ruins.

Our first stop was Montezuma’s Castle. It is misnamed under the assumption that it was constructed in anticipation of the arrival of Montezuma, but that wasn’t true. The dwellings were constructed by the Sinagua people along Beaver Creek. near Camp Verde, Arizona. The structure itself is no longer open to the public, although it was from the 1930’s until 1951, when the number of visitors had increased so dramatically as to endanger the monument:

Ellie 014 A closer view:

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You can find specific information about the monument at the NPS’ Montezuma Castle Website.

The next stop was Montezuma Well, another really fascinating location. The Well is fed by an underground spring with water temperature of 71 degrees year ‘around. In the cliff walls above the well are more cliff dwellings:

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A closer look at some of the dwellings, which are located around the cliff walls:

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At the outlet of the well is a beautiful, cool oasis in the hot desert:

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All of these ruins, Tuzigoot, Montezuma Castle and Well, are very special treasures in our history. The Sinagua People lived, worked, farmed and carried on life in their own way for several hundred years before mysteriously disappearing. I wonder what happened to them?

We had a great opportunity to meet another family of the RV-Dreams community on Wednesday night. Beth (Cowgirl Creations), contacted me when she saw that we were in Cottonwood, her town. She and her husband, Chris and son Caleb, met us for a delicious dinner in Clarkdale at the Main Street Cafe on Wednesday evening. We had a fun time getting to know each other, trading RV stories. I’m so glad we got together with them, and hope we can get together again down the road.

Two things came together to help us take a very special trip on Friday. We got a comment from Al (Travel With the Bayfield Bunch) about a train ride in that area. At dinner on Wed., we asked Beth and Chris about it, and they assured us it was a great trip, but to be sure to get a seat in the First Class section if we went. And we did! What a fun day, a beautiful ride, complete with a champagne toast and snacks along the way:

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Jim, checking out the drink menu:

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This was looking forward from the open observation car:

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What a great trip! Thanks very much to Al, Beth and Chris for the tips about the Verde Canyon Railroad!

Our “Jell-O” plans called for us to leave Cottonwood on Friday. But, the weather forecast called for high wind and storms through the weekend, so we decided to lay low and delay our departure a few days. We spent the weekend relaxing and slowly getting our pre-trip lists completed. Bright and early Monday morning, we rolled the Castle down the road again for a quick journey across New Mexico. and into Colorado. The weather was still a bit “iffy”, but we had no trouble scooting up I-17, taking a right turn and heading east on I-40 across Arizona and New Mexico. We picked up I-25 in Albuquerque and sailed along towards our destination of Fountain, Colorado. For much of this trip, we had the ever-elusive tail wind, and for part of the trip, we actually got over 11 mpg! Once we started through the New Mexico mountains, of course that average dropped, and we ended up with an estimated 8.7 mpg for the whole journey. Uncharacteristic of us, but we made the entire 900 mile trip in 3 days and got in a couple of days early.

Since we arrived here on Wednesday, we’ve had a good visit with family and friends, with much more to come! Along with the visiting, Jim has the (hopefully) final segment of his dental work to be completed, and we both have our usual medical matters to address. Now, if the weather will just warm up a bit – we definitely notice we’re not in Phoenix any more!


Janna and Mike said...

Finally, a blog!!! I got your phone message and when I slow down will call you. Glad you guys took the Verde train ride and that you also sat in the first class car--we had a ball on that trip, got to see an eagle's nest with babies. Glad you guys made it to Colorado and yes, you are not in Phoenix any more and neither are we!

Mark and Dortha said...

I agree...A 900 mile trip in 3 days is not your norm! Glad you had a good trip. I know your family is glad to see you.

How long before you head out for the summer reunions?

Miss you both...we need a long visit!

Anonymous said...

love the pics of your train trip. We must do that one day. We took a really good one in Alaska one year I just loved it. Sorry to hear your weather has cooled down but I would hate to think we are freezing alone lol.

Take Care
Brenda Brown

Emjay said...

Wow. You made me homesick for my homestate and my family, many of whom still live in the Camp Verde,Cottonwood, Verde Valley area. Nice to hear from you/about you again.