After we got the brakes fixed we headed towards Flagstaff and our friends Ben and Jo, but first we had to stop in Amarillo. We intentionally decided not to do anything for our anniversary in February because we knew our route would take us through Amarillo. The Big Texan is our favorite steak place and this was the third year in a row we were able to stop and have a great steak dinner. We always stay at the Amarillo Ranch RV Park, $32 with Good Sam discount, because the people are very nice, there are always pull through spaces so we don’t have to unhitch, and we get free limo service to the restaurant. We got all of of our favorites, and as usual it did not disappoint!
The last two times we have gone we sat up in the balcony, but this time we asked to sit in a booth on the floor. The nice thing about being on the ground floor is that they have wandering musicians and since we were celebrating our anniversary I asked for something romantic. It was a beautiful song and they sang to me which was nice, but it was obvious that at that moment Lee loved his steak way more than me.
The next morning we left pretty early and traveled across New Mexico. We gained two hours from time changes as we traveled and Lee wanted to keep going to make sure we got into Flagstaff earlier. It was a longer travel day than I would have liked, but I did appreciate the short drive the following day and as the scenery was beautiful along the drive, it made it more enjoyable.
The only downside was our gas mileage was terrible. Normally we get over 10-119mph when traveling, but the combination of steady climb and high winds dropped us down to 6.6mph. Plus when I was driving I found I couldn’t really relax because constant minor adjustments for the wind were called for. Eventually we hit Arizona though and we stopped at a Passport America for the night. When we travel and are just looking for a place to sleep we find these are always reasonably priced, and OK for what you are paying. Plus, with full hookups Lee can dump at our site which saves us time the next morning. The next morning we were up and out pretty early, we hadn’t adjusted to the time change, and by noon were pulling into our boondocking spot to meet Jo and Ben.
Jo and Ben are traveling nurses who scheduled time off during one of their assignments to go to the reunion rally. Ben wanted to spend a couple days skiing in Flagstaff and when we realized our route would be close to them we made plans to meet up. We told them about a boondocking spot we had last year near Walnut Canyon and since they arrived early they scouted it out and found a spot that could hold all of us. We had beautiful views of the mountain, but unfortunately it was too windy for a fire, so we mainly hung out talking in their RV until dark.
We hadn’t seen them since last year in Alaska and I was really happy that their beautiful malamute Peyton seemed to remember me. She got very excited when I came and immediately came over to my rig because that’s how you get treats! I also got to meet Sammy, their new Cavalier. He’s 9 months old and still a puppy and I got lots of his attention as well. Ben made us a wonderful chicken fajita dinner, we had some wine, and talked for about 6 hours straight. When it started to get dark though I called it an early night since we had decided to move on the next day. Non of us minded the colder temperatures, but we really didn’t like not being able to have a fire, so Ben picked a place he wanted to show us and we all had an early start out together in the morning.
When we travel with people we generally find it is easier to pick a place to meet and then allow everyone to get there in their own time. Bathroom, pet, and lunch breaks vary by couples, and we’ve found it’s easier to just let people do their own thing. Surprisingly, despite the variation, people almost always get to the meeting place pretty close to each other so it all works out fine in the end. Since we were going to a boondocking spot we had never been to, Ben picked a gas station as a meeting place and we followed him the last little bit in. Telephone Cove is part of the Lake Mead Federal Recreation area and just west of Laughlin, Nevada. There is a four mile dirt road and the turn off has a very small sign, so we were glad Jo was directing us via text.
We found the road to be a little challenging. Part of that is because we don’t have four-wheel drive, but we also tend to baby our rig and most of the road was washboard which made it shake pretty violently. The other part was that it had some very steep (at least 9% grade) gullys and since those were at the end of curves, it required some acceleration for us to get up them. The last one our back tires were spinning a little in the gravel and sand, and Lee got very nervous. There are also a couple of very tight hairpins, and those are also at a pretty sharp angle, so there’s a lot of rig leaning going on. Going out we did much better though because we knew what we were in for, but going in was tough, and I really wished we had a second car so we could have driven it first. In case you think I am exagerating, when we stopped almost all the cupboard doors were open and a stack of dishes was caught in our netting. I dutifully put this netting up every time we travel, even though our cabinet doors rarely open, and I am thankful I did as you can see from the pictures.
(Here’s a really brief video of a few parts of the drive. The video doesn’t really show how steep a couple of the climbs are, but it does give an idea of how bad the washboarding is, and you can hear our tires spinning for traction on one of the really steep climbs at about :27. – Lee)
Although it was pretty crowded we snagged two great spots and then settled in. The next two days were incredibly relaxing, which was a combination of a great view, wonderful company, and the complete lack of AT&T. The signal was strong at the top of the road but completely non-existent in the campground, which turned out to be a good thing because we could unplug and just focus on the moment. We were able to have campfires both nights and despite it being pretty windy at times spent lots of time outside in the sun. I absolutely loved it and was really grateful to Ben for finding it. The Colorado river is absolutely beautiful, and the 7-day limit campground with it’s large trash bin and pit toilets is definitely one I would like to go back to.
It was a wonderful couple of days, and exactly what I needed to get completely out of work mode and into time off mode. We all packed up and headed out to the reunion rally, very excited to see so many of our friends all in one place and meet some new people who had reached out and said they would be there.
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Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks You can preview the kindle version on Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes. It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.