Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Canyon de Chelly Arizona

(we hold copyrite to ALL photographs!) 
After spending 3 days exploring around Bluff Utah, Chuck and I headed to Chinle AZ and
Canyon de Chelly National Monument! (Pronounced Canyon de Shay)
We left Bluff almost a month ago! WoW!  Where did all that time go?  We followed Highway 191 from Bluff to Chinle and why this isn't marked as a scenic highway, I will never know!  Beautiful rock monuments and red stone cliffs, beautiful valleys and a wonderful road with NO TRAFFIC! I mean if we met 20 vehicles between Bluff and Chinle, I would be surprised!  Now for the spoiler....   be sure your gas tank is full before exploring this highway. You will be driving the backroads of the Navajo/Dineh reservation!  Going through settlements named Mexican Water, Rock Point, Round Rock and Many Farms before arriving at Chinle! It was a leisurely 3 or so hour drive from Bluff to Cottonwood Campground at Canyon de Chelly .
Cottonwood Campground is a well maintained campground full of the cottonwood trees for which it was named providing nice shady sites. NO HOOK-UPS
You will be dry camping here. The sites are all paved and level with some pull through's but mostly back in. It's only $10 per night.

The campground was almost empty! We got there on a Friday night... August 17th!  The little Casita belongs to the workamper. There are handicapped sites available right next to the restrooms.


There were Navajo artists at several of the overlooks with quality work, not the usual cedar beads you find.

This man had beautiful pottery, he was carving very intricate designs into this pot with an exacto knife! He had several pieces I really liked! We stopped by on our way back to buy one but he was gone!

 This lady has created a beautiful necklace using coral and silver!  I was really tempted because it was so nice! Not the traditional work you usually see but very interesting.

Archaeological evidence shows that people have lived in the canyons of Canyon de Chelly for nearly 5,000 years, longer than anyone has lived uninterrupted anywhere on the Colorado Plateau.
 I love this photograph that Chuck took...  looks like canyon spirits in the shadows headed down the stairs!  Several look like Kokopelli !  Chuck will be taking the rest of the photos...  I just can't do the cliff edge heights anymore! The 26 miles of canyon cliff walls, some rising up to 1,000 feet from the canyon floor! 
I couldn't believe this couple, casually perched on the edge of the canyon with nothing but air between them and the canyon floor far below!
The rains flow into the canyon floor providing farming for the families who live in these canyon walls.

Everything looked pretty dry when we were there in August!

 There are huge monuments on the canyon floor

 People we call Basketmakers built homes,storage facilities and social/ceremonial complexes high on ledges in the walls of the canyon cliffs. The alcoves in the cliff wall above and cropped in closer below were used for storage. Usually food would be stored here.

 In the close up and cropped photo, you can see the rock structures built within each alcove.  But look how high it is from the canyon floor and how treacherous it would be to descend to the grainery from above!
The camera lens we were using wasn't able to capture these cliff dwellings circled above! How did they ever get to them???
About 700 years ago the Anasazi (ancient ones) culture, who built these homes within the canyon walls, disappeared. Later, migrating Hopi Indians and other tribes spent summers hunting and farming here. You can enlarge the image somewhat by clicking on it.

 This is known as "Slide Ruins"

The more famous of the cliff dwellings is the White House Ruins. A fairly easy 1.5 mile hike down to the ruins gets you up close and personal with them.

The most recognisable feature of Canyon de Chelly is Spider Rock. Here, you can see the river far below that makes farming here possible.

A wide angle view of Spider Rock shows the awe inspiring beauty that is Canyon de Chelly!
There is a second campground near Spider Rock. This is a campground I would never recommend to anyone except bravehearted tent campers!  Certainly no RV's of any size, style or type could ever find a spot level enough or big enough to accomodate you. Extremely twisty interior dirt roads made navigating my Chevy TrailBlazer a challenge! Even trying to find our way out of this campground maze was a challenge!  Avoid this one for sure, the campground at the entrance known as Cottonwood is wonderful!
We loved our 2 days here, wish we could have stayed longer.  But we were rushing to get here Mimbres NM to our new workamping job.  This area of New Mexico is beautiful! Cool weather too! The cottonwood trees down by the river are turning golden we are looking forward to Autumn!
Happy Trails until we meet again!  Geri, Chuck and the HoundHerd Scotty, DoogieBowser and Radar!


 Loved the back window of an RV we saw in South Dakota!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mountain Spirits RV Park - Our new job!

I know you were probably expecting a blog about Canyon de Chelly, but we have been getting a lot of emails wanting to know about our new workamping job!  So here is a quickie blog about working at Mountain Spirits RV Park. 
Entrance to our park
We are located in Mimbres New Mexico, about 20 miles  east of Silver City! 

This is the view out our back window!

Meet our bosses, Wanda and Bill!

 This is only a 20 space campground with full hook-ups. Several of the guests are long-term. They are working with the local copper mine.  We have a couple who are staying here a few weeks to get out of the heat in Yuma AZ!  It is nice and cool here!  We have low 80's days and low 60's at night! Low humidity almost everyday! Perfect!

 The MotherShip is docked right in front of the office so we can keep an eye on things. Chuck and I work 3 days and off 4 days.

 Yesterday, to celebrate Labor Day Weekend, we had great food and fun!  The park provided hot dogs, buns, beverages and desserts and the rest of us brought covered dishes! Wanda decorated the office and organized the event!

Bill cooked the hot dogs on his humongous grill!  Chuck has the hots for this BBQ Grill and wants one like it! Yeah, like where would we store it???

 Everybody lines up for a delicious meal!

Wanda applies liberal amounts of mustard
to her dog!

Wanda and B.J. get ready to pig out!
Bruce and Elaine eat outside and share tidbits with their dog Cleo.

Cleo is grateful!
B.J. and Vicki are ready for the parade to begin!
So is the crowd of onlookers!
Left to right:
Elaine, Bruce, Bill, Chuck (not my Chuck!) and Clay!
YAY! Let the parade begin!
Left to right:
Vicki, B.J., Linda and Wanda on the tailgate!
This is really a fun little park! Folks stick around a little longer and you build new friendships easier.
Larger RV parks might pay you more, but they are hectic and when folks only stay over for a day or two you don't get a real chance to know them! We are enjoying our time here!
Workamping is what Chuck and I do.  We trade our labor for free rent and full hook-ups. Here, we work 3 days and have 4 days off to go explore.  Since we are not super busy here with reservations or dozens of folks coming in and out of our office with all kinds of questions... our days are laid back.  I clean the 2 beautiful restroom/shower areas, water the plants, sweep and keep the office neat and tidy and run the register.  We have storage units here also, about 50, so we collect rent on them and we also sell LP gas. Chuck fills the LP tanks, pulls weeds and waters all the green areas. This area is a lot greener than Truth or Consequences ! A lot of local farming means a great little farmers market just down the road every Thursday!  Love the fresh farms eggs, so rich the yolks are almost neon orange instead of pale yellow!
So far, we have been very happy here and we love the cooler temperatures! The cottonwoods are beginning to change colors across the field from here, down next to the Mimbres River!
Well, that's it for now from the crew of the MotherShip! Geri, Chuck and our HoundHerd
Scotty, DoogieBowser, and Radar!
Happy Trails to you until we meet again!