Bearizona, Lava Caves, and Popeye’s New Best Friend

We seem to have accidentally stumbled upon the best place to spend the summer in the entire United States of America.  Well, we think so anyway.  We have been in Williams, Arizona for one month now and we have decided to stay for at least another 3 weeks, if not another month.  This is already the longest period of time we have stayed in one place since we began full timing 5½ months ago and we simply are not ready to leave yet.

Our RV Park is at 6,770 feet in elevation, so not only are we not experiencing the extreme heat being complained about by everyone else in the country, rather the temperatures have been delightful.  Since we arrived the highs here have been in the upper 70’s to mid 80’s and the lows have been in the 50’s-60’s.  I just looked at our forecast for the upcoming 10 days and the highs are now down in the 70’s every single day, except Friday, which shows a high of 66 degrees!  Even though it rains here fairly regularly, the humidity somehow doesn’t rise.  It’s raining right now yet the humidity is 26%.  The humidity here ranges from the teens to 20’s.  While it seems everyone else is complaining about the heat wave I’m sitting here feeling guilty more often than not in jeans and a hoodie!  Although we can drive a short distance and experience extreme (although dry) heat any time we want, we are living in what most would consider ideal temperatures.

We do get rain here quite frequently, but it reminds me of Florida afternoon showers.  We’ll have blue skies with puffy clouds and then it will just start pouring down rain and thundering out of the blue (literally).  It usually only lasts an hour or so and then the blue skies return.  Another odd thing is that this rain does not affect me like the rain back east does. I have arthritis in my entire spine (due to complications from scoliosis surgery when I was 16) and back east I can “feel” it before it even starts raining and it can take a few days for the pain to go away.  Surprisingly, the rain here doesn’t affect my back at all. I don’t know why, but I’m not complaining! In light of this, I honestly don’t mind the rain here at all, although I would prefer the temps to be a bit warmer.  It is borderline too cold for my liking, but too good to complain. A funny anecdote about the rain here is that the locals call it “monsoon season” during the months of July and August.  Maybe since it rarely rains during the other months, it doesn’t take much for them to consider it a monsoon.  I personally think it’s hilarious.  Oh, we also have experienced three hailstorms since we’ve been here.  Quite bizarre, but apparently the conditions are often perfect here for hailstorms to be common in the summer months.

The weather is not the only thing keeping us here.  Honestly, we have yet to have a chance to get bored.  Between all the work Greg has to do, all the homeschool planning I have to do, and all the places still on our list to visit, we aren’t even close to ready to leave yet.   So far our biggest problem is finding the time to get out and experience all the places and things we want to do around here. There are  A LOT!  Somehow we always manage.  😉  We honestly had no idea that this area offered so much.  It seems the longer we are here, the more places we discover that we want to visit, hike, or experience before we leave. Such an unusual dilemma!

Since the day after we arrived and Elijah saw the billboard for Bearizona, he has been begging to go.   We tend to gravitate towards the free and cheap things to do and Bearizona is neither of those, so we’ve been putting it off.  Last week Greg was super busy with work and I think he just really wanted us out of the house so he said, “Why don’t you two go to Bearizona by yourselves today.  Take your time and spend the whole day there.”  Well, let’s just say Elijah and I flew out the door before he could change his mind.  Bearizona is literally only 2.5 miles away from us and Elijah had already researched it extensively and knew everything there was to know about it before we even arrived.  Rarely does something one looks so forward to actually end up meeting up to your expectations.  This not only met his (and my) expectations, it exceeded them by far!  Their website says “Bearizona is approximately 160 acres. Visitors will drive through more than three miles of Ponderosa Pine Forest viewing North American animals in natural habitats when they visit. More animals are exhibited in Fort Bearizona, a beautiful 20 acre walk-thru area, along winding paths which is more of a “zoo” type setting.”  We ended up staying the entire day there and not only did we experience every inch of it, we actually drove through the wildlife area a total of four times!!!  It rained later in the day while we were there and I’m actually glad it did.  Since the rain doesn’t hurt me anymore, it actually really added to the experience.  We got to experience the animals at various times and in various conditions.  The drive through area has lots of rules and disclaimers.  There are severe  cattle guards in between each area (very far apart, totally round and wired with electric shocking devices) and there was even a person at a booth just before the area where the wolves (and then the bears were in the next area) who’s sole purpose was to remind every car as they passed to keep your windows up and if any wolf or bear approaches you to keep your vehicle moving.  They made it very clear that they are not responsible for any damage to you or your vehicle.  It all seemed fun and safe until we saw a bear rip the side mirror off a Honda Accord right in front of us!  Let’s just say it got very real at that point and I was super glad that we were in our big truck, and not that little rental car we had previously.  This entire day was memorable to say the least.  Instead of telling you, let me show you:

When Greg and I went into Flagstaff he picked up a free tourist magazine called “99 Things To Do in Northern Arizona”.  In that magazine we discovered lots of things that we had no idea were close to us.  So far, the best of these finds is a huge natural lava tube cave less than 20 minutes from us.  The cave is a mile long and is called Lava River Cave.  It is a natural, non touristy type cave which is actually located 8 miles down a gravel road.  There weren’t even any signs at the beginning of the road to indicate that we were on the correct road, but once we got closer there was finally a sign.  The cave is 42 degrees inside all year long.  So we came prepared with jackets, flashlights, and of course hiking boots and decided to go spelunking!  To say that this was the hardest, most intense hike of my entire life is a major understatement.  (I hurt for two days afterwards, but I don’t regret it for a second!)  Check it out…

This was definitely one of our top ten things we’ve done.  Elijah said it was second only to the Grand Canyon itself.  Greg and Elijah went back again just the two of them and hiked the entire length of it about a week later.  If you are ever in this area, this is definitely a MUST DO activity.

Almost every evening after a hard day’s work and dinner, we reward ourselves by taking a drive around the Williams area to see deer and/or elk. This is such a beautiful area.  We have seen hundreds of deer and elk and are starting to learn the best areas to go.  We all love driving around all the unpaved BLM roads as we rarely even see another human being and it feels like we are truly out in the middle of nowhere.     Here are some pictures taken on some of our drives:

Here are also some more pictures from around the Williams area, downtown and a hiking trail that actually ended right downtown:

 

As you can see, we are really enjoying this area.  For any of you other RVers out there, I also wanted to share a tip we recently discovered that has improved our lives significantly.  We were using the water pressure regulator that came with our rig in the care package from our dealer.  Newer RVs are designed to allow a psi of water pressure up to 100 psi.  It is highly recommended though that you use a water pressure regulator to make sure you don’t spring any leaks or put excess stress on your pipes with excessive pressure.  The one that came with our care package was a 40-50 psi regulator.  That’s pretty standard so we didn’t think much about it.  That said, our water pressure has been nothing short of pathetic.  I did some research and realized that we can safely have a higher pressure and they sell RV regulators up to 60 psi.  Greg and I went to Camping World and found a 50-55 psi regulator on sale and with our Camping World discount it was only $17 so we bought it to see if it would make a difference.  Well…  what a MAJOR difference it made!  Check this out:

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Wow!  Not only can I now do dishes much faster and more efficiently, our showers went from ho-hum to amazing!  When we are boondocking or needing to conserve water we can switch it out and put the old one back on, but as long as we have full hook-ups I am happy to be living large.

For those of you still praying for my old friend, Bud (see my previous blog post if you don’t know who Bud is), don’t stop now! With all the rain as late he hasn’t been out as much.  Since my last post I’ve taken him some of my homemade pizza after he told me he wanted to get a pizza at dominoes and it would have cost him $15 so he never got it.  (He thought my pizza was a bit “greasy” lol) And I got him to agree to let me bring him a couple of my homemade cookies (which he LOVED!) So although to my knowledge, he hasn’t opened his “gift” in Jesus yet, I’m still trying to love on him and am praying that he will become saved before he dies.  BTW, when I took him the pizza I noticed he had a hand written sign by his front door on his window that said in thick black marker, hand written (his handwriting looked eerily like my dad’s handwriting)  “IF FOUND DEAD…”  followed by instructions of what to do.  He came to the door so quickly both times (I think he saw me coming) that I couldn’t take the time to read it fully, but it just really hit me how serious he is that he is literally just waiting to die.  Please, please keep praying for his salvation.

Wait…  what about Popeye’s new best friend?!?!  We went to the Grand Canyon yet again, and this time we took Popeye.  Here he is with his new best friend:

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Happy Trails and Sunny Sails from our home to yours…

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Elijah took this amazing picture right after a rain storm. This is at our campsite, right in front of our 5th wheel. I named it “The Tumbleweed That Couldn’t Tumble”

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Bearizona, Lava Caves, and Popeye’s New Best Friend

  1. Your blog just keeps getting more and more interesting. Love the picture of Popeye and the Elk. Thankful you have found an area so comfortable in this hot and crazy summer. Makes sense to stay put as long as you want. Love and miss you all.

  2. Wow!! What an adventure!! Seeing those animals would be so exciting!! I was wondering what kind of tree that was so thanks for mentioning that!! Great pictures!! I love you all & pray for you all daily. Miss ya’ll!! 💜

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