RED BEAUTY

RED BEAUTY

Sedona, AZ January 26-29th 2017

 

Awe Sedona!  What a place of amazing red beauty.  As we were driving towards Sedona it seemed like these huge majestic red rocks sprang up out of nowhere.  The rocks were layered in a perfect ombre of colors.  The richest reds starting closest to the earth and fading in color the higher they got.

20170129_102236

20170128_122212

We found a wonderfully peaceful (and free) place to camp, thanks to dispersed camping in the National Forest. You can free camp for up to 14days in National Forest dispersed camping, its when you get into developed campsite with toilets and water that you have to pay.  There was no one around us and while it was a little chilly the rays of the sun helped warm our bones in the cold weather.  Xander loved the opportunity to be able to run free and explore the area even though it was very cold there was little snow in this area. The average temperature we have been in for a few weeks now have been a high of 40’s and low’s in the teens, I believe it got down to 17 degrees that night.

20170128_102820

20170128_103658

Driving through town to get to a trail-head, we were both in awe of how beautiful the town of Sedona is.  Lots of lovely shops line the streets that offer art, food, gifts, and physic readings. The town was literally in the middle of the National Park with hundreds of free trails on all the beautiful mountains surrounding all sides of the city. It was such a site, no matter what street you went down in the city there were great mountain backdrops to look at.

20170128_105336

Our first hike in Sedona was Cathedral Rock.  Cathedral Rock is a very popular place, and of course we were there on a Saturday.  Xander impressed us with his tolerance to people on this hike.  There is hope for him yet!  We hiked up as far as we could with Xander.  The hike started to get a little tough for him because of all the rock scrambling that was involved.  We enjoyed some people watching and took in the humbling view of the enormous rock formations in front of us.  We decided to walk around the base of the rock some then head back to the van for some lunch.  It was a perfect day!

20170128_130742

20170128_122930

20170128_114335

The next hike we did was The Devil’s Bridge.  We hit this hike first thing in the morning and it paid off. We did a drive by the day before and cars lined the streets well before the trail head parking.  There wasn’t much traffic when we got there just a handful of people, which made it that much more enjoyable.   This hike was a bit longer and a little harder but worth every step.  We had to walk along a dirt road for about 3 miles before we hit the trail-head. The trail itself was only .7 miles.  As we got closer to the “bridge” we came across a couple of waterfalls that were frozen in their tracks.  Frozen waterfalls are so amazing.  This hike required Xander to do a bit of rock climbing.  Most of it was step like, so we felt confident that he could handle it.  The Devil’s Bridge is a natural rock bridge.  It was a breath-taking view on top of the bridge, literally breath taking for Sarah.  You can’t help but wonder, how long did this take to form and when will it fall!  On the way, down Xander earned his rock climbing badge as he learned how to safely navigate the rocks.  We spent half the day on this hike then drove to town and found a little farmers market.  It was another perfect day!

20170129_101821

20170129_103938

When reflecting on our short time in Sedona, Sarah mentioned how peaceful and serine it felt just being there.  James thought it was interesting that she chose those words to describe it.  The reason he found it interesting is because he had read that Sedona was a vortex area.  A vortex is believed to be a special spot on earth where energy is either entering the earth or projecting out of the earths plane.  The Native Americans believe that spiritual transformation can occur more quickly here because the veils to other dimensions are thinner.  Whether you believe in that stuff or not it felt regenerating being there.

It is safe to say that, so far, Sedona is our favorite place in Arizona.  The area is beautiful beyond words.  The spirituality and culture of this place really inspires.  If you have the chance to visit one place in Arizona, make it Sedona!

Advertisements

Jackass

JACKASS!

January 14-23

Quartzsite, AZ

Blythe, CA

Oatman, AZ

Bullhead City, AZ

Laughlin, NV

Kingman, AZ

This blog is going to sum up a few stops that we made.  So, please bear with us!

On January 13 Sarah flew to Las Vegas from Phoenix to visit some friends. While Sarah was, in Vegas James went to Quartzsite, AZ.  There is an event there called Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR).  People gather for about two weeks out in the desert and hang out.  It is all about people who are doing some variety of what we are doing, whether it be in a van, RV, car, bike, tent.  Every morning there is a group “class” on various subjects.  They talked about things like solar systems, work camping, boon docking, help getting ideas on how others make this type of life work, etc.  It is really refreshing to see so many people gather with the same interest and willing to help complete strangers.  And there were a LOT of people there, close to 1,000!

Capture

GOPR0137

Once Sarah returned from Vegas we spent another night out there together then headed on to Blythe, Ca.  This was just a stop along the way to Laughlin.  We had this route for our plan to stop in Nevada to get the van registration switched over from California to Nevada.  Which didn’t happen!  As with most “perfect” plans, but oh well.  So, Blythe was a stop at the Blythe Intaglios (gravel pictographs).  These are best viewed from above because it is huge pictures etched in the ground.  We tried to take the drone up to get an aerial view but it was extremely windy so we took some lame selfies.

20170120_121922

20170120_124952

20170120_125047

20170120_123317

20170120_123342

After Blythe, we headed to Oatman, AZ.  On the way to Oatman we crossed the Colorado river and drove down to the river under the bridge.  We found some amazing artwork on the concrete pillars.  I was a cool random finding.  It looked like a tribute to today’s Native Americans.

DJI_0004

We also stayed the night in Lake Havasu.  They have a parked named Sara Park, we had to stop there!   There was a brewery, “Mudshark” that we wanted to visit.  They have great beer!  If you get the chance, try their Lunacy beer.

20170120_170527

Oatman is known for all the wild donkeys!  We found a great stop to camp for the night.  It really is a beautiful area.  James commented on how the peaceful solitude was exactly what he needed after two weeks of people everywhere in Quartzsite.  Not 20 minutes after that comment a big group of about seven or eight dune buggies zoom though the wash just below us!  Half of them decide to stop, get out and pee, and chat like high school girls.  They stayed for, what seemed like ages, but was probably only an hour.  After they finally zoomed off we had peace again.   As the sun was setting (a beautiful view) you James could hear the donkeys “talking”.  There was plenty of signs of donkeys out there.  By signs I, of course, mean Xander’s favorite snack, poop!  Thankfully he wasn’t too interested in tasting donkey poop.  Sarah really wanted to hear the donkeys talking and opened the van door to hear them.  In the process, set off the van alarm and scared them all.  Oops!

DJI_0017

Leaving our camp site James spotted these huge holes in the rocks.  The holes went all the way through.  Sarah climbed up on the other side of the hole and got a great picture of the van through the hole in the rock.

20170122_092207

We headed into town next.  Oatman is a neat place to check out.  It felt a little eerie the day that we visited.  The weather was a little gloomy and it is an old mining town.  It is damn near a ghost town.  There are still a few gold mines in the area.   Driving through town it was fun to see all the old buildings.  We also got to see a group of donkeys hanging out in front of one of the shops.  They were obviously regulars!  The women working at the shop were out front petting the two that were up on the patio.  I think there was a lack of Jack Asses due to the weather.  Usually that is a good thing, but we were hoping to get to see more.

20170122_094905

20170122_094720

20170122_093502

20170122_093933

Bullhead City was out next stop.  We needed to do boring stuff, like get an oil change and attempt to take care of the van registration business.  We must have gone back and forth across the river about 20 times.  Laughlin to Bullhead back to Laughlin back to Bullhead.  Sarah’s phone finally gave up trying to figure out the time zone.  It would be awesome if we just got rid of daylight savings!  Anyways, we got as far as getting the inspection done on the van and almost had the Nevada plates in our hands when we were told that we needed to get a smog inspection!  And of course, there aren’t any smog places in Laughlin.  Frustrated and annoyed we decided to say screw it and deal with it later.  On with our travels!

20170122_170301

Even though we didn’t get accomplished what we wanted to with the route that we had planned and we made the best of it.  We really recommend Mudshark beer and Oatman, AZ!  Now we are off to the Flagstaff area.  Hopefully we don’t freeze!

The Arizona Trail

By James and Sarah

 

The Arizona Trail

Superior AZ, 1/8/2017

 

So, after we left Tanque Verde falls we headed North to the Tonto National Forest to do some hiking, our first stop was the Picket Post Mountain Trail-head that was along on the Arizona Trail. The Arizona Trail is a 790-mile trail going through the entire state of Arizona from Utah to Mexico. The drive out was very nice, the scenery and the mountains were something else to look at.

20170108_12084420170108_121020

Driving up to the trail-head we noticed more than a few horse trailers, it turns out this trail is popular to horseback riders as well. We didn’t encounter any along our hike, thank god because Xander would have flipped out, he has yet to figure them out. He is still scared of cars and he sees them nearly every day. It turns out that the Picket Post trail has dozens of paths that you can take all around the mountain area, it was confusing on where to go since the trail-head map at the beginning did not show any variation in the trail itself. We even got lost once and ended off trail because the path we were following just ended.

different-trails20170108_131037

We walked on the trail for several miles as it steadily climbed upwards. Along the way, we ran into a bunch of hikers on their way down, including a guy with his dog off leash (not so fun with Xander, but a great training opportunity). Once again there were tons of cactus especially jumping cactus (they are everywhere), but I guess that’s the desert for you. Surprisingly Xander still has not gotten to learn what cactus is even though he has had several very close calls. Of other note, we also ran into a group of teenagers on their way down that had no idea what it means to stay on the trail, they just decided to go straight down the mountain and then had the nerve to talk about how they were not staying on trail like a bunch of rebels that they were.

catcus-on-the-trail

When we got to a point where the climb started going straight up we decided to call it far enough. Xander was acting very tired and overheated at this point anyways so we sat in the shade of a large rock for about an hour. Xander was catching his breath and being a princess by laying on Sarah’s lap he couldn’t even lay or sit down because of the dirt and rocks. Sarah was able to get her first flying lesson with the drone and got to fly it around for a while. After that we packed up and left.

20170108_13311320170108_141205

The hike was beautiful and strenuous (we didn’t go to the summit, but could have), we did break a good sweat and got Xander very tired. It was a good day.

Nudity In The Desert

Tanque Verde Falls

Tucson AZ   Jan 6th 2017

 

By James and Sarah

 

This hike started out with some fun knowledge that there is nudist in the area and it is possible to encounter naked people on the trail.

Tanque Verde Falls trail was about a 30-minute drive from Sarah’s sisters house.  It was a very beautiful drive.  We passed through a small stream that came across the road and saw a house that had a camel on their property.  Completely random!  After that the road became dirt.  Driving on this 3-mile dirt road was horrendous! It was a rough on the van.  There were three different trail-heads.  The main trail-head had a parking area.  We decided to drive up past that and found the trail that we decided to hike.  We were very pleased with that decision because the only people we ran into were a couple on our way out. Our adventure today was joined by Sarah’s cousin Marcia and her wife Nadia. We had been trying to get out and hike with them for almost a year. Love you guys!!

20170106_09442120170106_09452420170106_103041

The start of the trail there was a big yellow warning sign about not cliff jumping, and many hikers had written on the sign about nudity. A few turns later down the trail there was another posting that read “Clothing Optional Area”. We had joked around about walking naked in the desert with boots and a hat with all the cactus. The trail itself was easy to moderate, there were several areas that had an uphill to walk but other than that it was a very nice walk with great views and even a good overlook of the falls and the stream that makes a good selfie spot. Xander of course had hard time not being the leader of our troop, typical Xander. He also had a hard time resisting the smell of the cactus, knock on wood he did not learn the sting yet.

fb_img_1484158356852fb_img_1484159487591trail-with-xander

As we left the trail and landed on the beach (yep that’s right a beach in the desert) we were amazed at how beautiful and out place everything seemed. The beach was 50ft long by 20ft wide and felt and looked just like beach sand, perfect for some nude sunbathing. The stream had created a large pool of water at the beach and was actually quite deep as Xander found out on accident. So, we spent the next couple hours exploring the area and playing on the beach (Xander’s favorite part). During Xander’s beach exploring he found stinky human poop and decided to eat it (people please don’t poop on beaches, its not nice).  Luckily there was water to wash Xander off in, because he stank really bad. Sarah thought it would be cool to draw in the sand and take a few family pictures, she wrote: Tucson 2017.

beach-overlookxander-in-the-water20170106_111806

After pictures, goofing around on the beach, eating some poop, falling in the water, climbing over rocks, and flying the drone we decided to head back. The scenery, the company, the beach, and the stream left Sarah with a stamp on her brain as a lasting impression. Thanks for joining ladies!!

the-fallsfb_img_148415839461420170106_103551

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The big decision and a huge life change

By James

These past 8 months have been a whirlwind of emotions, stress and learning. Last June we were throwing around the idea of doing 2 completely different directions: 1 being small business owners and starting a truly organic Aquaponic produce supply, or we give everything up and start full time travel in a tiny home.

We threw around these ideas around for a few weeks discussing them and not really committing to anything for about a month, we knew a big change in our life was coming just not which one. This is where the excitement started.

We were 5 months into 2016 and already had in interesting year with moving from Vegas to northern California for my job, as well as working on creating an Aquaponic system in the garage that was self-sustainable and produced huge heads of yummy greens.

In the beginning of July, we decided that our time was almost already fully committed to our jobs and we had very little time to our self’s as it was and starting a business and running it successfully was going to take every little bit of time we could spare. This is when I came to realize that time was the most valuable thing in our existence and that we will never get more nor get any back that was wasted. I had already spent most of my life trying to work harder and longer than everyone else and to be successful. Every year it was the same discussion between Sarah and me: Just 1 more year of working hard and make a lot of money so that next year we can do something about it by changing. Ever since Sarah and I met we had always talked about living small, we had thrown around ideas of RV life (full size RV’s) and homesteading on a piece of property.

So, with the time realization and always saying next year, we decided to give up everything we had up and jump into a life of the risky and unknown. This was a huge life change for us and we talked about it a lot…. We were going to have to get rid of nearly everything we had, quit both of our jobs and go from making 170k+ a year between the 2 of us to almost nothing. All the money we needed would have to come from hustling while on the road. The more we talked about what we would have to do and what we would get from doing those things the more we got excited about doing it until we jumped head first into it by buying our Van.

We had looked at our options for weeks and we had talked about what we were willing to give up and what we would not give up. Being able to stand up in our van was a must have, there are plenty of people that live the van life style without standing up but that was just something we were not going to be able to live with daily especially with our 80-pound dog in the same space. We had decided that the Sprinter type van was what we needed. The Sprinter were very expensive though they started at 80k and all the used ones I could find were beaten to hell and had 100’s of thousands of miles on them. So, I started looking at Dodges and Fords since they make the same body type of vans. They were half the cost at 40k new but the used ones could be found at reasonable cost with low miles. One day while surfing vans at dealers in the Nor Cal market I ran across a van that met all my requirements (large wheel base, high top, low miles, newish, a solid bulkhead and no back windows) it had 12k miles and they were asking 24k for it. I drove down that day, test drove it and bought it.

That was a very exciting day for the both of us as we were committed to this path. We knew all the things we would have to do and what the life style would demand of us. But for all the things we were giving up, we were gaining much more for our self’s. We knew that this path would be much better for our relationship and our souls, it will be very challenging and stressful at times but would also have many rewards.