Friday, March 23, 2007

Prescott – out came my sweaters!

No, winter isn’t over yet. Shorts are back in the cabinet, sweaters are back out.

I left Laughlin on Sunday morning (Mar. 18); my destination was Prescott, via Kingman and I-40. I had studied the map to find what appeared to be a pretty direct way to Kingman. Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – I missed a turn and by the time I realized it, I had gone about 35 miles on the wrong road. A stop at a gas station on Hwy 95 (yes, I DO ask for directions) got me turned around and headed back to Laughlin and I-40. I found out that the road that looked so good on the map actually involved a curvy and steep route before ending in Kingman.

Other than that, my trip was great – I always enjoy driving through northern Arizona. As I drove through the farming/ranching community of Chino Valley I thought about what it would have been like to have lived there. In 1959 as my husband and I finished up our teaching degrees at Arizona State College (now called Northern Arizona University) in Flagstaff, he had offers to teach at Chino Valley and at St. Johns (both in northern Arizona). He chose St. Johns.

Arriving in Prescott, I easily found the Elks Lodge and settled into one of their RV spaces. The next three days would be busy ones – visiting with my elementary school friend, two sisters, and a nephew, his wife and precocious 2+ year-old daughter. All too soon it was time to continue on my adventure.

Flexibility Rules!

After three delightful days at Prescott, I left at noon on Thursday and headed east – looking straight into a dark stormy sky. When I got to I-17, it didn't look any better to the east, so I went south.

I had planned to spend a few days at Fool Hollow State Park (northeastern Arizona). My gut feeling was to skip this and go straight to Roper Lake State Park (southeastern Arizona). I skirted Phoenix; storm clouds were to the south. As I turned east on Highway 60 the rain hit full force, making visibility low. I left the freeway and waited it out – reading and enjoying a cup of hot tea – at a parking lot. The rain was accompanied by lightning. When it let up, I got back on 60 and continued east - keeping an eye to the southeast.

A few miles later pulled off again at Apache Junction to calculate miles/time to Roper Lake and realized I couldn't reach it before dark. Time to change plans again. I parked – dry camped – at the Apache Junction Elks Lodge for the night. Rain poured down shortly after I hooked up and continued off and on all night. Cat was delighted to have me all to herself! She barely left my lap as I finished reading the biography of Douglas MacArthur.

I left early this morning to continue to Roper Lake. The stormy sky let me know to expect more rain – just what the weather forecaster said. And the wet desert fragrance was a treat. I was tempted to pull off the highway and go out for a desert hike – but I was eager to get to Roper Lake and hooked up.

I’m looking forward to three days here at Roper Lake – there will be plenty of time for hiking, bird watching and soaking in the natural hot spring.

Here’s your thought for the day. It was written by Douglas MacArthur in the later years of his life:

“Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul …You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair…When…your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then and then only are you grown old…”