This past week I decided to try my hand at boondocking again. Of course I have been boondocking quite a bit over the past year, but it feels a little bit different being alone. And I’m cheating because I was not actually alone – I joined Marshall and Kelly (not THAT Kelly, but a girl named Kelly, who is referred to as K2 to avoid confusion). They found an awesome spot just west of Sedona in Cocochino National Forest.
There is plenty of free land to settle down on about 15 minutes west of Sedona. Just take Forest Road 525 off of Highway 89A back a few horribly bumpy miles, and you can park with spectacular views of the colorful mountains not far away.
The problem with this land is that the road to get to it is very very bumpy and a total washboard. Not AS awful if you’re driving an SUV or even a smaller RV, but with my 38 foot monstrosity plus the car behind, it took me almost 40 minutes to go about 5 miles, wincing the entire time. The best idea? Maybe not, but it was worth it for the views and the company.
I arrived on a Wednesday, and was almost immediately whisked off to a lovely dinner gathering hosted by Dave and Shannon of 2 Wander Away who were parked close by. Yay socializing time! So nice to make more friends on the road.
Things were off to a good start, but on Thursday morning about 10 minutes before I was supposed to be on a conference call for work, my generator wouldn’t start. That means no way to charge my phone or laptop. Oh boy. So of course I immediately called Kelly. He always knows what to do in these situations! He has fixed more than one generator problem in his day. He walked me through trying to jump the generator, because I thought the problem may be low batteries. Unfortunately that didn’t work. We did enough troubleshooting that I was felt I was going to be unable to fix it myself.
I called a few RV places to see if anyone could look at it right away and thankfully found one that could. Of course they were located about 40 minutes away in normal driving time, so in RV time that was about 1:20, given the state of the dirt road I found myself on. I was NOT excited about driving down that road again, but what can you do? To be honest what I really want/need is one of these but, until then, just had to grit my teeth and hope nothing else breaks.
I got to the shop and they were very quick about finding and fixing the problem. This little guy was cracked in half. It is part of the starter for the generator.
Also, while I was at the shop I got to play with a kitty, which pleased me greatly. So at least there’s that.
$185 later and with a fully functional generator, I had the pleasure of driving 40 minutes down that damn road again, cursing the whole time. BUT, I made it back, and settled in again, and the generator continues to work just fine.
So let’s talk about the Sedona area. Beause holy cow. It’s pretty spectacular. I didn’t get to do half of the things I wanted to do, that’s always how it goes. But I got to take a few lovely hikes and explore some of the fantastic natural beauty. A couple of recommendations if you are nearby:
2. The Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole.
This can be found on Solider’s Pass trail, not far from the trailhead. It’s difficult to see the size and scale of the sinkhole in this photo, but it’s big and impressive. The pieces of rock that have cracked off the side and fallen into the whole allow you to easily imagine what it must have been like when this particular piece of land decided to take a plunge towards the center of the earth one fine day.
3. Devil’s Bridge
I don’t know why everything here is “devil” this and “devil” that, maybe it’s the shade of that wicked red rock. This is one of the more crowded hikes I’ve ever been on, but it’s so spectacular that it doesn’t even matter. It’s busy for good reason – the bridge is SWEET and totally worth seeing. It’s a nice hike to get there – 3 to 4 miles, depending on where you park. Off road vehicles have the luxury of parking closer to the actual trailhead, but hikers can walk down the road to get started. Nice little workout to get up to the bridge, mostly uphill, some fun rock scrambling time as well. Bringing an adult beverage is recommended because once you get to the bridge you will probably want to grab a seat and marvel at the wonder of nature. Brian and Maria from The Roaming Pint were perhaps not surprisingly the 2 geniuses who thought to bring beers for everyone. A+ work there guys.
4. Visit Jerome, Arizona
Jerome is a historic mining town nestled quaintly up on the hillside about a half hour west of Sedona. Jerome has fantastic views of the whole region from over 5,000 feet up.
Of course it was cloudy when I went, so it’s hard to get a feeling for exactly how far you can see, but I will say you feel like you’re on top of the world looking down in Jerome. I imagine if you had a serious fear of heights you might want to avoid it entirely. All of the homes and business are held up by support beams underneath perched on the side of the mountain.
Many of the original historic buildings are still in use or have been re-purposed. This facade was turned into an outdoor glass-blowing studio. Neat!
The whole city is very touristy in the possible best way. Quirky and a little bit weird yet completely adorable. Lots of local shops and restaurants to explore. On a Saturday it was bustling with people. Definitely worth a visit.
That’s my version of Sedona in a nutshell! I left on Monday morning to head towards Flagstaff AZ, where I am going to experience a couple of firsts: 1) Boondocking alone (really alone this time – eek!) and seeing the GRAND CANYON!