Time and Time Again, Going NorthbyAzPilot©
An older couple go on a protracted road trip in northern Arizona, stopping here and there to see the sights and enjoy each other. Just slow, quiet sex and gentle love. It's best if you read the first two stories- Time and Time Again and Time and Time Again, Road Trip. This is pretty much how us "old folks" get along.
In spring, after it warmed up a bit, we talked more about going up north when it got hot down in the Phoenix area. Now there weren't many variables there, only ones perception of "warm" and "hot". To Kay and I, hot was over 100 degrees; a number that causes fatalities in the East but barely a sweat to folks that had lived in the desert for more than a couple of years. We also had to temper our decisions with the fact that North meant much higher elevations with colder temperatures for a longer period of time.
We decided to leave in May. We both checked over my Bounder motor home- me on the outside and the traveling gear, Kay on the inside, making sure we had a list for provisions as well as all the utensils she liked to normally use.
It's funny how time works. It seemed weeks ahead to the departure date, but then it arrived tomorrow. We loaded the few last minute things and took off. The first night we camped just north of Flagstaff, pulling off in the forest a bit and stopped. Quiet, cool and a smell of pine in the air. Oh my, what a combination. We enjoyed the evening and each other.
The next day we went up to Page, Arizona and looked at Lake Powell. We both remembered watching them build the dam there. We reminisced about Page, remembering a quickly thrown up town for the dam construction. When the dam was completed, the economy in Page practically ceased. We both joked that folks were selling waterdogs out the back door to get by. We pulled into an RV park for the uneventful night.
In the morning, we drove to Jacob's Lake, then south to DeMotte campground, about 16 miles north of the north rim of the Grand Canyon. It's one of my favorite spots. A small forest service campground with about 22 spaces. Near it are several forest roads leading to some great spots if you know about them. We were now at about 8,000 feet in elevation and almost cold. Those of you that are pilots know that air cools at an adiabatic rate, if no other factors enter in the equation. That rate is about 5 ½ degrees per 1,000 feet in rise of elevation and we had come up from 1,200 feet in two days. A little over 35 degrees cooler up there. It was great. We picked a site from an almost empty campground and set up. We walked around a bit to explore the immediate area then settled in for the evening. I even turned the furnace on to keep us warm. It would have been even nicer if the motor home had a fireplace but we had each other to keep us warm. It was nice to sit on the couch, listening to some music from the 60s and just cuddling while reminiscing about the music. Young people might have made a mad night of it, but that night we went to bed and fell asleep right away, a combination of the cool and the altitude causing that.
Coffee outside, in the morning watching deer in the campground while they browsed. It doesn't get any better than that. We stood there for about a half hour with an arm around each other, sipping our coffee and watching the deer. Kay hadn't been on any of the back forest roads before, so we drove on some of them, going quite a ways back into the forest. I hadn't been there in 7 or 8 years myself. I had taken a granddaughter with me to see the north rim. We had come up in the fall, just before the north rim closed for the winter and had encountered 4 inches of snow at the 8,000 feet level. This time the weather was perfect.
The next day, after breakfast, we drove down to the rim itself. We both liked to tourist watch. After buying the obligatory postcards to send to the kids, we addressed them and dropped them in the mailbox. At noon, we went into the dining room and had lunch. All the National Parks have great food with excellent service equal to that of many major resorts. The secret to eating at any big resort or National Park is to eat lunch. Dinners are priced sky high, but lunches are moderate with the same quality of food and service. I always take the opportunity to eat out whenever I'm in the vicinity of any nice place like that. Besides, they do the dishes.
How wonderful and romantic to dine next to a window overlooking the Grand Canyon. I see so many stories where the couple orders some kind of wine to go with their meal. I've never been that sophisticated to know what I should order and besides I don't like many wines anyway. Not sweet enough. The kids say that I'm such a sour old man that I need all the help I can get, so I should always order a sweet wine. For once, they have something right. I'm driving, anyway.
By the middle of the afternoon, most of the tourist busses have left and we head back to the campground for supper. For the rest of the week we did pretty much the same thing, exploring the forest and sometimes going to the rim for lunch. There's an old saying about a couple being as comfortable as a pair of old shoes. We're starting to get there by the time we were ready to leave. Speaking of time, it was time to move on in our travels.
We decided to go west, stopping for a visit at Pipe Spring National Monument, a relative unknown place that is a jewel. We toured there and then stayed the night in their campground. It was great getting to talk with the rangers as they not only worked there, they lived there in the summer also. We stayed up late talking and got some fantastic insights to the area as well as the monument itself as it was a way station in that area for many, many years. It was the only water for miles and a must stop for early travelers. The next morning we drove to Cedar Breaks, Utah, another small less frequented gem.
Cedar Breaks is a small 23 space campground with a view of an area identical to Bryce Canyon, but a much smaller area. A microcosm, as it were, but every bit as beautiful and with out busloads of tourists from all over the world crowding everywhere. The brilliant red and white formations are gorgeous. We were now at over 9,000 feet and cold. I've been there in July and found snow in the shade of the trees. Kay was overwhelmed at the sight. That evening we hardly needed the furnace to keep warm as she rewarded me for taking her there.
At night there were a couple of men that came out of their campers and set up their telescopes to study the stars. It seems that each year the meet there for this purpose as the conditions are as perfect as they can find. There is no city near enough to cause sky glow that interferes with their gazing. We kept them in hot coffee for a couple of nights and they, in turn let us view the sky through their scopes for a while. What a privilege.
About the fourth day, we decided we had had enough of the cold for a while and decided to go down the hill, so's to speak. We drove down to Cedar City, Utah, and then through Las Vegas, stopping only for some gas and supplies. Neither of us liked Vegas so we went on without the usual glitter stops. On down through pure D desert to Laughlin, Nevada, where we went across the Colorado River to the Katherine Landing campground. It's a beautiful spot on the Arizona side of the Colorado river, near the old Katherine mine. It was the highest place on the river that riverboats could go if the water was high enough. That was pretty much stopped when the Laguna Dam was built near Yuma.
We had been to Lake Mittry, back of the Laguna Dam on our previous shakedown cruise; now we were on the upper reaches of the navigable portion of the Colorado River. The campground is built on a semi-circle with several tiers going down to the water. Even without a boat, it's a great place to relax for a while. This is a popular campground and a great boating area, too, with a large launch ramp.
We settled if for a while and got to know some of our neighbors. We could go in to Bullhead City for perishables and there were water hookups at each site. We never said anything but they all thought we were married by the way we acted around each other. It was so easy and smooth. We just fit. I don't know any other way to describe it. We never argued. We didn't always agree but we talked it out. While we hadn't known each other for long, we had the advantage of being older and having been around the state for many years, knowing many people in common as well as having watched the state grow tremendously over the years. We were comfortable with the state, with camping and with each other. We were happy again. Best friends and lovers with an emphasis on old.
When I dropped her off at her house, a few days later, we hugged, kissed, laughed and talked about another trip soon. I can't describe the satisfaction I had as I parked and went into my house. We had laughed and loved and had a good time. With two verys.