2017 Western Spring Fling travel blog

Posing at the entrance to Sunset Crater Volcano NM

Bonito Lava Flow

Another view of the Bonito Lava Flow

View from the Cinder Hills Overlook

View of the Painted Desert National Monument in the distance from the...

Closer look at Painted Desert located about 40-50 miles east

Park Loop Road winds through a Juniper forest

Life grows in the cinders from the volcano

San Francisco Mountains are still snow covered

Bonito Lava Flow with Sunset Crater in the background

Old barn with San Francisco Mountains in the background

Traffic fatalities remembered along US89

Little fun at the entrance to Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki Pueblo housed 80-100 people

Main building of the Wupatki Pueblo may have had over 100 rooms

Buildings were mainly constructed of red, flat stone held to gather with...

Walls built around the natural rock outcropping

Village ceremonial ring (kiva) has been reconstructed

Sue at the overlook

Interesting patterns in the rock that forms one of the walls in...

Citadel Pueblo ruins sit atop a small hill overlooking the surrounding prairie

Limestone sinkhole near the Citadel

View from the Citadel

12 oz sirloin for dinner at the Horseman Lounge

Taco Salad at Salsa Brava

Navajo Taco

Guy Fieri signature

We were able to get Winnie into Paul Evert's RV shop at 0830 on Wednesday to see if we could diagnose the overheating problem. With Winnie's service history in hand, I met with the Service Manager to explain the problem. It looked like this was going to be a trial and error process. After deciding to replace the thermostat with a lower opening temperature model and to replace the fan clutch first, we had to wait until Thursday for the fan clutch to arrive from Phoenix. We packed up Winnie and went back to the KOA to await the arrival of the part.

We got a call from Scheduler this morning that the fan clutch had arrived so we drove Winnie to the shop. After leaving the shop we took the Fit to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change which was a few hundred miles overdue. After the oil change, it was time for lunch. Luckily there was a DDD restaurant in Flagstaff so we went to Salsa Brava. An unusual feature of this restaurant was that they have a Salsa Bar with 7 or 8 selections from mild to hot. We tried several and all were good except the chipotle tomato. I didn't like the flavor. Sue got a Navajo Taco (What Guy ate). It's made of Navajo fry bread topped with pinto beans, carne asada, mixed cheeses, lettuce, mild salsa, sour cream, and queso fresca. I had a Taco salad with smoked chicken. Both were delicious and filling. After eating we headed back to the KOA to wait for Winnie to be fixed. We had to sit in the laundry room because it was the only place with a table and chairs. We finally got the word that Winnie was done. They installed the thermostat, but couldn't do the fan clutch because it was the wrong part. They'll have to try to match it. We took Winnie for a test drive and drove up US 89 for a few miles where there is a 6% grade with mixed results so I guess we'll be back in the shop tomorrow to have the fan clutch replaced. It's always something.

With all this time in the shop, Ringo has spent a lot of time alone in the bedroom. e's usually hiding under the bedspread when we get back. Hiding is his way of dealing with stress. At least he's not going under the dash like on his first trip in Winnie.

With all of the free time we've done a little sightseeing. We drove through the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument. As you might guess the first is an area where volcanos formed much of the landscape with lava flows and cinder cones. The last eruption was about 1,000 years ago. Interesting landscape. At Wupatki the attraction is ancient pueblos built on red-rock outcropping that rise above surrounding prairie. People moved into the area about 100 years after the last eruption at Sunset Crater. As many as 2,000 lived in the area over about 200 years. People of the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, and other tribes lived in the area, but all left by the mid 13th Century. On our way home we stopped at the Horsemans Lounge. It's a steak place and a pretty good one at that. I had a 12 oz'er and Sue had the 6 oz one. We were stuffed.

The weather has generally been nice during the day since the rainy Monday when we arrived, but it has been down in the upper 20's to low 30's at night. As I'm writing the this the wind is blowing at about 20-30mph and rocking Winnie. It almost feels like Tropical Storm Bill that we rode out at Matagordo Bay in Texas 2 years ago. It's also started to rain with a little lightning and thunder. The original forecast was for snow turning to rain. Stay tuned.

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