2016 Travels travel blog

Carpe Diem at Verde Valley Thousand Trails

I 40 east of Flagstaff

Tight traffic lane on I 40 construction zone

Rain, rain, and more rain thru Flagstaff

At Flagstaff we left I 40 for I 17 south

Flagstaff is at 7,000' elevation

South of Flagstaff I 17 heads downhill

A road you don't ever want to take...

We arrive at Verde Valley Thousand Trails

Sunset view of the bluffs north of Verde Valley

Bob grills dinner

Wed, 03 Aug: Our last road day—for now...

Another early morning due to the hour we gained crossing into Arizona. While both New Mexico and Arizona share the Mountain Time Zone, Arizona does not observe daylight time so we gained an hour. As a result, we were in bed by nine and up before six. We stayed in bed for a bit but then it was time to get with it!

Our usual travel day routine; get ourselves ready, fed, go thru the checklists, and head out. This was no exception and Sandi rolled wheels at 0743. We were a short distance from I 40 so in no time at all we were heading west into some ominous-looking clouds. Sure enough, within a few miles of getting on the interstate we were running with lights and wipers going.

Forty miles to the west we stopped at a Pilot/Flying J in Winslow for fuel. We didn't need any, but the price was right and it was the last truck stop before Phoenix. We deviated from our normal practice at PFJ by pulling into the RV lanes instead of the truck lanes. The RV lanes are really a pain as they're located nearby the car lanes and the nozzles are auto-sized instead of the larger truck-size nozzles in the truck lanes. OK, so why?

Well, Arizona applies an 18¢/gallon excise tax on large (> 20,000# or more) vehicles. Carpe Diem, while weighing more than 20,000#, is a non-commercial vehicle and exempt from the excise tax. If we fill at the truck lanes we can get cash back from the cashier, but the RV pumps don't have the 18¢/gallon added. It's just easier all around.

Anyway, we took just a smidge over twenty gallons and were back on the road in fewer than ten minutes. That's gotta be a new record. At a rest stop east of Flagstaff we changed drivers and Bob took the helm. Back on the interstate and right into a construction zone. Bob really knows how to pick 'em!

Approaching Flagstaff the rain increased to the point that the wipers were running without pause and visibility wasn't the best. It's nice to sit up high and see over much of the spray.

We transitioned to I 17 south toward Phoenix and immediately started descending from Flagstaff's 7,000' elevation. At one point there is an eighteen mile stretch of downgrade that reaches 6%. That's fairly steep and we are very happy for our Cummins engine's compression brake. Bob kept our speed under control without having to apply the service brakes. Sweet!

We exited I 17 at Camp Verde and took Arizona 260 west seven miles to the Verde Valley Thousand Trails. We arrived a few minutes before eleven, got checked in, and located a 30 amp site with a clear view of the Dish Network satellites and the sun for the solar panels. Today's drive was an easy (weather discounted) 161 miles with a fuel economy just shy of 8¾ mpg.

We'll be here for a week before heading down to Scottsdale for some medical appointments at the Mayo Clinic. More about that as it approaches. Meanwhile, we look forward to kicking back and catching up on our lives.

Sun, 07 Aug: Busy, busy, busy...

Things here have been busy, but no too busy. We managed to catch up on a lot of paperwork and that's always great to have behind you. Last evening we met Ron & Chris Mayer for dinner in Prescott Valley. It is always great to catch up with this dynamic couple who always have something new on their plates. This time it's listing their lovely home in Prescott for sale.

Tonite the weather was lovely and we were treated to a stunning sunset on the bluffs north of the RV park. Bob grilled a steak on the BBQ, so there were happy tummies and smiling faces.

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