Wind Storms, Another Beast & Cottonwood Outings
It’s been a full coupla days here in the boondocks. On Sunday afternoon the Big White Beluga rolled into town and joined us at our little spot in the wilds. It was a welcome reunion with much dog-licking and happy paw-play (that would be the dogs, not Sue & Dave), and the two “beasts” slotted easily into our spacious pad for the evening cocktail and meal. Very relaxing stuff all-around.
But Beluga brought some weather too. The next morning the winds started picking up and some serious dark grey clouds rolled over the mountains. We stubbornly braved the gusts for our morning coffee (which became more like café-a-dirt), but were subsequently forced inside for the rest of the day. It turned out to be a rock n’roll kinda day, with slides in, 50 mph gusts and spatterings of rain, but the show from inside the RV stayed cozy and warm. The event reminded me of the wild spring winds we encountered in New Mexico a few years back. Not much you can do except point your butt to the wind and wait it out…such is life sometimes.
Today it’s a tad chillier, but the crazy stuff is mostly gone and we’re winding down to our very last cocktails overlooking the valley. By this time tomorrow we’ll have said our last goodbyes to Beluga, given our last adieu to Arizona and be on the red soils of Utah.
But before I go I figured I’d round-up a few of our favorite outings in the Cottonwood area. This whole valley, part of the Verde Valley (Green Valley) has attracted people since the very first hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago. With its ready source of water, rich ore and mineral soils it’s seen steady development from early pueblo’s in the 1100’s, mining in the 1870’s to modern-day tourist attractions. Here’s some of our favs:
1/ Tuzigoot National Monument
Tuzigoot National Monument is an excellent example of an early Sinagua village. Built between 1125 and 1400 it contains more than 110 rooms and sits beautifully on a hill-top ~120 feet above the Verde Valley. It’s just one of the many ancient pueblos in the area, but it was carefully excavated and remains rather well-preserved. Plus the museum has some very nice exhibits too. A really fun outing to learn about early cultures & settlements in the area. Definitely worth the visit.
A historic hillside town sprung from the discovery of vast deposits of copper in the late 1870’s. It grew from mining boom and ~15,000 people in the 1920’s to only 50 people and near ghost-town status by the mid 1950’s. The development of a State Park and pressure to preserve the heritage gave the town another start and it’s now a well-loved tourist stop. The old buildings weave their way up Cleopatra Hill (a fittingly lavish name) and there’s plenty of good food, wine and mining history to keep you occupied. Jerome doesn’t have the cool hippy culture of Bisbee (it’s much more gentrified/touristy than that), but it’s still got some nice appeal. In our 2 trips into town we had some excellent Mexican food at 15.Quince and a delicious coffee at the teeny Flatiron. Worth a stop for sure!
3/ Cottonwood, Verde River & The Wine Trail
Cottonwood is only ~5 miles from our boondocking site and boasts a cool old town downtown, a lovely State Park and multiple access points to the Verde River. The latter winds it way through the entire valley (and far beyond) and provides lots of neat little picnic areas, paddle trips and (most importantly for us) doggie-splash moments. As a nice little side-attraction for those of us with a nose for grapes, there’s the Verde Valley Wine Trail. There seems to be no end of wine-tasting rooms around town, plus there’s even a winery within biking distance from our boondocking spot…no need to drive, baby!
That’s my quick and rough round-up of the area. There’s plenty more, of course including all of wonderful Sedona (which we visited a few years back), lovely Flagstaff and tons of interesting spots in the surrounding forests, but there’s only so much a boondocker can get around to. We’ve simply loved our winter in Arizona, but we’re looking forward to the next part of the voyage. See you in the red rocks of Utah!
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Nice write-up and of course, more great photos. I was unaware of the beautiful ruins in the area. That is well worth the visit alone, for me anyway. Looking forward to your Utah posts and pics. Have fun and be safe. 🙂
I love old Pueblo ruins. Actually there are many more in the area. Montezuma Castle is pretty close, plus there are lots of unofficial ruins around the valley. Cool stuff.
John and Pam Wright says
So glad you were able to get in one more visit with Sue, Dave, Lewis, and Sasha! Polly isn’t going to understand why Lewis doesn’t appear in a few weeks!
Hope to catch you in Utah!
I know! The dogs just don’t see the point in all this travel. Why not stay here where we’ve got plenty of space and good friends? Dog logic makes so much sense.
Hope to see ya in Utah too.
That cold wind was nasty up here also and I hear some snow fell even further north where it’s not quite spring yet. Your views there are gorgeous and the area offers so much. I actually remember Jerome before it became touristy. Well not way back in the mining days. 😉 Be careful out there on the road.
I’ve heard from many folks who remember the “old” Jerome. I gather it had quite the funky vibe once. It’s mostly tourist stuff now, but still has a nice appeal and is well worth the visit. Still, I kinda wish I could turn back the clock and see it as it once was.
The Lowe's RV Adventures says
I can relate to those nasty winds. We had ours while at Lone Pine and Alamagordo which made me feel we are about to roll over. Sedona and Jerome are cool towns but never been to Cottonwood so we might check out your sites when we are back to AZ someday.
I think you guys would love it here. Good boondocking, nice town and lots to see and do. Really fun spot!
Jerry and Suzy says
Glad you are still enjoying our beautiful state, even with the wind and lowering temperatures!
Yeah what’s up with this last-minute chill?! We’re already seeing some nice warm sun today so ready for those good temps to come back. Have totally enjoyed AZ. Can’t believe we’ve been here almost 3 months!
It’s great reading your blog in all ways! I have one question for you, where are the dogs during your tour of Jerome and the restaurants?
Have a great Utah trip.
The dogs stayed in the rig. Temps are fine right now, but we always leave the air on (to trigger at a given temp) and auto-generator start just in case. These past few days it’s been a tad chilly, but otherwise fine for the paws.
jil mohr says
Have a great time in Utah….the winds were ferocious here in Tucson/Benson….also thick fog and a bit chilly..I loved the Cottonwood area …see you next time….
I was watching those wind forecasts down in Benson while we were swaying up here. You definitely got quite the beating!
American Gypsy Gibberish says
Another awesome post – thanks! I think I may need a special section in my notebook just for “Wheeling it” recommendations. Every time I read one of your reviews about the boondocking sites you’re enjoying I want to hitch up and head out! We’ve been stuck in RV parks since December of last year due to work commitments and we are sooo ready to get back off the grid! Thanks again – safe travels! 🙂
Well here’s hoping you get back to wilds soon! Thanks for following along on our adventure!
Good way to end a long visit to AZ – good friends, food, possibly a drink or two too…
Our first run down to Sedona from Prescott, in our toad CRV, we were surprised to see a traffic back up as we climbed down the hill towards Jerome. We got around a curve, and could see the problem ahead. A gent in a 45′ coach, with what looked like a 18′ double car stacker enclosed van painted to match is rig – was working backwards/forwards trying to navigate the hairpin turn.
He got it done, but we watched for about 3 mins as he did this jockeying. We stopped in town, and another person told us he had been in that curve for about 20 minutes. Said he got out of the coach, and claimed he ‘could not do it’… Another person went and talked with him to give him some tips on what/how to do it. And apparently also suggested he READ THE SIGNS and follow what they say next time…
Always remember that, and bought the Western Region book on Mountains and Roadways to pre plan our trips:)!
Travel safe to Utah, look forward to your upcoming pictures,
WOW!! A 45-foot coach on that road. I can’t even imagine. As we were driving up there we agreed that there neither of us would try it in the coach. Just waaaay too crazy a road.
And yes, we use out Western Region Mountain Book all the time. An important resource for any big-rig RVer!
Terry M says
Oh yeah, Utah comingup!! Utah is one of my favorite states for photography. Will be waiting for the photo’s!
We made it!! Our first red rock photo is coming soon!
Your photo’s are always great.
“And yes, we use out Western Region Mountain Book all the time. An important resource for any big-rig RVer!”
Now that’s an interesting sounding book… where have I been….driving around without this treasure.
I tried to find this book with a google search to no avail. Could you please clarify the book name and maybe ISBN.
It’s called the “Mountain Directory West”. Here’s a link:
Reading about the winds battering the beasts made me wonder: how often are there ever any serious RV weather-related accidents? I’d be curious to read a blog entry one day, about some more serious mishaps (not necessarily yours, of course!) and your tips and suggestions for avoiding them!
It doesn’t happen often, but sadly there are cases where RVs have been totaled by weather. In fact here’s a recent example:
One of the things we try to do to avoid this is keep an eye on forecasts in the area we’re planning to visit. Plus have a weather radio. It doesn’t cover all eventualities, but it helps.
This post was like a blast from the past for us. Safe travels to Utah.
Yeah we thought of you guys a lot when we were there. Raised our glasses to you a few times too!
We look forward to your adventures in Utah. Guess we will just live the nomad life vicariously through you two for awhile. Take care. 🙂
Jacquelin Leonard says
Referring back to your post from May 2011, you indicated during heavy windsnyounhad your RV parked “Not much you can do except point your butt to the wind and wait it out…such is life ” with the rear to the wind. Is that because it might be a DP and more wight is at the rear?
I have a 27′ gasoline class A with engine in the front. Are you familiar with whether I point to the wind wind or away? I understand I would not wish to be in the cross wind, but was unable to find easy reference on the web as to whether the weight of the engine is more important versus the harsh effects of sand pitting the windshield and/or sand in the engine, and whether I should face the RV into the wind or away from the wind.
You know we just happen to like that direction since it keeps most of the noise in the back by our engine (and we spend most of the day upfront), but in truth either direction will work. Don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. The main thing is just to make sure you’re not broadside to the wind, otherwise you’ll be rocking and rolling like crazy.