Small To Grand
Beside the RV park where we were staying, there was a field inside a gated area. A simple track had been laid out for dirt bikes and ATV’s, but we knew dogs were being walked in there. We decided to explore. Jamie had already been walking around the outside of the fence during his early morning workouts. From the track, you could keep walking along trails that seemed to go on forever. We went out together under the hot sun, and Jamie put his drone up to get a better view of what was over the next hill. We saw an interesting looking bug with a large red furry rear end. It moved so fast we couldn’t get a picture of it. The terrain was very rocky and my balance was tested. I fell numerous times. It was great exercise going up and down those hills.
November 2nd, we drove to Jerome, AZ to visit Caduceus Cellars. It seemed fitting that we had to drive through many traffic circles to get there. Maynard James Keenan, frontman for A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, and Tool, also businessman and winemaker, was our reason to visit the area. That same day we also drove to Merkin Vineyards in Cottonwood, AZ. The town of Jerome was a pleasant surprise, built into the hillside with every building having amazing views.
At Caduceus Cellars, we relaxed in the wine testing room with espresso for Jamie and golden milk for myself. Then after a mixed flight of white wines, we bought a bottle of Agostina White. At Merkin Vineyards, we ordered a mixed flight and bought a bottle of Tarzan Red. We also had lunch there. The Mac and Cheese was amazing. My pasta was dusted in beet powder and had a side of root vegetables. The whipped butter for the bread, all made in house, was full of sweet herbs. The fruits and vegetables are farmed by Maynard’s father. All of the wines are produced by Maynard and his team from vineyards in both the Verde Valley and Willcox, Arizona. Every morsel of our lunch was divine. It was a perfect day.
We drove north from Black Canyon City through the Prescott National Forest to see Jerome and Cottonwood. It was easy to see why Maynard fell in love with this area. You get a taste of what the Grand Canyon is like from Prescott. The drive was full of switchbacks and amazing views.
The next day we walked from the RV park to the Black Canyon Trailhead. We passed a lot of hikers and bikers on the trail. Jamie’s vertigo stopped us from going all the way to the river, but we still managed to get in 10,000 steps roundtrip. The narrow path had steep sides and seemed to fall away down to the canyon below.
We got our bikes out and rode to Rock Springs Cafe for pie. They’ve been making pies there for 100 years. We found a great garden behind the cafe for us to relax and enjoy our treats.
Excitement was building between us about seeing a NASCAR race at the all-new ISM Raceway, formally Phoenix Raceway. November 5th we drove up to the track to pick up our tickets. It wasn’t clear where we actually had to go, and there was still a lot of construction happening around the area. We found out at the track we had driven by the ISM Raceway office already when we came in on Avondale Blvd.
Before leaving Canada, we purchased a mobile WiFi hotspot, and our strategy had been to get a sim card in the US to continue using the hotspot. Jamie went into Verizon with the unit but was told that our device was not compatible with their network. This wasn’t the first time we’d heard that. Also, the data plans were expensive and still not enough to cover our needs. We would continue to drive 10 miles down the freeway for Starbucks and free WiFi and hope that when we arrived in San Diego that we would have better internet connections.
Every night I was recording our experiences in a journal, and one of my daily prompts asked what we were missing. Jamie didn’t like looking back at our life on the Island, but I wanted to capture how we were dealing with the things we had given up. Jamie admitted he missed his bike and the long rides he did every day to go to work. I missed having long showers and being more active too. Living full time in an RV, we had to find ways to make improvements in our life, or we had to get used to not having the same comforts. I couldn’t control the lack of privacy we had, but that was a lesson for me. I had to give up some control to have the reward of these new experiences in Arizona.
We understood what it felt like to go into “survival mode” and shut down emotionally. Eliminating everything but essentials, or what we needed to explore a life of travel, we pushed each other to do more activities we loved.
While we have limited space, I’m grateful when I can work in the trailer rather than working in the library or Starbucks. Our Coffee House isn’t clutter-free, but our space is free from the busyness and noise of public areas.
There are still things I’m fighting to let go of. Internal clutter is the hardest weight to shift.