Red Rock, Trains, and Changes in the Wind

Trip Start Jul 21, 2016
Trip End Jul 15, 2017

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Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, Arizona

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, February 11, 2017

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying "change is the only constant in life."

What drew us up to the Sedona/Cottonwood area was my lifelong passion for railroads and model trains.  Two years ago I was invited to attend a weekend of running model trains on arguably the largest private model railroad (other than the one in Hamburg) I have ever seen near Cottonwood, Arizona.  I must have done something right because I was invited back to run again.  We decided several months ago to do this so made some reservations at Dead Horse Ranch State Park north side of Cottonwood and about 20 minutes drive from the model train layout.

So we packed up at Mcdowell Mountain.  Sraddha, with her immobilzed knee condition (see last blog post) was able to move the jeep into place.  We dumped tanks on the way out (only second time in 3 weeks) and headed north to Cottonwood.  Stopped for propane and gas en route arriving by noon at campsite.  We set up camp and I headed out to begin my 3 days of model railroad fun while Sraddha rested her knee.

Won't bore you with the details and didn't take a lot of photos since everyone else was but I had a blast.  There were over 50+ operators who came from all over western USA to run trains, many I have met before.  This layout models the Wyoming Division of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1950's where big steam engines pulled the long trains over Sherman Hill while first generation diesels began to ply their trade along the routes.  

Weekend over, we began to relax. We had parked forward looking west in the campsite because we had long hose and power cords to handle this so have been enjoying an amazing view of the mountains.  While not red rock as in Sedona, it is really great to oversee a wide vista with clouds while we catch up on things we have put off for a while like a day trip to the Grand Canyon, and taxes (inevitable even on the road), and rest, especially for Sraddha with her knee (see last post).
Which brings me to my next point. Living on the road is not always glamorous but it has been interesting.

We began this journey almost 4 years ago having moved all our household goods up to Oregon thinking we were going to settle in at Ananda retreat in Laurelwood west of Portland while also traveling the US for a while living the nomadic life.  We came to realize as time went by that we missed living in community. Sure there is community on the road too and we know and have met numerous wonderful people on this journey, however we specifically miss the community where we lived at Ananda Village in the sierra foothills near Nevada City, CA.  

The past two years we have spent more and more time serving at the Ananda Meditation Retreat a few miles up hill from the village.  We discussed building a home at the village sometime in the future, but that timeline was still a ways out, so last summer we made our winter plans to be in Arizona as we have for past few winters.

Late December, we heard that a house at Ananda Village might become available.  Not just any house, but the house Sraddha had built there back in mid 90's and where we had lived for a few years.  Didn't see this coming. We put in our bid and recently were informed that we will be able to move into that home!  So it is now official, even tho some of you may already know this. Such a blessing for us to be able to return to our spiritual roots.  
We will be arriving back to Ananda Village, next week,  weather and flooding permitting for a medical appointment about Sraddha's knee.  Then the following week we will head up to Oregon, leaving RV behind, to pack up and load up our office and stored tools along with household goods in long term storage for the move down.  Until we can move our household down from Oregon, we will, er, "camp out" in RV at the house until the pods arrive later in March.

We expect to sell the RV after we get settled in but still anticipate travels in our future.  Just a different sort. Inquiries accepted on the RV.

It has been quite a ride. I will post again here once or twice here, but am starting a new blog more dedicated to my photo and video creative process along with fun photos, called  I have begun posting over there, however, you can find it by copy and pasting the link and possibly subscribe to updates if you would like.   If you want me to add you to the notification list just respond to this blog post or send me an email.

So change is in the wind and is the only constant as Heraclitus states.

It has been a joy to do this and thank you all for reading.  

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Durga Smallen on


Wendy Stubenroth on

I'm excited for you two and getting resettled in CA!

Kent White on

yeehaw, and safe travels.

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