Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Catholic Traveling

Oatman burro gets friendly outside of town
It occurs to me that I have not mentioned about our plans to get back on the road. When I first started the Catholic Traveller blog and website, the plan was to travel frequently and visit missions, shrines and other holy places, take lots of pictures and video, and share impressions, recommendations and interesting facts. Then my children became interested in horses and - nuff said. That batch of children is now grown and on their own. Now comes an opportunity to lighten up again and travel full time with my trailer for awhile. We will be traveling slow and enjoying the journey.

The new home: 1975 MeToo; bumper to bumper inspection before starting renovation
While the coming year is planned for the Western U.S., there will also be a few weeks in Wyoming, with a possible trip to New York and North Carolina, depending on finances and family situations. We are renovating a 28 foot RV and a 14 foot travel trailer - if you are interested in that process, you can follow it on Mrs. D's Homestead, my other site, where we will also post more about full-time RV living, homeschooling on the road and minimalist, homestead-spirited living on the road.

Miner's "cabins", Calico Ghost Town, Yermo, CA
Catholic Traveller will continue to focus more on the places we visit and on our spiritual journey, as well as the challenges of finding Mass, confession and fellowship opportunities on the road.

Until next time, Happy Trails!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wild Horses of Route 66

Route 66, or more appropriate for this blog post, Will Rogers Highway, passes through miles of open range, BLM land and private ranch land in Arizona. The longest existing stretch of Will Rogers Highway is between Ash Fork, Arizona and Kingman, Arizona. This is where you can see herds of wild horses grazing alongside range cattle. If you're lucky, you might even see a fast freight train on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line, bringing goodies to Los Angeles from all points east, while you're stopped to admire the horses.

Talk about a Sunday drive! I get to see this herd on my way back to Ash Fork from Seligman, after playing for Sunday Mass there at St. Francis Catholic Church. Sometimes I even see them from Interstate 40 on my way there from St. Anne's Catholic Church in Ash Fork.

This curious little fellow spies me and wants to know what I'm up to. The others studiously ignore me. I don't believe that this is a BLM herd, so my guess is that they are owned by whomever holds the grazing lease on this particular stretch of land. I have come to think of them as "my herd" and look for them whenever I come this way. There is a certain water hole near a blocked off bridge where my youngest son and I have spent many a Sunday hour watching the trains and the horses while picnicking on sandwiches and fruit. 

Every year it is exciting to see the new foals and watch them grow. This year, with all of our wonderful rain, the horses had plenty of water to frolic and cool off in. I tried hard to get some good shots of them playing in the water, but they came out too blurry or too late. I'll sure miss these guys when we head out on the road full-time. One more item on the list of heartbreaking choices I've had to make. I look forward, however, to discovering new herds in new places and especially to having some new adventures to share with you as we travel the Western United States and wherever else God in His good humor decides to take us on our pilgrimage of life.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whitehorse Lake Trail, Williams, Arizona

Late in May, I found myself in Williams, with my car pointed down the "south road" (aka 4th Street) out of town. The warm sun, the brilliant blue sky and the seductive scent of pine lured me on to where 4th Street becomes Perkinsville Rd. past the back side of Bill Williams Mountain. At the signpost for Overland Trails and Whitehorse Lake, I made a left. Another left into Whitehorse Lake campground, passed through to the day use area and parked. 

Sycamore Rim Trail Access Map

After changing into my trusty hiking boots, I grabbed walking stick, hat, camera, water and snacks. Okay, so it's only 1 mile from the parking area to the end of the trail and 1 mile back. My out of shape self was taking no chances. Part of my strategy in choosing this trail was that it is easy. The terrain is fairly level, no boulders to climb or streams to cross. It meanders through Ponderosa pine and oaks, so is mostly shady, and stays near the lake. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of elk or deer, but be cautious of other wildlife. Puma have also been spotted, along with the occasional bear. I didn't even spot a fish on the day I went, but then, I didn't spot many people, either.

Don't plan on cooling off in the lake after your hike, as it is not aerated for swimming. Fish and Game does keep Whitehorse Lake stocked with trout, so bring your pole and license. Barbeques and tables are available for day use, for a fee, and the campground is right there. You might want to plan a few days at this spot, fishing, exploring the trails and relaxing and enjoying the tall pines, gazillion stars and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Best time to go is May-October.

This trail is great for families, children, adults getting in shape/back in shape, older adults and experienced walkers. It also joins up with the Sycamore Canyon Overlook Trail which joins several other trails, for a change of scenery and more of a challenge. More info and maps are available at the Williams Ranger District office, right off Interstate 40 at exit 161 map.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Phoenix in July? Why?!

Cooling off after a toasty time in Phoenix, AZ
Yet another mid-July trip to Phoenix, AZ. I am always opposed to the timing of these mid-summer fiascos and as events seemed to reinforce my objections, I didn't say, "I told you so". Didn't even give him "the look". I comforted myself with visions of sitting by our family member's pool in the early mornings and late evenings, reading, and taking in a movie in a nice, air-conditioned theater. That didn't exactly work out, either, but more about that later.

After we arrived at our relatives' home, our first order of business was dinner at the local Chinese buffet.  This lost its luster when a cockroach make an appearance on one of the plates.  We had planned to take in a movie next, but there were none we wanted to see that were playing at a convenient time. We wanted the matinee, of course. We decided to go the next day. Instead we went to Bass Pro shop, where we made several purchases. One was an open reel that was supposed to be $29 and the charge was $59. Wow. Is it a full moon? Yes, as a matter of fact, it was. The mistake was corrected (we were purchasing the display model and the salesperson had put it in the wrong box, which caused the error in pricing) and we went back to the condo and called it quits for the night.

Saturday dawned, hot and muggy. No sitting outside enjoying the sunrise. In addition, the pool was quite filthy, so we passed on the swimming, as well. Later, we got cabin fever and went looking for a Sprouts Market and a tea shop. This Sprouts didn't have the raw milk I've been drinking, but we picked up fresh, organic veggies for dinner and fruit for smoothies. I decided to settle for kefir, since I couldn't get my raw milk.

On the way to the tea shop, we stumbled upon a nice little Greek restaurant where we decided to stop for lunch. After I got my missing olives and feta, my Greek salad was delicious. The lemon soup was awesome and the gyro dinner was so tasty and tender, I think I am now addicted to Greek cooking.

The tea shop, on the other hand, was less impressive. Stocked full of ayurvedics, essential oils and loose teas and spices, it was a disappointment. All the teas were old, stale and dusty. From the looks of the tinctures behind the counter, I didn't think they were very potent anymore either. The real kicker was, the annexed vegetarian restaurant was packed! I hope the quality of the food there was better than the quality of the teas adjoining. We never did get to the movies, but our visit with the family was most pleasant, as usual. Thankfully, we enjoy each other's company, whether or not the outside forces cooperate.

Although Sunday Mass is easy to locate nearly any time from Saturday evening to Sunday evening in Phoenix, the advice from this pilgrim is: do not go in July! The optimum time to enjoy Phoenix, as well as most of Arizona, is winter and spring!