Lava, Lava Everywhere, but...

Trip Start Jan 09, 2012
Trip End Jun 04, 2012

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Where I stayed
Bonito Forest Service Campgroud

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Monday, May 7, 2012

I was not really happy to leave the solace of Homolovi, but know that I really have to keep moving north, if I choose to meet my goal.  I “downloaded” and got moving by about ten AM.  My first stop was at the Flying J again, to gas up Shorty.  It wasn’t easy.  It’s a busy place, so I pulled in behind an empty pickup towing a flatbed trailer and waited.  And waited. By the time the woman washed some of the truck’s windows and the guy came out and added gas, and, washed another window, it took about twenty minutes.  A good opportunity for me to utilize the Serenity Prayer.  Of course, it worked.  When I tried to fill Shorty, the pump shut down at $75, due to an automatic limit on the Discover Card.  As usual, I went through the routine again to get the “See Cashier” message.  Since I only needed about thirty gallons and had pumped twenty, I called ‘er good.  

The route to my next destination included about forty miles on I-40.  It’s a mixture of textures, ranging from smooth to “cupboard re-arranging”.  It climbs to some six thousand feet, but is deceiving, since it’s a series of hills and valleys.  I had barely entered Flagstaff when I turned off at Exit 201 onto Hwy 89 North.  North, a new concept, recently.  89 is a four-lane highway passing through residential and commercial areas until it heads uphill into the forested areas.  I knew that I had to go to a National Monument involving a volcano, so ignored the Hussy when she tried to put me into another campground at the edge of town.  There’s no sign for the Bonito FS Campground on the main road. I had learned of it on the internet and an app on my phone. I did, however, know that it was FS Road 545.  I found it readily and the campground easily.  A mile or so before the CG is a large grassy meadow where elk surely graze, if you’re there at the right time.  It’s between a range of mountains called The Peaks and the actual volcano site itself.  When I leave, I hope to stop at the site again and photograph both.

It’s much cooler here, getting only into the lower seventies during the day.  It was cloudy when I arrived.  I noticed when driving through and looking for a site that there was a bit of 3G data showing on the phone, so it took me awhile to choose.  I didn’t find any data after I did choose, however, nor phone, nor text capabilities of any quality.

The hosts are friendly folks, originally from Massachusetts and now residing in Mesa.  They’ve been coming here for a few years now to Host.  Both of them have a good sense of humor...which is good.  I paid my half-rate of nine dollars and had some lunch.

The soil here is non-existent.  It’s fine gravel, made of of lava.  Very little grows here excerpt pine trees of significant size and a few bushes that I didn’t recognize.  There are a few “rabbit-squirrels” and a few birds, including the stellar jay, one of my favorites.  I spent some time exploring the area and visiting with a few campers.  Most of them are either from AZ or CA, as in California.  The rigs range from pop-tents to one forty foot class A motorhome.  They were all friendly.

A second Host told me of a road/trail, which leads to a fire lookout tower and said it might be a good hike.  So, I had my dinner early and took Dolores to explore it.  It’s about a mile out of this park and begins near the Group Camping area.  The road is as smooth as velvet, but it’s deceiving.  Since we’re in the flow area of the defunct volcano, it’s paved with crushed lava.  Smooth but soft.  In places it was like riding in mud or corn snow.  It’t was the only time that I ever remember having to peddle to go downhill!  But is was interesting.  To the right of the road are areas of lava which protrude from the surface up to eight feet.  Trees are growing in the area, I know not how.  I took a few pics to give you an idea of how it appears.  I turned around before the switchbacks and came back home.  I road a total of plus four miles and had a good workout.

The sun was setting when I got here, but due to the numerous trees, had little to offer, photographically.  Later, I did spy the moon and got a few shots of it shining through the trees.  Oh, and I did get a couple of shots of the strange squirrel.  Long tufted ears and a broad brownish gray and white tail.  He patiently sat and nibbled on something while I shot away.  I can’t imagine what he eats, but he seemed fat and content.  

I cooled down quickly and was about forty-one degrees when I retired about ten-thirty.  I took out Grandma’s quilt and used it to warm- up. I’m glad that I did.  When I got up to take care of my personal needs at about four-fifteen, it was twenty-eight degrees.  I turned on the furnace and went back to bed for an hour.

When I arose it was “toasty” in the coach and the sun was just starting to peek over the trees.  With sun and furnace, it got nice and warm quickly.  

There are several Indian ruins about twenty miles from here, but I’ve decided not to check them out.  Another Host told me about the Vermillion Cliffs, up near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on Hwy 89A.  That’s my destination today.  It’s about a hundred miles to Jacob Lake FS Campground.  There’s no lake, but that’s another story.  It’s at higher altitude yet, but I’m hoping that, for some reason, it’s a bit warmer.  Rave on!  It could happen.

With poor text and no other communication available, it’s been a quiet stay here.  A rare text comes through, but no pictures etc. show.  I’ll stop enroute, when I get a good signal and get caught up on such.

That’s it until I settle again and take the time to write.  As always, to the faithful, thanks for stopping by on the journey. Shalom!

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George on

Strange looking squirrels. Would you believe I had squirrel stew for dinner tonight--no joke.

ferd on

Interesting sounding country....those are strange looking rabbits! Water systems working well at the homestead! Hugs..........

zach on

I am certain you have photographed fox squirrels. Lol.

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