Trip To Hardin – Day 20

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Our first stop in Sedona today was a trip to the Chapel of the Holy Cross.   An architectural wonder!  There is lots to read on it’s history on Wikipedia but nothing prepares you for actually seeing this wonder.  Or at the very least, the views from the chapel.   We didn’t take any pictures of the interior out of respect for those who were praying inside.

Airport Mesa Trail

Afterwards we drove up to the Sedona Airport (KSEZ) and walked about 1/4 of the airport loop trail.  The trail circumnavigates the runway down on the side of the mesa and provides stunning views of the red rocks surrounding Sedona.  There is a parking lot just outside the airport where you can park for $3.00.  However, (pro tip) you can continue just past that lot and you come to the airport parking lot which is free and only adds about 100 steps to your hike.

The trail drops one or two hundred feet before joining up with the main loop trail.  It’s VERY rocky so watch your step.  Otherwise it’s an easy hike.  Down at the airport loop trailhead there is a rock with a trail and steps leading to the top of it.  It’s called the Sedona Trail View Point on Google.  Think mini-Half Dome.  We climbed to the top of that and found the most stunning views of Sedona.   The airport loop trail was a let down after this rock

After eating lunch at the top of the rock we headed back up the trail to the airport.  The downhill hike we had enjoyed had now turned into a longer uphill hike.  Luckily I found a shortcut to the airport frontage road which cut a lot of time off our hike.  We found the airport terminal to use some CLEAN restrooms and then headed back down to town.

Just when we thought we were done taking pictures…

Tomorrow is our last day in Sedona.  We’re going to go back to our favorite places in town (which will most likely include Starbucks) and just chill.




Trip To Hardin – Day 19


This is the grand finale of our trip.  We have wanted to visit Sedona for years and finally we are here.  Today was tourist day.  We stopped at some of the scenic overlooks on the way into town but mostly spent our time on tourist row.  “Indoor hiking” as Cristy calls it.  We bought some gifts for family and continued to take in the magnificent views of the cliffs.  Tomorrow we’ll do some outdoor hiking.  For now, enjoy the photos we took…

And in town I saw this statue which I’m including in homage to the folks I work with at San Joaquin General Hospital.


More pictures of Red Rock Country tomorrow…


Trip To Hardin – Day 18

Travel Day

Today was the shortest travel day yet.  Only about an hour.  We traveled from Flagstaff down to Camp Verde, AZ.  After a little up and down hill driving there was a long 5 – 6% grade drive (18 miles) down into the Verde Valley.  We stopped at a scenic overlook prior to tackling the long downgrade.

We are staying at Distant Drums RV Resort.   They were gracious enough to let us arrive before normal check in time and were really helpful in taking us to our spot and guiding me into the back-in spot.


We don’t have many pictures from today but expect some really good pictures from Sedona tomorrow.


Trip To Hardin – Day 17

Flagstaff, AZ


img_20191007_143929Today we spent the day strolling around downtown Prescott.  We checked out their visitors center which is built into an Amtrak station.  Far more freight trains went past than passenger trains.  The we strolled around the downtown area.  It reminded us very much of San Luis Obispo on the California coast.  Probably because this is a college town just like SLO.  We found a Thai restaurant and ate lunch there.

Lowell Observatory

Afterwards we headed up to Lowell Observatory.  We paid the admission and strolled around the observatory looking at the various buildings and exhibits.  They, like I, very much hold that Pluto is INDEED a planet.  Pluto was discovered at the Lowell Observatory.  Pluto and Mars both fascinated Lowell and there are many Pluto and Mars themes throughout the grounds.  Except for the library, it’s Saturn-themed because Lowell’s wife loved the planet Saturn.  Lowell is entombed onsite.  There is an amazing view of Prescott from his mausoleum.

Then we headed back home, hitting Starbucks on the way.  Our home, our Lance 1995 travel trailer which we have nicknamed, “Little House on the Highway.”

Tomorrow we head down to Sedona, AZ.



Trip To Hardin – Day 15 and 16

Travel Day – Saturday

This was a good travel day.  It was only an hour and a half drive to our destination in Flagstaff, AZ.  On our way we decided to swing through Winslow so I could see the “Standin’ on the Corner” statue.

Standin’ On The Corner

As we approached the “corner” with our travel trailer in tow we saw that that street was blocked off up ahead.  I found a large gravel lot next to the Winslow Visitor’s Center and parked there.  We walked two blocks to where the road was closed and found they were having a vintage car show and had blocked the streets off.  Lots of really nice restored cars from the 40’s through the 70’s were there.  And eventually we made it to “Standin’ On The Corner”.


J and H RV Park

We had lunch in the gravel lot in the trailer and then moved on to Prescott to J & H RV Park.  A really nice little ’55 and over’ park.  It’s quiet and shady and no smoking allowed!  We love that part.  We’ll be here for three nights.



Lord’s Day – Sunday

This morning we slept in and then I cooked Cristy breakfast.  Scrambled eggs with shallots, onion salt, and Thai lime chile seasoning.  I also fried her some bread in butter on our skillet. After breakfast we went to a local church, Grace Community Church.  Then we went and got coffee at Starbucks, and grocery shopping at Sprouts.  Afterwards we headed back to the trailer and just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

Tomorrow, shopping in downtown Flagstaff and whatever else strikes our fancy.

Trip to Hardin – Day 13

Travel Day

Today we slept in and slowly got the trailer ready to go.  It was a short drive from Grants, NM to Hollbrook, Arizona.  We stopped in at the OK RV Park.  It’s kind of dated but all still in good working order.  Including the park staff.

Not much happened on the way.  The wind was at our backs and we were at the park by 11:30pm.  We decided to use to today to catch up on Internet stuff; email, updating blogs, etc.  Tomorrow we’ll explore the petrified forest and see what else we can find here in Hollbrook.

Trip to Hardin – Day 12

Turnaround decision revisited…

I didn’t get to update the blog yesterday due to lack of Internet.  We had to stay at a KOA in Grants due to there being no room anywhere near Albuquerque because of the balloon festival.  This KOA had very poor WiFi and I can understand why.  We also had poor data reception on our cell phones.  Verizon was showing only a couple of bars of LTE, no 3G or 4G.  So… it was slow, even on our phones.

Before talking about the Grants area, let me catch you up on our travel day.  Here is why we were unable to continue.  The line of thunderstorms stretched from El Paso, TX all the way up to Minnesota.  It was a slow moving line as well.    This is what we would either have to drive through or delay for.  We didn’t have time to delay our trip and be able to make it back to work in time.  So, we turned around and headed to…screenshot_20191001-070951

Grants, New Mexico

As it turns out, Grants was a wonderful place to stop for two reasons, the Western New Mexico Aviation Heritage Museum and El Malpais National Monument.

Western New Mexico Aviation Heritage Museum

This museum is a restoration of two forms of aviation infrastructure, now both largely gone.  The first and foremost reason I wanted to visit this museum is it’s exhibit on vintage airway beacons.  In many places throughout the country people have stumbled on mysterious concrete arrows and wondered what they were for.  At this museum they have completely restored the concrete arrow and the lighted beacon tower it supported.  As well as the generator sheds that accompanied these towers to power them.  These beacons lighted the way for early airmail aviators so they could continue to fly the mail at night.  There were literally hundreds of these arrows and towers across the country.   The museum is only open on Saturdays so we took the outside walking tour.  There are free pamphlets you can grab that talk about the outdoor exhibits and the history.  This was one of the stops I was most looking forward to.


Grants, New Mexico

If you’ve ever seen the movie Cars, think “Radiator Springs” and you pretty much have Grants.  Still it was fun to drive down the main drag and look for remnants of her Route 66 glory days.  We stopped at AutoZone to buy a new tire pressure gauge.  Then we stopped at a touristy little spot to take a picture.



El Malpais National Monument

After visiting the museum we decided to check out El Malpais (literally, The Badlands in Spanish).   El Malpais is a hugh lava field created by volcanic erruptions.  Spanish explorers named it El Malpais due the fact that it was impassible for their horses.  The terrain is literally littered with razor sharp chunks of black lava.  They had to find a way around.  Other than some Indians that lived in the area the place was largely abandoned for thousands of years.

We drove out into the park and stopped at an area with some sandstone bluffs.  This turned out to be the hidden gem in all of Grants.  Here is a taste of the sandstone bluffs:


We drove a little farther down the road and stopped at La Ventana, a large natural arch.  It’s a nice easy hike, only about 10 minutes from the parking lot.

Afterwards we drove back and had dinner back at our trailer.  And enjoyed a beautiful New Mexico sunset thanks to the storms passing by to the east.


All in all our decision to turn around was a good one.  We saw some things we may not have had time for otherwise.


Trip To Hardin – Day 11


There is a term in aviation known as “getthereitis”.  It means that you are in such a hurry to get some place that you tend to ignore warning signs or go against your better judgement.  In most cases it is when a pilot is trying to get home.  It my case it would be trying to get to Hardin, Missouri.  IF I had getthereitis.  And I don’t.

Therefore we are cancelling the remainder of our trip to Hardin and slowly making our way home.  The simple reason is that weather is not cooperating.  A line of thunderstorms is making it’s way through Kansas.  It runs from El Paso, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota.   Here is what the National Weather Service has to say:

This hazardous weather outlook is for portions of central...south
central...southwest and west central Kansas.

.DAY ONE...Today and tonight.

Day 1 Discussion

Periods of rain throughout the day could cause flash flooding
especially in river basins and low lying areas as 1 to 2 inches of
rain with locally higher amounts possible. A few storms this
afternoon could turn severe especially around the I-70 corridor
with gusty winds the main threat.

Flash floods and gusty winds.  Nope.  Already dealt with that on this trip.  It will only last a day or two but it’s a day or two I don’t have time for.  We would not be able to make it to Hardin and back in the time allotted for this trip.

We turned back west and stopped off in Albuquerque for some shopping at Trader Joe’s and some lunch.   We continued on to a KOA in Grants, New Mexico.  This is fine as it will let me visit the Airways museum that I didn’t get to see on our trip out.  We have a full day in Grants tomorrow.  I’ll let you know what fun there is to be had in Grants.

Trip To Hardin – Day 10

Day of rest

Yesterday, we had Plan A, B, and C for today:

Plan A: Go to Valles Caldera and visit Longmire’s Cabin.  7 hours round trip plus whatever time we spent there.

Plan B: Go to Santa Fe and see the sights.  3 hours round trip plus whatever time we spent there.

Plan C: None of the above.  Stay home and do laundry.  Relax.  Listen to the whispering pines.

We went with Plan C.  After sleeping in we had breakfast and then went and

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did laundry.  We walked around the park for a bit.  Drove to the ranch up the road and admired the scenery.  Then we folded the laundry and had lunch.  Afterwards I took a nap.  Then I checked the tire pressures in the truck, but no before running over my favorite tire pressure gauge.  HULK SMASH!

Cristy started making some Chile Verde and has asked me to watch it while she takes a nap.  Which is what I’m doing now.  God commanded that we take a day of rest for a reason and I’m so glad I followed His command today.  We really needed the downtime.  I also used the time to prepare for our drive up into Kansas tomorrow.  The forecast calls for thunderstorms so this ought to be interesting.  We’ll spend two days getting across Kansas to our ultimate destination, Hardin, Missouri.


Trip to Hardin – Day 9

Longmire Tour

Well after a crazy travel day we decided to rest a little on this Sunday.  Our only plan was to drive back into Las Vegas to buy some groceries, get some gas, and check out some of the Longmire filming locations there in town.

We found Plaza Park which is where the “Absaroka County Sheriff” from Longmire was.  They still have the name on the door.  Note that we are in Las Vegas, New Mexico, not Durant, Wyoming.


The building is fronted with shops and city offices upstairs.


Other interesting facts about Las Vegas, NM, it was a major stop on the Santa Fe Trail.  In fact, one of the last stops.  Santa Fe is just over the mountains from Las Vegas.

Afterwards we drove to a nearby WalMart Supercenter to do some grocery shopping.  Beforehand we listened to our church, Big Valley Grace, online on my phone.  My daughter prays piano in the praise band so it was nice to see her as well.

After we went shopping we stopped at K-Bob’s Steakhouse for lunch.  There isn’t a lot else in Las Vegas aside from Mexican restaurants or steakhouses.  As it was the food was pretty good.  Cristy got grilled salmon over rice and I got a bacon cheddar burger.  Let’s just say I didn’t need to eat dinner that night.  Then we headed back.

That was pretty much the extent of our day other than some star gazing that night.  Couldn’t get a picture of the stars but trust me, on a moonless night you can see just about every star in the sky from here.  Pendaries RV Resort is a great place to come get away from it all.  If you’re ever near Las Vegas, NM I highly recommend it.