Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Friends, New Places

Before going on this trip, I did a lot of research and in doing so, joined some online groups.  I've had the pleasure of meeting several folks from these groups, as well as some of their friends and family.  I've already blogged about the VanDwellers in Pahrump, and Karen and her kids in Colorado.  A few weeks later I also met up with VJ at her friend's home near Albuquerque.  VJ is on a van traveling adventure and I was fortunate that our paths crossed.  VJ and I were treated to a beautiful place to overnight and a yummy pasta dinner ... thank you Theresa and Laurie!

One of the groups that I joined is Sisters On The Fly (think fly fishing), a nationwide group of women who have outdoor adventures.  They have Cowgirl Caravans and tow small vintage trailers to various events.  It's a fun and friendly group.  After I joined late last year, I went to a Christmas Party locally and it kind of reminded me of a slumber party!

So, I'm meeting up with a couple of SOTF events on my cross-country trip.  Last weekend in Arizona I camped out at a sister's ranchette outside of Seligman with about 15 other women.  She and her family have built a beautiful cabin out of straw bales (see first picture).  It was a relaxed time of good food and interesting conversation, beautiful views and new friends.  On Saturday we explored the historic/tourist town of Seligman (see second picture), which boasts the beginnings of the revival of Historic Route 66.   Then we were treated to a visit to a working ranch.

Fort Rock Ranch is the largest in Arizona and includes the location of a vintage fort, still used as a family home (see third picture).  I can't remember how many head of beef and horses they had ... but, it was a lot.  After lunch, we toured some of the property, taking pictures of the fouls and their mamas (see forth picture), and then watched as the larger herd of horses ran across the meadows and distant hills ... what a beautiful sight!  Later in the afternoon we got front row seats as the cowboys roped and branded some yearling cows that escaped last year's roundup (see fifth picture w/Faye of the ranchette).  Then, it was our turn if we wanted to help brand and castrate this year's calves.  I abstained, but thoroughly enjoyed watching some of the other women go for it.   If all works out, I'll be attending another SOTF event during September in New Jersey.

I've also enjoyed staying at a couple more Harvest Host wineries along the way.  Wines of the San Juan is next to the San Juan River in New Mexico (a renowned fly fishing spot).  I loved the set up they had outside with the sinks (see sixth picture).  I had a wonderful visit with David and Marcia over coffee, and was even invited to share some pancakes with them!  Their "Pale Morning Dun" wine was a hit at the Sisters On The Fly event because it's named for a fishing fly.  And their "Girls Are Meaner" Gew├╝rztraminer was great to bring for my stay with VJ, Theresa and Laurie.

I also stayed over at Javelina Leap Vineyard and Winery just outside of Sedona, another Harvest Host location.  The grounds were beautiful with vineyards, orchards, picnic tables, and a wine tasting room (see seventh picture).   Here I enjoyed a bit of wine tasting at 11 in the morning!

This weekend, I'm with brother Gary and wife Mary.  They are full-time RV'ers and camp hosts at Kodachrome State Park (named after the Kodak film because the rocks are so colorful).  It's a very well kept state park with cool rock formations.   It's great to be able to meet up with Gary and Mary every now and again, share stories, meals, and a campsite.

I'm glad to be making new friends, as well as seeing new places ... more to come!

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