Those of you who pay attention to my blog see that I am posting on a Sunday, but not for Sunday Stills! I’ve left that in the capable hands of Hugh this week. I will be back to officially posting for Sunday Stills on February 3rd!
As I continue to share my thoughts on my Arizona Road Trip, here is Part Two as we travel to Sedona, Arizona. In case you missed Part One, click here to see how it all began!
Late Sunday morning, we left our new friends in Phoenix and were on the road again; next stop Sedona, Arizona. This was only a two-hour trip and we pulled in about 1:30pm. We had a great campsite at Rancho Sedona RV Park.
As we sat in our lounge chairs in the warm-ish sunshine sipping our favorite beverages, we eventually strolled over to the nearby galleries and restaurants less than a mile away. Chatting with folks we discovered there was to be a bit of snow the following day, which was New Year’s Eve day. Locals assured us that occasionally 1-2 inches of snow falls but melts quickly.
What to do for New Year’s Eve?
Monday morning, we woke up to gray, overcast skies. We needed to drive into the nearby town center of Sedona to pick up groceries, some propane and buy more gas.
We left the RV campground in the truck at 9:30am aware of the beginnings of snowflakes gently falling. 90 minutes later, the one main road out of Sedona with all its round-abouts was covered in at least three inches of snow and snarled traffic.
As New Year’s tourists’ cars slid all over the roads, we inched along as best we could. It took us one hour to travel one mile. By then the snow was practically in white-out conditions. I told my hubby we could have just stayed home and driven to Lake Tahoe and had the same experience!
By the way, my husband is an excellent driver, is very careful and does not take chances, staying far away from other drivers when possible. I can’t understand drivers who tailgate in the snow. Do they not see the huge hitch on the back of our truck?
The road to our RV park was uphill and covered in snow. Try as we might, we couldn’t drive safely up the hill to turn into the road to the park. Hans carefully backed the truck down onto the street near the Art galleries and parked.
While we were attempting to carefully back down the street, a huge bus-like RV was stopped just above us on the same road near the RV park entrance. He and his wife were stuck as well. In his attempt to back down the hill, his RV slid uncontrollably to the left side of the narrow road and was thankfully stopped from tumbling over the five-foot embankment by the trees lining the road.
Sidenote here: I’m linking this post to the new Friendly Friday Photo Challenge hosted by Something to Ponder About. This week’s theme is pathways. Quite a perplexing pathway in this photo, indeed!
To get back to our trailer, I had to hoof it back with one dog and two bags of groceries. Yes, I trudged through a snowy field, while snow stuck to my glasses. As I prepared to walk back to pick up the rest of our stuff, Hans came walking in with a large propane tank on one shoulder and Brodie on the leash in his free hand. That dog LOVED the snow.
Snow was expected to continue all day. At least 6-7 inches accumulated, stranding us for two more days. Other campers were stuck as well, and the roads were closed into Sedona. Even the RV park office staff couldn’t drive home.
Locals say that it hadn’t snowed like this in 30 years.
In case you think I’m making this up, here is proof:
“It may freeze at night in Sedona in the winter, but NEVER during the day. Snow is rare, but breathtaking when it happens. And pictures must be taken quickly because the bright Arizona sun usually melts it away by day’s end. Almost no resident of Sedona owns a snow shovel.” Quote from google about Sedona
Here is another link: It’s Snowing in Arizona
Travel Travail #4. Winter Storms Happen! Although I checked the weather conditions religiously before our trip and every day thereafter, the entire West and Southwest were in the beginnings of a cold winter storm.
Travel Travail #5. Buy chains for the vehicle! If we had suspected any type of snow on this trip, we would have bought chains for the truck in Sacramento. The Ford truck pulls the trailer like a champ in ordinary conditions, but it is not a 4-wheel drive. Oh, and pick up chains for the trailer wheels, too! Try buying chains in the desert.
What did we do for New Year’s Eve? The office had shelves of DVDs to borrow free, so we got into our PJs, made dinner and snuggled up on our sofa bed with the dogs and watched old movies! Happy New Year 2019!
There was no possible way for us to leave Sedona on January 1st with so much snow still on the ground, especially in our RV park and on roads leading in and out.
We had reservations to camp at Lake Powell along the Arizona/Utah border, near Page, Arizona beginning January 1st. This leg of the trip was intended to keep us there for five days, where we could drive over to Monument Valley, see sights in the Navajo Nation, and hike the Antelope Canyon (where I also had reservations for Jan 4).
After checking the weather conditions again, we saw the temperatures would stay between 10-30 degrees for those days in Lake Powell. We were already tired of the cold and snow, and Hans was worried about black ice on the roads. A lot of this next leg involved driving and I did not want to keep feeling anxiety every time we got into the truck.
I still had a short window to cancel the current reservations with full refunds. Tearfully, I cancelled our Antelope Canyon Tours, then called to cancel the RV park reservation at Lake Powell. I felt like a huge failure, but a sense of relief washed over us, and the decision was made to end our trip a few days early and just head straight to Las Vegas as soon as we could leave Sedona.
View this post here by Ingrid and you can see what I missed!
The second to last leg of the road trip was to include staying in an RV park near the Grand Canyon. From Sedona, the Grand Canyon is about a two-hour drive. Office staff at Rancho Sedona cautioned us about the conditions at the Grand Canyon.
Travel Travail #6. Road Closures. The US government shutdown was in full swing, closing many national parks, including roads and limiting services.
Although we could have parked the trailer along the route and tried to drive to the Grand Canyon, even if just for a few hours, we were told the roads were clogged with holiday travelers and bathrooms were not being serviced. Once in the national park, and still having to shell out the $30 entry fee, we were not interested in navigating through the confused holiday traffic and potentially unsafe road conditions.
I even texted Ingrid and mentioned we might head back to Phoenix for a couple of days!
Talented Travel Trailer
As it is my habit to make lemonade out of life’s “lemons,” we were delighted to discover the ease of which our trailer kept us comfortable and secure. Our 27-foot Jayco Jayflight boasts 24 feet of living space with a dining area slide out. We had plenty of room to relax, even with the dogs, while being stuck inside as it continued to snow outside. I’m glad I brought lots of blankets for our bed!
The propane tanks were easy to fill allowing for unlimited heat during the cold nights. So far, both RV parks had full hookups, although the wi-fi connections were slow. Using the trailer commode during the night with full flush functions was amazing. Trudging to restrooms at night is not fun in snowy, icy conditions. We opted not to use our shower, as it made a good area to hold our wet shoes and coats. The RV park restrooms came equipped with hot showers and we took full advantage!
During our summer weekends at the Sacramento Delta, we basically “boondock” or dry camp, as there are no hook-ups on Sherman Island, so we had limited prior experience as to how talented our trailer is! That is where the 100-watt solar panel comes in handy to power up our mobile devices and operate the lights.
Sedona Surrounds Us in Red
Despite the difficulties with the weather, I managed to get some spectacular shots of some of the red rock formations. A beautiful rock formation towers near the entrance to the RV park.
We had originally planned to end our trip with two nights’ stay in Las Vegas then head home to Sacramento. As I cancelled the remaining reservations, I called the Sam’s Town RV park and made reservations for four nights.
We finally left Sedona on Wednesday, January 2. The roads were clear, but a few icy patches remained. We drove back to I-17 then connected to the I-40 at Flagstaff (elevation 7000 feet). Flagstaff was another spot I had wanted to explore…maybe next time! Although we worried about the roads, the main highways were mostly dry and well maintained, and we pulled into Las Vegas around 3:00pm.
Travel Travail #7. Expect the unexpected and go to your Plan B. Stuff happens, weather is unpredictable, and safety is number 1.
Again, I want to thank blogger Ingrid from Live, Laugh, RV, who, when I commented on one of her posts, offered to share information with me about Arizona.
Guess what? Las Vegas was wonderful!
Since the travel travails end here, I will save our Vegas experience in part three of my next post!
Until then, as they say, Safe Travels!