September’s Sunday Stills color challenge is harvest gold.
“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
JRR Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring
As I enjoy an Eastern Washington Autumn with all the golden colors so typical in September, I recall countless years spent in Sacramento enjoying Autumn’s much slower start. Late August boasts field of sunflowers a few miles from our new home in Washington.
In Sacramento, September was the month to experience that golden sunlight that warmed the land. Sadly, I believe that golden light was caused by smoke from wildfires, and late summer dry conditions.
Citrine is also another choice for this week’s color challenge. The color of Citrine can range from a pale pastel yellow to a strong orangey-yellow.My sapphire wedding ring is an example of the citrine color.
While you contemplate your harvest gold and citrine images to share, please enjoy this gallery of images to get you started.
In a few weeks, the northern hemisphere falls back into standard time and the nights will get Llooonnger! The first day of Autumn is September 22. Folks in the southern hemisphere–I’ll bet you are looking forward to your spring! For now enjoy this gallery of sunrises and sunsets showing off shades golds and citrines.
Golden Moments of a Sedona Wedding
Thank you so much for your thoughts and comments last week as I shared some preview wedding photos of my step-daughter’s wedding in Sedona, Arizona. As promised, I’m sharing more images from the wedding that took place on Monday, August 23.
The bride and groom shared their vows, then signed the wedding forms in front of the iconic, golden-hued peaks of Sedona.
Golden moments at dinner. The bride contemplates her array of special beverages.
Golden hues of the L’Auberge de Sedona Resort lobby. Citrine Sedona rocks and me!
Please create a new post for the theme or link to a recent one.
Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
Include Sunday Stills tag in your post.
Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.
I look forward to your gold and citrine images for this month’s color challenge. Next week’s theme is “Signs of Autumn (or Spring). Dawn’s Festival of Leaves prompt begins September 23, another great place to share your Autumn posts!
Bloggers Who Dared to Go Back
Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite “going back” photos.
I’m back…as this week’s title might suggest. I can’t thank Natalie enough for hosting Sunday Stills in my absence and with her amazing themes, no less! Thank you to all my fellow bloggers who continued to participate in Sunday Stills and support Natalie while I was on my three-week break. That is if you can call two-out-of-three whirlwind weekends a break!
Subconsciously, I chose this theme a few weeks ago based on some random thought, but as we traveled the first week between August 20-24, I realized how perfect the theme is to highlight our whirlwind weekend.
Before I launch into my photos, “Going Back…” implies going back to something, whether a place you’ve visited before, going back “in time” as you view your photo archives, or how about going back “to the future?” Use any preposition to add to going back that suits you…going back …in, on, to, out, under, over, through, between, by, as far as, across, etc. I’m certain all you clever bloggers will come up with some spectacular ideas and images to match!
Why did I take a blogging break?
As summer progressed, I found myself getting way too busy at the end of August into early September. My gorgeous step-daughter decided on having her wedding sooner than later and she was gracious enough to ask us when we would be available. I mentioned that Hans had a high school football celebration on August 20 where he would be in San Diego for the event. Vanessa is a detail-oriented, highly organized, long-range planner like her step-mom (she refers to me as her “bonus mom”), so she did some checking for a wedding venue. She chose Sedona for a small parents-only wedding on Monday, August 23. I’m sure she and her groom saved scads of dollars by choosing a Monday in the low-season. Sedona is in the high desert of Arizona, two hours north of Phoenix, so yep, it’s hot there especially this time of year.
Between the football event, our wedding anniversary on August 22 (spent in Prescott and in Sedona), and the wedding, this was a crazy weekend that involved me planning three one-way flights and a rental car, securing five nights in the Pet Lodge for the pups and 15 other things that had to happen. Not to mention, I haven’t traveled by air for almost 2 years, which usually makes me a little anxious.
Since my buddy Marsha makes an appearance in this post today, I again was inspired by her Writers’ Quotes Wednesday challenge which is Writer’s Choice or Order. At first, I didn’t think I could combine “order” with “going back,” but, welp, I managed to (thanks, Google).
In order to move forward, you have to look back.
So let’s go back and take a partial look at our whirlwind weekends.
Going Back out on the Field for…High School Sports
My husband and I met at our high school near San Diego as 14-year-olds in 1974. We did not date but we were friends. Both of us were prominent athletes in our respective sports, me in swimming and track-and-field, he in football and soccer. Helix High School began its football program in 1951, and several former players organized a 70-year celebration honoring players from 7 decades and the coaches who inspired them.
Encouraged by friends on Facebook, we decided to make the trip for this one-of-a kind event.
These “old guys” from the 70s decade enjoyed going back onto the field and eventually watching the varsity football game after the celebration. Hans is front and center!
I’d love to go back to when we played as kids, but things change. And that’s the way it is.
Not only were there over 200 players there to receive honors, but alumni Bill Walton, of NBA-fame (playing for Portland Trailblazers and Boston Celtics), was also there to support his fellow Helix athletes.
For you American football buffs, two famous Helix alumni, Alex Smith and Reggie Bush, played football at Helix High school in the early 2000s and went on to become stars in the NFL.
According to Wikipedia, “While at Helix, Reggie played with the 2004 Heisman Trophy finalist and first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft Alex Smith. During his prep career with the Helix Highlanders, he won the prestigious Silver Pigskin trophy awarded by KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report. Smith and Bush were later finalists for the 2004 Heisman Trophy, making it the first time a high school had two finalists at the same ceremony.”
Due to their busy schedules they were unable to attend, but how cool, huh?
My lovely daughter housed us overnight at her place and we enjoyed a fun but brief visit with her before we headed out Saturday morning to fly to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
Going Back to… Celebrating Friendships
We arrived in Phoenix and drove two hours to Prescott, AZ to stay with Marsha and her husband in their lovely new home! They treated us to a nice dinner downtown, then we strolled through the quaint streets in the warm summer evening.
We spent Sunday morning checking out Watson Lake and folks enjoying their kayaks and paddleboards. Marsha and her husband decided to drive along with us to Sedona to eat lunch at Butterfly Grill for our wedding anniversary. Such a fun day!
Speaking of friendships, long-time friend, Marcie, and her husband drove from Sacramento area to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho (one hour drive from our home), to attend a family wedding over the Labor Day holiday weekend. They joined us at our home for dinner and was the first time they had seen our new place! I miss this bestie—we have been friends since 1980, our kids are the same age and we played years of recreational softball together.
Going Back to a Place…Sedona, Arizona
After saying goodbye to Marsha and her husband, we headed for the L’Auberge de Sedona Spa and Resort, where the wedding would take place the next day, and where we would spend two nights. At 7pm, we met the wedding party to shuttle to Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. A wonderful way to spend our 8th wedding anniversary!
We were quite excited to be able to go back and see Sedona again, after our snowy winter road trip in 2018-19. The Instagram post below gives you an idea of the spectacular views that awaited us this time around.
The road was new to me, as roads always are, going back.
Sarah Orne Jewett
In late December 2018, we pulled into the Rancho Sedona RV campground with high hopes of seeing the sights around Sedona for a couple of days. Little did we know how much snow would fall our second day, on December 31, with thousands of visitors driving into the area.
Our views went from this to this in less than 24 hours!
I was told that the rock formation was Snoopy Rock, but, scratching my head, I didn’t see it.
Because we were snowed in, we couldn’t even walk the main street through town that affords all the iconic views. Going back to Sedona, on the morning of the wedding, we strolled the street that boasted views and signage!
Turns out, from the campground, Snoopy Rock was hidden. Going back this time, I finally saw Snoopy from a higher vantage point, and boy was I excited! Do you see Snoopy as if he is laying on top of his doghouse?
For more about that winter road trip, you can check it our here.
A Sedona Wedding, Part 1
Many of you saw my post on Instagram and Facebook where I shared many images of my step-daughter’s wedding. On the morning of the wedding we enjoyed breakfast by the creek with the bride and groom, then did some shopping and sightseeing. My step-dot Vanessa’s mom was also there and helped her get ready.
Some fun facts about the wedding:
Vanessa and her new hubby live in Tempe, AZ. Sedona was the perfect venue for the wedding.
The groom’s parents live near Toronto, Canada, and travel restrictions were lifted in the nick of time.
Vanessa’s dog, Nala, a Shiba-Inu, was the ring bearer.
There were only 8 guests at the wedding: 5 parents and 3 special friends of the groom. A reception will be held next year in San Diego where most of the family lives.
The bride’s dress was an extra small and did not have to be altered in any way.
And yes, I cried when she was escorted down the steps and the aisle with her handsome papa.
Today I will share just a few photos of the wedding.
I had the pleasure of taking a bunch of photos of the wedding with my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. I shared dozens of them with Vanessa. Next week, I will share more that happily coincide with the monthly color challenge Harvest Gold!
The small reception went late into the night. Thankfully the wedding venue was close to our room. However, all good times must come to an end, as the next morning, we were out the door at 4:45am to drive 2 hours back to Phoenix, turn in the rental car, and shuttle to the gate to fly home.
This map shows our itinerary, flying from Spokane, WA on Friday to San Diego. Saturday, from San Diego we flew to Phoenix, then drove to Prescott and Sedona. Our return trip on Tuesday, was back to Spokane with a short stop in Seattle.
Join me next week for Part 2 of this post which highlights the wedding, which in turn shows off the colors for next week’s monthly color challenge Harvest gold! I will share more about the rest of the two weeks. Quite a bit happened so please stay tuned.
To wrap up the month of May at Sunday Stills, let’s share our favorite vacation spots. As more of the world gets vaccinated against Covid-19, masks are coming off and the world is opening up! Hallelujah!
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
This week, I am sharing my favorite vacation images from my archives. Now, some of you world travelers, like Sarah, will have to choose your favorites, (aren’t they all though?).
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”
While you think of your favorite vacation spots, remember why we take vacations. In my retired world, every day seems like Saturday and I’ve been on a perpetual vacation for a few months. But think of a vacation in broader terms, like leisure and travel, and how they are all connected. My point (finally) is this: How do the concepts of leisure, vacation, and travel make you feel? Would you say that these words invoke healing when you experience their manifestation?
According to Marsha at Always Write, her newest WQWWW (Writer’s Quote Wednesday) is “healing” and I suggest this is what time off does for us in the form of a vacation, leisure time in a hobby or physical activity, or travel! This quote speaks volumes:
“In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!”
Mehmet Murat Ildan
Join me as I share my galleries of trips down memory lane and hum along to the song titles. I apologize in advance for any earworms created. You will notice how many of my favorite vacation spots feature the colors blue and green, which ties in nicely to Tina’s Lens-Artists challenge this week!
I Left My Heart in … a US National Park
“Within National Parks is room–glorious room–room in which to find ourselves, in which to think and hope, to dream and plan, to rest and resolve.”
My family spent a LOT of time visiting national parks, notably Yosemite and Sequoia, since they were in California. Last July, I spent a couple of hours in Sequoia with Marsha, when she lived 30 minutes away in Central California.
Down In Mexico
“Never underestimate the healing power of these three things – music, the ocean and the stars.”
My windsurfing husband dragged me to Baja, Mexico three times to the La Paz area. In nearby La Ventana is incredible windsurfing and kite boarding. I took my turns windsurfing in the Sea of Cortez as well as some stand-up paddling. A great vacation spot!
“Nature itself is the best physician.”
Because I lived in California most of my life, I spent the first 20 years in San Diego and the rest in Sacramento (Northern California). On two San Diego vacations, I met fellow blogger, Janis, for lunch twice, and one lunch there with Liesbet, who I met in Sacramento! Since 2009, my vacations consisted of summer weekends at the Sacramento River Delta, with occasional visits to Yosemite. It has been my goal to stand-up paddle on every significant body of water on vacations!
By the Time I Get to Phoenix
“Walk in nature and feel the healing power of the trees.“
Arizona was and still is a winter vacation choice. Not only did we meet fellow blogger, Ingrid and her husband in North Phoenix two years in a row, my brother and recently my stepdaughter now live in the Phoenix area. Winter roadtrip 2022 is in the works!
“Leisure, some degree of it, is necessary to the health of every man’s spirit.”
I’ve been lucky to travel to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018 and 2019 with the goal to fix up and sell my husband’s house on the Hilo side. The house is dilapidated and needs work that we just cannot do at this time in our lives. This year we will make final arrangements for its sale. During these weeks, we did manage to do a bit of relaxing and exploring after taking care of the home. Hilo is not the tourist mecca like Kona is, but it serves as the county seat where most of the government infrastructure is housed. Hilo is also the wettest city in the US. In 2018 we visited Volcanoes National Park before the last eruption took place. In 2019, I got to visit the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Gardens with fellow blogger, Graham. We had a blast taking tons of photos!
Viva Las Vegas
“Life’s short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”
Las Vegas, Nevada is known for its casinos and nightlife. It’s also a great place for winter RV camping. In 2018, our winter roadtrip to the Southwest was cut short by unseasonable cold and snow, so we high-tailed it to Las Vegas as our last stop and enjoyed a pleasant week. Unable to visit Antelope Canyon that borders southern Utah and northern Arizona, we stumbled on the Valley of Fire State Park just an hour northeast of Las Vegas. I still got my slot canyon fix and plenty of hiking! In 2018, we met up with fellow blogger Maria, formerly of Sagittarius Viking, still on Instagram.
I sum up my vacation experience thus far with this meme I created when I was teaching leisure education and management at Sacramento State University. These surfboards were situated at a windsurf resort. I took the picture and added this thought to help make the point about taking time off of work or other obligations and enjoying leisure time!
You Are My Home
“Come to the woods for here is rest.“
One year ago almost to the day (May 2020), my husband and I stood together on our property for the first time.
We’ve come a long way in one year, figuratively and literally! We are moved in and enjoying everything that goes along with building! All during a pandemic, no less.
Our vacation of choice in 2021 will be a “staycation” since we are new to our home and hoping people visit us as we continually move in. Will the unpacking and getting everything just right never end?
If camping in an RV counts as a vacation, then our 2-month stay in North Spokane RV Park was quite lovely despite winter/early spring-living while we waited for our home to be ready.
Like this Canada Goose family enjoying their home near a local lake, we expect to enjoy all the area has to offer. Submitted for Lisa’s Bird Weekly.
Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…
I am looking forward to seeing your favorite places where you vacation and relax! Speaking of relaxing, Sunday Stills is taking a break next Sunday as my family celebrates a long Memorial Day weekend. See you in June and have a great week!
We all love landscape photography. When you first began snapping photos, perhaps you naturally gravitated toward landscapes (or waterscapes—same thing), due to their ease of accessibility. Who doesn’t stand in awe of a wonderful vista and wish they had their phone or camera handy?
This is an easy challenge this week as you share your favorite land- or water-scapes, but the twist is to tell us why the image or images are your favorite, and something about the place. Since most of us are travel-restricted, let’s brag about our best or favorite landscapes as we all travel virtually along with each other!
For several years, my hubby and I traveled in December and January when we both could take extended time off from work. We enjoyed two winter road trips in our RV, both times visiting San Diego, Arizona, and Nevada.
We got snowed on in Sedona in 2019,
and visited the Grand Canyon in 2020. It took two attempts to get here!
On our way home to drop off the RV, we enjoyed a misty morning along the Sacramento River. This is one of my favorites.
Moving now into warmer winter climates, our first visit to the Big Island of Hawaii was on the Hilo side where we watched surfers skirting around the volcanic reefs on Hilo Bay. This particular image was created as a 40-30 canvas print I hang in my house.
I had to throw in a Painnted (filter) version of this image as we drove UP the Hamakua coastline on the northern end of the Big Island.
*My grandmother pronounced Hawaii “how-ah-ya,” for which I endlessly teased her, good-naturedly, of course. Though she was an English teacher, her Midwest roots shown through in her dialect.
Staying with our warmer winter climates, I was fortunate to visit Baja California, Mexico three times in the last 10 years. On the Sea of Cortez side in La Ventana just south of La Paz, mornings saw calm waters and fabulous sunrises, perfect for a morning stand-up paddle session or enjoying a cuppa jo.
During afternoons, the wind came up and windsurfing was the only way to enjoy the water. Photo credit to my husband.
Because I love the color green, I’ll stop for a landscape of cool greens like this one taken in the Sierra Nevada foothills in March, 2016. This area is near the town of Sutter Creek, originally populated during the California gold-rush era of the 1850s.
In late March, 2017, we stayed a few days in Yosemite Valley and captured this iconic view of Half Dome with Bridalveil falls in the foreground.
This image got a lot of hits on Facebook and Instagram. This is the Dishman Hills area of Spokane and this particular area looks spectacular in any season.
The above version was taken in mid November, while the one below shows early Fall splendor. I am sure to collect images of each season now that I live in the area!
I had to include a favorite autumn landscape titled Quincy in Fall, an image of a waterfall in the Feather River in Northern California. This is another image I had made into a large Canvas print.
Taken in 2010 with my first digital camera, I’m told by many this was prize-worthy. 11 years ago those compliments gave me much needed confidence to enjoy and explore photography.
And so it goes….
Honestly, this week’s theme couldn’t have come at a better time since we had to move again and I found myself super busy. No, not exactly what you are thinking. Our home is not ready yet, but the good news is that the interior will be worked on this week. Sadly, staying with my BIL in his toxic home environment was too much after 6 full weeks and we were fed UP. We spent all last week looking for another temporary home and I hurriedly put this post together. We looked for a house to rent for 1-2 more months, but nothing was available.
Plan C? Our 27-foot travel trailer has been parked on our nephew’s property, so we braved snowy roads and moved it to an RV campground on Thursday. This was the last thing my hubby wanted to deal with after the drama at his brother’s. At this writing, we are happily sitting in our warm RV in North Spokane enjoying our own space! He looks pretty happy in this pic and we are relieved.
A warm welcome to blogger Frank at Beach Walk Reflections to Sunday Stills last week. He shared a lovely post in response to “clouds and fog” at the suggestion of good friend and fellow blogger Marsha of Always Write. I’m so pleased more people are contributing to the Sunday Stills photo challenge. During January, eight bloggers joined the Sunday Stills challenge for the first time!
This is my last post linking with Becky B’s Squared Up Challenge as hers comes to an end. Some landscape photos do not square-up since they are from my archives. Thanks, Becky, for hosting your delightful quarterly challenge!
I am also pleased to share this post as a “photography journey” of sorts with this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge hosted by Amy.
I certainly look forward to seeing your favorite landscapes (and water-scapes)!
Remember you have all week to create a post for each week’s theme. February themes can be found HERE!
Welcome to this month’s Fall color challenge. In October we explored the color ochre and its myriad interpretations. We aim to discover the various shades of auburn this month. In the image above you get an idea of the range of Auburn shades.
November, with its Autumn colors, seems like a great month to enjoy nature’s color schemes. Even if you are in the southern hemisphere, the rich tones of auburn may be evident all around you. While I would love to bore you with autumn leaves from this year and years past, I should set some different examples for the color challenge!
But who doesn’t love a tumble of leaves that have fallen?
My sis-in-law always has a beautiful seasonal display in her dining room window. I caught this just in time for the late afternoon sun to peek through the tiny house window that illuminated the glow of the auburn leaves in the background.
Now for some other images of auburn created in nature. Within the past two years I was happy to be able to visit Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada and be surrounded by the auburn rock formation.
I also visited Sedona in 2018 and the Grand Canyon in 2019 where vivid red rocks were the norm.
Sunsets and sunrises also give us variations of auburn.
I’m sharing three photos for Becky B’s January Squares Challenge today for Wordless Wednesday. The theme for these images is “Afternoon Delight” taken while on our winter road trip. Before dinner on Christmas Eve, we walked along the Sail Bay side of Pacific Beach in San Diego. The light was amazing! After our cold and … Continue reading Wordless Wednesday: Afternoon De-Light→
This Veteran’s Day weekend finds me relaxing at home amidst the changing Autumn landscape here in Sacramento. As a city with a large urban forest and a “City of Trees” distinction, Sacramento’s Autumn show does not disappoint once the leaves begin to color. Between Vet’s Day and Thanksgiving (barring any crazy wind or storms) the … Continue reading Sunday Stills: #Yellow Leaves of Autumn→
The last day of June 2019 is a wonderful way to spend in the outdoors, our theme for this week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge. June was National Great Outdoors Month, which seems appropriate as many folks begin their summer vacations.
To help inspire you, today I am sharing some of my favorite photos of this year’s visits to the great outdoors along with some motivational quotes.
You know that I am an outdoors person, therefore most of my leisure time is spent outdoors appreciating nature. Since hubby is an adventurous spirit, anything outdoors is our first choice for time together.
Last December found us in the Arizona desert enjoying a warm hike on one day and snowy New Year’s the next.
“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.”
In January we completed our road trip in Las Vegas in awe of the red rocks of Valley of Fire State Park. Once home we towed the trailer back to its storage location in the Sacramento Delta (in Antioch) and enjoyed the serenity of the valley fog.
During my spring break from teaching in mid-March, we spent as much time as possible outdoors in Hilo, Hawaii.
April is the start of windsurfing season. We moved the trailer again for the summer and enjoyed some water sports.
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.”
In May, I spent a lovely weekend in South Lake Tahoe at our ladies retreat taking moments to contemplate the still waters of Zephyr Cove.
There is no wi-fi in the forest, but you will find a better connection.
Before the retreat, I arrived early to take a bike ride around the Tahoe Keys Marina, a residential boating area amidst the pine trees. How amazing to walk outside your back door and hop on your watercraft! Yes, please!
Of course, John Muir inspires countless generations to enjoy the great outdoors!
“There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in this process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
I love this quote. The U.S. will celebrate Independence Day on July 4th this week. In the image below, the American flag stands tall and proud amidst the sacred lodgepole pines of Yosemite National Park.
Did you notice that this image is square? Beginning July 1, join Becky B for Blue July squares. Until then, Happy Independence Day!
This week’s theme for Sunday Still is frozen! I figure we can endure one more week of winter scenes and freezing weather in some places, then start dreaming of spring!
This week’s images demonstrate snow and ice appearing in unlikely places at unexpected times of the year.
Most of you already know of my slightly frozen winter road trip to the so-called warm American Southwest.
Upon our arrival to Sedona we strolled around and came across this frozen fountain outside nearby art galleries. At this point, it was cold but had not snowed yet. Despite the frozen water, some of it was still flowing. Photo credit goes to my husband!
The next morning, we experienced unexpected snow in Sedona depicted here by my happy husband (he liked the snow for a few minutes). We did pack for snowy conditions, fortunately, but this much snow really caught us and everyone else by surprise!
This second image shows a beautiful winter scene outside my brother-in-law’s home in Spokane, Washington over Veteran’s Day weekend, in mid-November. We expected the temperatures to be cold there, but this was the first snowfall of the season and it arrived early for this area.
This poor daffodil was unexpectedly snowed upon in early May in South Lake Tahoe. The day before was a warm, sunny day as we left Sacramento. The snow started in the early afternoon and covered the ground for several hours. And to think I entertained the idea of bringing my stand-up paddleboard along!
Whatever your feelings for snow scenes and all things frozen, the subject matter makes for beautiful photos!
“Only mountains can feel the frozen warmth of the sun through snow’s gentle caress on their peaks” ― Munia Khan
This week, show us your version of frozen for Sunday Stills!
My sympathies to all who are enduring freezing weather conditions. Stay warm and safe!
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
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.
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!