Monthly Archives: April 2021

Hitting the Sedona Trails

The scenery around the Sedona area is simply mind-blowing – Jeff calls it nonstop “eye candy”.  The deep-green vegetation against bright red sandstone formations is spectacularly beautiful. And there’s no better way to see the beauty than by hitting the extensive trail system.

Many of the trails are multi-use, that is, open to hikers, bikers and equestrians. In fact, we hiked some of the same trails that Jeff loves to bike on, just so I could see what he sees. There are all levels of trails from easy to double-black-diamond. None of the trails have extreme elevation changes, although there are stretches of rather steep up and down. The more advanced trails have some narrow and gnarly trails with steep drop offs that aren’t for the faint of heart. But there are ample moderate trails that take you into the heart of the red rock formations. While hiking, I had to stop frequently, just to take it all in. Magnificent!

Sedona also boasts a number of four-wheel drive trails. We rented a Razr two-seater one day and took it for a spin. Jeff has immortalized the day in one of his you-tube videos. The video doesn’t really show how steep some of the sections are! It was definitely more interesting and more technically challenging to drive here than in New Hampshire (where we last rented a 4-wheel machine).  The weather at this time of year is glorious – sunny and crisp.

We have a four-wheel-drive F-150 truck for a reason, so took the truck out on some of the mellower OHV trails. Near our Clarksdale RV park lies the Coconino National Forest with its network of trails. We saw a number of boondocker RVs, taking advantage of free BLM land camping. The forest also hosts amenities such as a large model airplane airfield. We watched one Sunday morning as enthusiasts piloted enormous remote-control airplanes through aerial dives, spins and stalls. One hobbyist piloted his aircraft using virtual reality glasses. I guess he was getting the cockpit view through a camera mounted at the front of his plane. I’ve never seen anything like that!

Farther up the trails, we encountered a First Peoples historic site, the Honanki Cliff Dwellings. A short trail took us by ruins of dwellings built on the ground against the cliff, taking advantage of rocky overhangs. We could also see some well-preserved petroglyphs.

The Sedona area is beautiful and interesting, no matter whether you bike, hike, or drive!

Campground Review: Rain Spirit RV Resort, Clarkdale, AZ

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 023.jpgCampground Review Summary

    • Name: Rain Spirt RV Resort
  • Dates of stay: March 17 – April 14, 2020
  • Location: 551 South Broadway, Clarkdale AZ 86324
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent
  • Cost: $19.33/night (monthly rate)
  • Additional fees: electric
  • Stay limit: none
  • Accepts mail / packages: yes
  • Cell reception: ATT not so good
  • Website: https://rainspiritrvresort.com
  • Pros: Central location, very affordable, nice and new
  • Cons: none

Full Review

Rain Spirit RV resort didn’t even exist during our last visit, 3 years ago. We stayed nearby at a Thousand Trails facility, and weren’t all that thrilled with it. We thought we might stay at the only campground inside Sedona, but the big rig spots there are extremely limited and anything in Sedona is expensive. We were very happy to find this brand spankin’ new RV park located in the nearby town of Clarkdale.

This RV park is just perfect. Their big rig sites are level, solid, long, and easy to get into. It’s just laid out well. The FHU utilities work perfectly — the sewer is even a downhill run! There’s no cable TV, but you can get a number of over-the-air channels. All of the sites are satellite-friendly. The park itself is located in a lovely setting with hills all around you.

For a small park (53 sites), the amenities are quite nice. There’s a pool, hot tub, small work out room, coin laundry facility, and small lounge with lending book/DVD library. The bath house consists of six spacious individual bathroom units (toilet, sink, shower), which I very much prefer over “dormitory style” bath facilities. They are clean and beautiful.

The only possible negative is the poor internet connectivity in the area. Our ATT hotspot slowed to a crawl, especially in the evenings. The free campground wifi was no better. It’s not a reflection on the park, the data signal just isn’t robust here. Phone and text was fine, email was slow, and something like zoom was completely out of the question.

The park is conveniently located near a number of attractions: Tuzigoot National Monument and Verde Valley railroad is just up the road. Old Town Cottonwood is less than 2 miles. Sedona is a half hour away. You can drive to Jerome in about 15 minutes. Cottonwood can meet all of your shopping needs including grocery, Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

This park is also extremely affordable. Our month-long stay on a big-rig site ran us $540 plus electric. Shorter stays are pricier, but even a month isn’t long enough to explore all this area has to offer.

We’ve already booked our month for next year!

Bottom Line: Great little park, inexpensive and in a great location.

The Power of Science

I’m a scientist and have seen many marvels in my lifetime, but one of the greatest has to be last year’s development of the COVID vaccine. I’m not going to get into the politics – I have good friends that are choosing not to be vaccinated at this time and I respect their position. This is a free country and people have the right to choose or refuse medical treatment according to their individual circumstances.

But, to us …. It’s freakin’ miraculous. Normally, vaccines take YEARS to be developed. The fact that several vaccines were developed AND tested AND scaled up for mass production within a single year is simply unprecedented. It’s not just the vaccine itself, it’s producing all of the ancillary equipment needed for mass distribution, and setting up the logistics for mass vaccination. I’ve never seen anything like it in my lifetime.

Jeff and I intended to get the vaccination from the outset. As healthy under-65-ers, we expected to wait quite some time before we were eligible. But as States began prioritizing by age, our opportunity arose sooner than expected. As moving targets, a two-dose regimen posed some logistical issues for us, but we solved that by scheduling both doses in Phoenix. The vaccination registration website was clunky and overburdened, but we managed to secure appointments on the same day, if not at the same mass vaccination site.

For our first dose, we drove up from Tucson. The drive-through vaccination process was actually inspiring. The entire process was quick and efficient as we were ushered through multiple lanes and checkpoints by friendly volunteers. Jeff received his jab, waited the required 15 minutes, and we drove away, heading to a second vaccination site for my turn. It took longer to drive to the second location than it did for me to receive my shot. Easy-peasy!

For our second dose, we drove down from Sedona. As before, our return appointments were at two different locations (and no, they wouldn’t just give me the shot at the first location because of the way they allocated doses, believe me, we tried!). My original site had closed, so I was booked into a new location. This one was less than efficient, and we spent well over an hour waiting in line. But, we got-er-done!

It’s such a relief.

Finally, I can see an eventual end to pandemic restrictions. I’m tired of a wearing stupid mask everywhere. I want to go to the theater and out to dinner. I want to go on a cruise. I want to play cards, and bingo, and socialize in the campgrounds we visit. I want to hug my loved ones and not worry, just a bit, that I might pass along a potentially deadly disease. I want my normal life back.

We’re getting there!