Cottonwood, Cornville & Sedona

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Hooray! The windshield is replaced! The fellow in Quartzsite who did the work, Jeff Jennings of Windshield Magic (located on the corner of Main and Central in Quartzsite during the winter months, Junction City, Oregon the rest of the year), was a real perfectionist. He’s got this business of replacing windshields down to a science working in the RV capital of the United States. He gave Bob a detailed rundown of what he found when he removed the cracked one and how he installed the new glass to make sure this one will last. He and Nonda, the business-end of the team, took care of every detail. We even ran into Nonda at Silly Al’s Pizza and ended up having a beer with her and learning all about the business of RV’s and insurance glass. We feel like we drove in there as customers and drove out the next day as friends!

WHY, oh WHY, do we keep forgetting to take pictures of these fantastic people that we meet along the way? Here’s Jeff and Nonda from their website …


It’s been a few days now and the windshield is still looking good! LOL

While our motorhome was being worked on, we took a day trip up to Lake Havasu. We have heard so much about it from others on the road that we had to check it out. Well, it is a boaters paradise … motorboats, as big and fast as you can get them. Yes, there’s a nice river that leads into a big lake, but we couldn’t get near the water without paying a fairly hefty entrance fee at one of the state parks for what might be a 30 minute visit. The rest of the town just seemed to be a lot of hotels, the usual chain stores and restaurants, and boat shops. And traffic. We were not even able to take a decent picture of the London Bridge because there were hotels blocking the view, and you had to pay to park in a lot to enter the shopping area that has a view of the bridge. We turned around and drove back to Quartzsite. The highlight of the day was a visit to the Parker Dam. This is a classic case of looks aren’t everything as well as life being like a box of chocolates, because this unassuming little dam is the deepest dam in the entire world! It is 320 feet high, 235 feet of which is below the riverbed. It’s also the subject of decades of legal issues between California, Arizona and Congress, but we’re not going to get into that. We thought it was fun that one side of the bridge was in California and the other side was in Arizona. We are easy to please like that.


The next morning, with a shiny new windshield in place, we hugged our new friends goodbye (truly, we bonded over a windshield) and headed for Cottonwood, AZ. We were excited about this stop because it was another chance to free camp on government land. There is an awful lot of free camping going on in Arizona. It’s crazy how often you see RV’s a half mile or more off the highways, dotting the desert with white. After hours of research, we picked this one spot, a dirt forest road off a paved road just a short distance from town. Except we arrived there to find a sign that read “No Camping Allowed!” with a copy of some new land regulation that had taken affect. Great. Now what? We didn’t have a Plan B. More on-the-spot research turned up another road with great promise. We headed there, only 15 minutes away. Except when we arrived, the road was packed with campers! Louise went in the car to scout for a campsite and found every site had between 3 and a dozen RV’s on each. What a bummer! This is not what we had in mind! 

We turned and headed to town to stay overnight in Walmart. Pulling into the parking lot, we were greeted by a large sign that practically screamed in red letters: Overnight Parking is NOT Permitted! Now what? Bob and Tessa stayed with the rig while Louise scouted the town for parking places. We found that Home Depot had a small, quiet parking lot in back of the store near the loading docks. We backed into the farthest corner and were very unobtrusive. The next morning, after calling several campgrounds and striking out (all full), we decided to ask the manager if we could stay just one more night. The manager’s answer was a strong NO. We had to leave. We scouted out the rest of the dirt roads known for free camping and finally found one spot in Cornville, AZ. (Love that name.) Turns out this particular road is a favorite hangout for shooters. The sites all back up to a row of hills, and the shooters set up targets on the hillsides and practice. Our site had bullet and shell casings all over it as well as bits of various clay pigeons. Each day, trucks would drive in, we’d hear a lot of shooting down the road, and around dinner time the trucks would leave.



In addition to the shooters, there were also cattle roaming freely. Think about this picture: we’ve got men in trucks shooting at targets all over the place, we’ve got several large brown cows moseying about mooing and bellowing, and we’ve got people camping in RV’s and even tents. Oh, we even had a psychotic woman in a truck who talked to herself and everyone who passed … she was kind of scary, but she left the next day. This was really a pretty trippy place!


Tessa loved the cattle. The bull was not too crazy about Tessa, though! He didn’t seem to mind Bob or even the men with guns, but when he saw Tessa he was NOT too happy. He had his ladies nearby and a youngster, and he wanted Tessa gone. So, he bellowed and walked toward Tessa and Bob. They, of course, headed for home, but the bull followed them for quite a while until he was satisfied. Yikes! The herd roamed past our site in the middle of the night, a few soft moos and several bellows just to let us know he was there, I suppose!

While in Sedona, we took a scenic drive through the famous red rocks. Magnificent! Pictures, of course, don’t do them justice. It is unfortunate that the town of Sedona is such a tourist trap. There are so many people, and the traffic is ridiculous! This is where the beautiful people vacation, and they have the most beautiful backdrop of red rocks … it’s kind of sad, really. The author of one of our RV touring guides said that she thought Sedona should have been a national park. We couldn’t agree more! While the city has done a good job of blending the architecture into the landscape, SO much development with it’s associated people and traffic takes away from the beauty. 


Returning from our scenic drive, we hopped on I-17 and soon came across a large yellow sign announcing that the next 18 miles of highway would be at a 5% – 6% grade, all downhill, with a runaway truck ramp available at the 10-mile mark. Every now and then, we’d pass reminders: “5% grade next 2 miles, 12 miles to go,” and when the road would flatten out for a short stretch: “Hill resumes in 1 mile, save your brakes!” We finally passed the runaway truck ramp, which looked like it had a small pile of gravel with a horrendous Thelma and Louise style plummet of a cliff at the end. Not a half mile farther down the highway sat a tractor trailer with brakes smoking.

Meanwhile, we were having a great time watching my gas mileage soar on this lengthy downhill run. I have seen my car get as much as 44 mpg on highways with lots of coasting hills, but this was spectacular! We watched the numbers flip past 44, through the 50’s, 60’s and, finally, the mileage gauge stopped at 99.9 mpg!! I don’t think it was designed to read in the hundreds. 


We left Cornville yesterday and are now situated under the Ponderosa pines at Woody Mountain Campground in Flagstaff, AZ. Lots to see around here, so we have a few busy days on tap! 


One thought on “Cottonwood, Cornville & Sedona

  1. OMG …… soooo much information! Aunt Diane is here to see Aunt Anita in Vermont. On Thursday though she and Aunt Sue came for a visit to Mom’s 3-5pm. We then took them out to dinner (without Mom… she did not want to go)…. nice visit and long meal…. they are great story tellers! Discussed a lot about the family reunion in July. Bob…. FYI… you need to forward the invited to you children. I know after her visit for several days to Aunt Anita Diane is headed home for your visit on the 24th… enjoy! Cathy Sent from my iPhone


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