A quick trip to Page, Arizona

We had a one-day stop in Page, Arizona, with our friends Tom and Ellen, and certainly made the best of a rainy day, with a quick trip between storms to see Horseshoe Bend Overlook and tour Lower Antelope Canyon.  The scenery was spectacular, even if the weather was not co-operating.

HORSESHOE BEND OVERLOOK

Horseshoe Bend Overlook is where the Colorado River makes a 270 degree bend around the rocks in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  I’ve seen many photographs of this area, but never really knew where it was.  The orange rock is Navajo Sandstone.

After you park and walk up a small hill, you are greeted with this view.  If you look closely, you can see dozens of people in the middle right of the picture.

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All those people were looking at this:

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Horseshoe Bend Overlook

If you look really close at the above picture, down at the bottom of the middle, you may notice a couple of yellow kayaks.  Here is a zoomed in photo:

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Yes, there were people tent camping right on the bend.  And, there is even an outhouse down there (not sure who gets to clean that!).  I think this would be an amazing spot to kayak and tent camp overnight at.  Not sure if this requires a special permit or not.

Even though they charge $11.00 for parking, it is definitely worth a stop to see this overlook…even in the rain!

LOWER ANTELOPE CANYON TOUR

We were scheduled for a late afternoon tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, but it was cancelled due to the rain.  Flash flooding is a serious concern, and several people were killed a few years ago when the canyon flooded before they could get out.  This is why the only way to enter the canyon now, is with a guided tour.  Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the next morning.

Lower Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, made out of Navajo Sandstone.  The tour takes about one hour, and you will walk approximately one mile.  There are stairs leading down into the canyon, and back out of the canyon.  In between, you have many slots to pass through.  It’s not recommended for people who are claustrophobic, but the beauty of the canyon may keep your mind off the fact that you are in a small space.  My photos really do not do justice to the colors of the sandstone.

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Going down into the canyon

There are many narrow passages…

 

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Lots of different formations made over time by the wind and water coming through the canyon…

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The light shining down from above, creates different shades of color throughout the day…

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Canyon Arch

Before they added stairs, visitors would climb up the rocks using the gouges in the rocks shown below.

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We had a great time during our all too brief visit to Page.  There are many things to do in the area, and we are considering stopping back in the fall on our way back to Arizona.  But work beckons, so we had to keep going on our journey.  Stay tuned…

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Dan, Jonell, Ellen and Tom

Quote for the Day:  “All the lessons are in nature.  You look at the way rocks are formed – the wind and the water hitting them, shaping them, making them what they are.  Things take time, you know?” – Diane Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sedona: visiting a Chapel and a Castle

We have arrived in Moran, Wyoming for our summer work camping job at Luton’s Teton Cabins.  I still have to finish up on our posts about our drive up to the Tetons from Arizona.  Today’s post will finish up our brief trip to Sedona, Arizona, where we visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and Montezuma Castle.

CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS

The Chapel was inspired and funded by a local artist, Marguerite Brunswig Staude, and completed in 1956.  She wanted to build the Chapel as a monument to faith.  The view of the Chapel is impressive, approximately 250 feet tall.

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Chapel of the Holy Cross

St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Sedona runs the Chapel, and holds Taize Prayer services on Monday evening.  That is the only service that is held in the Chapel on a regular basis.  Weddings are permitted, but many restrictions apply.  A small parking lot is at the base of the Chapel, and there is a long, winding walkway up to the entrance.

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Walkway to Chapel entrance

The view of the area is stunning.

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Parking lot and surrounding scenery

The interior of the Chapel is small, and there is a gift shop in the basement.

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The Chapel is a stunning place to visit, say a prayer, and remember loved ones.  The plaque by this angel states “And He shall give his angel charge over you to keep you in all ways.”

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MONTEZUMA CASTLE

South of Sedona, in Camp Verde, is Montezuma Castle National Monument.  Between 1100 and 1300, Southern Sinagua farmers built a five-story dwelling into a cliff about 100 feet above the valley floor.  It is believed the building had a total of 45 rooms.   The Castle became a national monument in 1906, and up until the 1950’s,  visitors were able to climb up ladders to view the Castle up close.

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The bushes in front of the cliff are the Creosote Bush, among the oldest plants on Earth.  Creosote has been used to treat everything from toothaches to chicken pox.

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A 45-room “Castle”

They believe this area was chosen due to it’s close proximity to water, and native vegetation that they could live off of.  Beaver Creek is just a few hundred yards from the cliff.

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Beaver Creek

After the park service discontinued letting people climb up 100 foot tall ladders to view the Castle up close, they built this diorama so visitors could get a better idea of what life was like in the Castle.

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For the past several years, I have been getting “stamps” at all the places operated by the  National Park Service that we visit.  Our friend Ellen decided that was a great way to keep a record of the places that her and Tom visit, and she purchased her own National Parks Passport book.  Here is Ellen getting her very first stamp of Montezuma Castle!  This year they also have a 100th anniversary stamp of the death of Teddy Roosevelt, in addition to the regular stamps.

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Quote for the Day:  “Travel makes one modest.  You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

A quick trip to Sedona

After a relaxing week at Pueblo El Mirage RV and Golf resort in El Mirage, Arizona, we headed north to Camp Verde, Arizona, where we met up with our friends Tom, Ellen, Kathy and Steve.  They are on their way to the West Yellowstone, Montana area for their summer jobs.  We stayed at Distant Drums RV Resort, a very nice park, and conveniently located to everything we wanted to see.  There are so many things to see and do in northern Arizona, that we may have to consider a summer work camping job here just to see everything!  (it’s at a higher elevation, so the temperatures are not so hot in the summer).

We took a drive up to Sedona (about 15 miles north of Camp Verde) and did a short hike to view Cathedral Rock from Oak Creek Park.

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Steve, Kathy, Ellen, Tom, Dan and I

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Cathedral Rock in Sedona

 

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old pump house and water wheel

The trail winds around Oak Creek river, and many people have stopped to stack rocks, which is called cairns.

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Cairn rocks

We did attempt to watch a sunset over the rocks in Sedona.  The sunset itself was a bit of a dud that night, but the color changes on Thunder Mountain were nice.

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Thunder Mountain before sunset

 

As the sun was setting….

 

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Long shadows, followed by the rocks lighting up from the setting sun…

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Dan decided to photo bomb my sunset pictures!

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Stay tuned, more to come from Sedona

Quote for the day:  “Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.” – Mattie Stepanek

 

Winter work camping is done!!

We have finished up our 6 months of work camping at Westwind RV and Golf Resort in Yuma, Arizona!  It was our longest work camping job that we have done since we started our journey in 2013.  And we’re going to do it again (for 1 more year) this fall!  This season, Dan and I both worked 3 days a week, Thursday – Saturday.  Dan worked 24 hours each week, on the golf course. In exchange, we received our full hook-up site, including all utilities, for free.  I worked in the office, for minimum wage (currently $11.00/hour in Arizona) averaging about 28 hours/week.

In total, I made approximately $8,000 for the 6 months of work (I haven’t received my last paycheck yet, so I don’t have the exact gross pay figures).  Our expenses were minimal, as we did not have to pay anything for 6 months of rent/utilities.  Laundry was not included, and we spent $225.00 at the on-site laundry facility in the park.  We probably could have found a cheaper laundromat, but the convenience of walking to the facility outweighed the expense.  But the real benefits of being in one spot for so long is all the wonderful people that you meet.  Dan enjoyed working with the full-time year round staff on the golf course and in the maintenance department.  I had great co-workers that made the job fun (shout out to Lori and Roy!!), and a very patient office manager, Kathy.  We never seemed to stop learning…

This fall, Dan will only be working 16 hours/week, 3 days a week.  In exchange, we will receive our site for free, but will have to pay for electric/utilities.  He requested this, because he often finished up his work by lunch, and had to spend the afternoon making “busy work.”  Being a former math teacher, he ran the numbers, and it wasn’t worth working 32 extra hours per month to cover electric/utilities.  It amounted to getting paid just over $4/hour.  I will be back in the office, and the minimum wage in Arizona is set to increase to $12/hour next January.  So that’s a nice perk, as most winter jobs do not pay.

In addition to having a positive experience at Westwind, we decided to come back for several other reasons.  We are planning on going to Alaska in 2020, but not to work, just to play tourist.  Having an income over the winter season will help to offset the loss of income in the summer.  Also, we really enjoyed getting together with our friends Dave and Marilyn.  It was a pleasant surprise when we found out they had moved to the Yuma area and next season our friends Tom and Ellen will be joining us as well.  Tom will work in Guest Services (helping to park RV’s, read electric meters, and whatever else is needed) and Ellen will be in the mail room.  In exchange for their hours, they will receive their site for free, including utilities, and a voucher which they can use at the onsite restaurant, golf shop, and concert tickets (only the office is a paid position).

It took 6 months, but I finally saw my first rattlesnake and roadrunner at the end of March, while playing golf with Dan, Roy and Lyle (who is from Canada and rented a park model a few doors from us).

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A zoomed in view, as it was much smaller (thankfully) than I expected!

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Needless to say, you must keep the ball in the fairway!

It was hard to get a photo of the roadrunner, so this is a bit blurry.  They move fast, and are not as big as I imagined (must have been all those cartoon road runners I watched growing up….beep beep!)  And yes, they can fly, but usually just run around.

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I’m not sure what I prefer, dealing with alligators while golfing in Florida, or rattlesnakes in Arizona.  I think I’ll stick with the safest alternative, Max.  He doesn’t bite!

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What’s next?

We have a month to wander around until we start our summer job, back at Luton’s Teton Cabins.  We spent a week near Phoenix at Peublo El Mirage Golf and RV resort (very nice), just relaxing, and are now near Sedona for a few days.  We have met up with Tom and Ellen and Steve and Kathy who are all on their way to West Yellowstone for their summer work camping jobs.  I will have a new post about the Sedona area in the not too distant future.

I’m not sure what the name of this cactus is, but it was in full bloom at the RV park in El Mirage.  We were told it only blooms for one day each year.  Since we were leaving the park the next morning, I was not able to go back and verify if the flowers were still in bloom.  It was beautiful though!

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Quote for the day:  “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

Yuma Territorial Prison

We have finished up our work camping in Yuma, and have moved on to the Phoenix area for a week of relaxation.  I will do a final post on our work camping experience, but I wanted to finish up on our Yuma posts first.  We always enjoy visiting museums and historical sites, and spent a few hours with our friends Dave and Marilyn visiting the old prison in town.

On July 1, 1876, the Yuma Territorial Prison opened its gates for the first time to prisoners, and continued to accept prisoners, both male and female, until it closed in 1909.  The last prisoners were transferred to the new Arizona State Prison in Florence, Arizona.

The prison has an interesting history, and is worth visiting if you are in the Yuma area.  Many of the original cell blocks remain, but a lot of the buildings and exterior walls have been demolished to make room for the railroad, or were destroyed in a fire.  This is a photograph of the prison complex when it was in full operation.  At the time, the Colorado River came right up to the rocks.

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The main guard tower was reconstructed on its original site.  The Sally Port remains intact, as well as the buildings behind it, which are not visible on this photo.

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Main Guard Tower

The Sally Port is where the prisoners entered/exited the prison.  It was large enough to hold a covered wagon, with both doors locked, for unloading the prisoners.

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Six prisoners were assigned to each cell, and in 1901, iron bunks were installed, since the wooden bunks became severely infested with bed bugs.

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Marilyn, Dave and Dan

This is the exterior of the six-person cell blocks.   The cage on the left is part of the “incorrigible” ward that was built in 1904, and consisted of five steel cages.

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When prisoners misbehaved, they were sent to the “dark cell,” where they endured 24 hours of darkness, along with snakes and bats.  As part of the guided tour, you go down the hallway into the dark cell, to experience what it was like.  As we discovered, the bats are still there…they didn’t like the flash photography (you can see a few in the photo on the right)

The Yuma prison was “co-ed”, and twenty-nine women spent time in prison (many for adultery).  They had a separate cell that was a bit “nicer.”

The prisoners, not surprisingly, hated the place, but the local community thought the prison was more like a country club.  The museum contains a lot of interesting information about the prisoners, life at the time, and a display of weapons.

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The Yumans perspective:

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The prisoners perspective:

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In 1910, the Yuma high school burned down, and classes were held in the prison from 1910 – 1914 while a new school was being built.  When the Yuma high school football team upset a team from Phoenix, those fans complained it was ‘criminal’ and the school decided to adopt the nickname “Criminals.”   That name remains in place today, and their mascot is the face of a hardened criminal.  It’s the only school in the country where you can rightfully call the students criminals!

Quote for the day:  “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” – Victor Hugo