Reminder: As most of you know, if you follow my blog, I write my blog for anyone that cares to read it, but I mainly write it for our daughter, Shantel, who is totally blind, as a documentation of our lives. Of course, I can’t leave Shantel a photo album of our lives, so when she was just a baby, I started documenting our daily lives, the good, bad, and ugly, as a way for her to look back on our lives, from the time she came into our lives, right through mine and Bill’s golden retirement years. My blog is my gift to Shantel, but I hope you enjoy taking the journey with us too.

So much to see and do in Camp Verde and the surrounding areas. Like Tuzigoot. It’s an Apache word for “crooked water.”  The information sheet we received for Tuzigoot says it is ” the remnant of a Southern Sinagua village built between 1000 and 1400. It crowns the summit of a long ridge rising 120 feet above the Verde Valley. The original pueblo was two stories high in places, with 87 ground-floor rooms. There were few exterior doors; entry was by ladders through roof openings. The village began as a small cluster of rooms inhabited by some 50 persons for 100 years. In the 1200’s the population doubled, and then doubled again. No one knows why the Southern Sinagua migrated away from their pueblos by the early 1400’s. It may have been overpopulation, depletion of resources, disease, conflicts within or between groups, climate change, or perhaps spiritual beliefs. Whatever the reasons, many Southern Sinagua likely migrated northward to pueblo villages. Others may have stayed in the Verde Valley and returned to hunter-gatherer ways.”

Like Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot just amazes me when I think about what all it took for the people that lived here to build these dwelling places. Our tour guide told us they actually had to go up and down this hill, in an assembly line fashion, to gather the rocks from the bottom of near-by mountains. Then they had to go into the mesquite trees, shown in the picture, and cut wood that they would mix with water (that they had to carry from the river) and mud to create a “glue” to hold the rocks in place as they created each room or dwelling place…

While some of the inside rooms were actually used for eating, sleeping etc., many of the outside rooms were used to store food, animal hides, tools etc., that they needed for everyday life. They also had rooms that were used for meeting places and ceremonial celebrations.

In addition to using the wood from the mesquite trees, shown below, for making the glue that held the rocks in place, the leaves and seed pods of the trees were used for food and to make teas. They would grind the seed pods and make mesquite flour, and brew the leaves for tea.

The picture below is of an outside fire pit that might have been used for warmth, or outdoor cooking.

The next picture is a stone that was used to grind corn and other grains for food. Our guide reminded us that when you see these stones, that are usually somewhat hollowed out in the middle from years and years of use, you have to remember that the stones are not just found that way. No, the people actually had to take another stone, and slowly, day-by-day, they would grind one stone against the other to make that hollowed impression to grind their corn… What determination, and strong will to survive…

As I walked through the remains of this amazing place, it was hard not to think about the strong people that once lived here, and what it took for them to build this place, and the struggles they must have faced just to live out their daily lives here.

The only things that live here now, are the critters that roam where they will… Like this little baby lizard, that ran out from under the bush, to bid us good-bye!

Bill and I are so enjoying our time here. This is the first time, since we started this full-time RV living gig, that we are taking a full month off from hosting/work camping, just to relax, and see what full-time retirement life, without a schedule, really feels like. So far, so good…

Stay Tuned!



Birthday Fun!

Yesterday was my birthday, and Bill and I made a day of exploring some of the interesting places to see in, and around, Camp Verde Arizona.

Our first stop was Montezuma Castle. I’ve lived in Arizona all my life and had never visited Montezuma Castle. Bill and I have passed by it many times on our way to other destinations, and every time, we always said we would have to make a point to go and see what Montezuma Castle is all about.

Well yesterday was the day… What an amazing place to see.

Of course, we had to stop in at their visitor center to check out what all they have to offer.

Just outside the visitor center, is a paved trail that leads you all around the grounds below Montezuma Castle shown below, built into the side of the cliff. The information sheet we picked up about Montezuma Castle says “Southern Sinagua farmers built this five-story, 20-room dwelling sometime between 1100 and 1300. It occupies a cliff recess 100 feet above the valley. Early American settlers marveled at the structure. They assumed that it was Aztec in origin, hence the name Montezuma Castle. Now badly deteriorated, it was once an imposing five-story apartment-like building with about 45 rooms. Occupants found reliable water in the creek and fertile land on the nearby terrace.” I can’t even imagine what it took to carve this amazing structure into the side of this cliff.

The picture below is of a display that shows what the inside rooms of the five-story structure looked like when it was still in use. Again, just amazing!

After we left Montezuma Castle, we made our way a few miles down the highway to Montezuma Well. I had not even heard of this Well, but we decide since we were here, it was a must see as well, and were we ever glad we made the trip to see it.

The information we were given on this beautiful place says “Montezuma Well has all the surprise of a lake and lush vegetation in the midst of desert. It is a limestone sink formed long ago, still fed by continuously flowing springs. The Southern Sinagua irrigated crops with its waters. In places, you can see traces of the lime-coated irrigation ditches.”

What a beautiful place. But, beware! Do not go swimming in the water because it is full of water scorpions, and leeches!!! OMG, that’s all I had to hear for me to stay a healthy distance away from the water…It’s so bad, that fish can’t even survive in this water, because the water contains arsenic, and high amounts of carbon dioxide. So the moral of the story is “look, but don’t touch..”

Places like this always amaze me in that cactus,

and trees seem to be able to grow right out of the rock.

After we left the Well, we made our way to Sweet Peas Antique Store in Camp Verde. Oh, what fun there is to be had there if you like looking, and touching, and picking, through lots and lots of vintage and antique “stuff”. 5k square feet of looking. I had a ball, and Bill said he “likes to look through all that junk” too. I can’t buy anything big anymore because we just don’t have room in our RV, but I did find a small metal tray to hold my mason jar salt and pepper shakers, and a doily for the top of our bedroom dresser, and two lovely, small vintage table runners, because of course we have a small table… Everything I purchased was small, and will travel well, so Happy Birthday Me!

Next up on the birthday girl’s agenda…., Bill made me a steak dinner. YUMMERS!

I can’t think of any better way for me to have spent my special day, than with my loving husband, and best friend. Thank you Bill, for making my birthday all I wanted it to be and MORE!

Stay Tuned!

Down By The Creek

Bill and I took a walk down by the creek yesterday. Look at all the cool things we saw, and I captured with my “big girl” camera. I don’t even know what a lot of this stuff is, but I thought it as pretty, and I had fun practicing taking pictures.

Halfway through our walk, we came upon the creek. Picture perfect spot with the sound of the water running, and the birds were chirping, so, so, peaceful.

The roots of this tree we exposed due to a time when the creek ran a little high. “how high’s the water, mama..”

I don’t know what happened to this tree. Kind of reminded me of the last day’s of summer…looks spent to me, but I also thought it was very cool looking!

Couldn’t resist trying to capture these tiny orange butterflies.

I noticed there are a lot of spider webs throughout the park.

This plant was growing right on the side of a cliff that over looks the creek.

Love the tall grasses dancing in the wind along the side of the creek. So graceful.

There are cairns everywhere…

And there are spots where the water is still, and reflects the shadows of the trees around the creek.

Don’t know who, or what, lives in this whole, and I wasn’t going to poke around to find out!

This place is so pretty, it just makes me want to hug a tree!

Stay Tuned!

Zane Grey Tour

Well, here we are, safely tucked away in our temporary new home for the next four weeks, and what an adorable place to be tucked away in.

Welcome to Zane Grey RV Park in Camp Verde Arizona.

I am loving all the beautiful trees and shade here.

All the spaces are nice and large with lots and lots of trees and shade..

Two paths take you around the outside of the park and down to the creek.

Just beyond these trees is the creek. I will be exploring that very soon.


They have a nice Ramada here in the park, complete with a dinner bell, where they welcome guests to free donuts, fresh fruit, and coffee every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. How nice is that?

They also have a community fire pit because they encourage folks to get to know each other in the evenings around a campfire. No, that is not snow on the ground, it’s from the cottonwood trees. I love it because it’s pretty, but not cold..

Everywhere you look around the park grounds is something interesting to see…

Even the laundry room is decorated.

And check out this adorable little outdoor phone station for guests to make local calls.

This is our little slice of this beautiful RV Park for the next four weeks

This is where I am happy to fluff my feathers, and settle into this beautiful little nesting area…

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Stay Tuned!

What A Difference

As in life, what a difference a few days can make in the desert.

With about 22 thousand acres, and over 80 miles of trails here at McDowell Mountain Park, Bill and I love  getting out and hiking three to four days a week.

This first picture below was taken just last week when the desert was lush and green after the unusual amount of rain we had over the winter months.

However, summer is fast approaching, and today Bill and I noticed most of the lush green is turning brown and drying up as shown in this picture.

The dryness makes it easy to spot areas all around like this, where the grass is matted down due to what we think are places where some of our desert animals bed down for the night. But, I’m going to ask our park ranger if she agrees with that thought process or not..

There are still some signs of spring left to be found, like this blooming creosote bush. A pretty desert bush with yellow and white flowers.

I read up on the creosote bush on About Travel by Phil Persson, and here are some interesting things I found out. “Creosote leaves are coated with a resin to prevent water loss in the hot desert. The resin of the creosote bush also protests the plant from being eaten by most mammals and insects. It is believed that the bush produces a toxic substance to keep other nearby plants from growing thus ensuring its own survival. The creosote leaves give off a very unique and peculiar odor when it rains. Although some refer to the odor as heavenly essence of the desert, the Spanish word for the plant, hediondilla, means little stinker, signifying that not everyone considers the odor heavenly to the senses (I like the smell of the creosote plant). The plant was a virtual pharmacy for Native Americans. It was used in a tea to cure such things as flu, stomach cramps, cancer, coughs, colds, etc.”. Well, who knew all that could come out of one desert plant!

Bill and I don’t know what the little red berries on this thorny bush are, but we think they must not be edible or the birds, and other desert critters, wound have picked the bush clean by now. Another question we need to ask our park ranger. So much to see and learn here in our beautiful Arizona desert..

Our time here for this season is quickly winding down. Bill and I are leaving on April 26th to spend a month in Camp Verde Arizona, where we will just rest and relax until we head out to Oregon for the summer months. We will return to McDowell Mountain Park in October. We will be looking forward to another fun-filled hosting season, and reuniting with all the new friends we’ve made here.

Stay tuned for postings of our summer adventures!

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