A Month in a Minivan: Day 24

Today’s little journey is brought to you by the magic of “curiousity”.

So, with Curiousity steering my ship, I managed to drift exactly 20 miles from last night’s port! Ha!  If youre going to be curious, do not be in a hurry. Do be ready to ask questions, and follow your wandering wonderings.

It was a c-c-c-o-l-d morning, but I woke up toasty. For those of you wondering how one stays warm when it’s chilly, I sleep with my knitted hat, which makes a big difference. I also have a knit poncho that keeps my shoulders warm. Keeping the windows covered  keeps out the breeze. I took a quick walk before bed to warm up my hands and feet. I turned my 12 volt blanket on for 20 minutes before crawling under the covers. I changed my socks and put on pjs – fuzzy sweats, and a long sleeve, oversized jersey top. I try never to get into bed in my clothes, although it’s tempting and I’ve done it a couple times. But I swear, it makes one cold,  because you  perspire during the day, and your day clothes are damp. Damp+Cold=Yuck.

Although toasty in bed, it’s not always easy to get up into a chilly morning either! Even Pippa flip-flopped for a while under the duvet, needing to pee but in total denial. On mornings like this, I make alterations to my morning routine. For instance,  I don’t hang around camp and make coffee.

I get up, pack up (put my chair and Pips kennel back in the van), let Pippa out to do her business, and head for the nearest coffee. The van warms up fast, heat on high for five minutes, and all is good. When I am doing more challenging camping like this, I need a reward system. Not making coffee outside is the first of a few I will enjoy today. Eating fresh melon (from my fruit truck escapade the other day) in the van,  on route to the coffee is second.

Simple, nourishing food

So, after appreciating the morning sunrise for about 30 seconds, we were in a toasty van heading for the gas station. Where I knew I could get wifi and check the weather.

The need to check  weather was highlighted  by the two inches of snow on the bumper of the car next to me. A quick look at today’s paper tells me Flagstaff had 5 inches of snow, but this area got only a dusting, with none at our location near Congress.

It’s easy to get cold weather “shy” especially since enjoying 80 degree weather in the buff about two weeks ago!  But I’m determined to keep a good attitude about the night-time temperatures and stay active during the days. I’ll spend more time poking around shops and talking to people. I’ll not cook outside as much. I’ll seek  indoor wifi rather than write in the van.

The day began with a significant climb to a higher elevation, and my first stop was at the Hotshot’s Memorial, which is now a State Park. There was a 2 mile hike up the mountain with memorials to the 19 forest-fire fighters who lost their lives in the 2013 Granite Mountain fire. It was too cold yet for Pippa and I to venture up, but I read the plaques and found myself choked up at the loss this small community suffered. It’s hard to comprehend  such a fire in a sparsely vegetated desert area, but as I paid attention throughout the day, gaining altitude, I noticed more and more trees. By tonight, I was surrounded by “burnables”. Given the lack of rainfall much of the year in the high desert, I could now begin to comprehend.

To understand a Community, you must first understand their suffering





















When I reached Yarnell, I visited an antique store. I’m in search of a metal coffee perculator. I want to let go of my tea kettle and coffee press, replacing  with  one thing that can do coffee and tea.

Could my coffee purculator be here?

I wondered if I might find one here. The owner was happy to have company while he rearranged items in the shop. I wanted to know more about his town; and with words he shared his thoughts about their losses in the fire;  with his eyes he shared his feelings.

This lovely little town continues to struggle to regain it’s lifeblood after the loss of 19 of it’s vital, active and community minded young men. Now I really comprehended the gravity of the event. And,  I discover  I wanted to spend more time here.

This gentleman dropped a handful of breadcrumbs for me to follow throughout the rest of the day;  little bits of information that continued to fuel my curiousity, leading me from one person to the next.

Funky Courtyard Gallery in Yarnell

The first crumb led us to a cute art shop and then another antique shop, where we enjoyed lazy conversations and visits with  little dogs who were out and about in the  sunshine.

The last proprietor sent me off to a senior’s community centre, which holds a garage sale each Saturday.

Although I did not find my puculaotor, the  volunteer there seemed to know I needed a place to camp and told me exactly where I would find a quiet, safe and warm location on a hill not far down the road.

It was on private property, which the owners graciously allow others to use. I thought my gift here had been received but there was more. Did I happen to visit the local Shrine here? Shrine? Which, because I felt curious, I had to visit. And off I went. Curious.

Built naturally into the rocks as part of a Catholic retreat, I walked the  Stations of the Cross, reading each plaque and contemplating the virtues   written about there. I am not Catholic and know little of the rituals of Catholicism, but can attest to the utter relevance of a mother’s love, forgiving those who harm you and being humbled by the weight of life’s challenges. It was moving. Not something I ever would have done or found on my own. Curiousity will take you places you don’t even know you don’t know.

One of Stations of the Cross at St. Josephs Retreat Centre, Yarnell

It was now late afternoon and I decided to enjoy a divine lunch and some writing time at roadside restaurant on the way to the camping area that almost left me in a pleasure-coma.

I used to google everything. You know, for ratings and such. I wanted to be sure I’d like something. Now I just wonder about it. Then, I follow my curiousity. Which today led me to a diner featuring FRESH tuna salad sandwiches on HOME-MADE bread, toasted in a wood-fired oven. And wi-fi. Which right now is essential so I can keep my crazy readers of this insane 28 day writing project happy. Ha ha!

A divine lunch at the T-Bird Cafe

After my late lunch/early dinner, I drive only ten minutes and find myself blissed by my camping location. Set up in the hills, with lots of trees, sunshine and birds; Pippa and I played in the fields for an hour before settling in for a good night’s sleep.

Curious what tomorrow will bring. 🙂

Grass, trees, sunshine. Ahhhhhhhhhhh





5 thoughts on “A Month in a Minivan: Day 24

  1. You’ve been my morning coffee friend, my traveling meditation. What in the universe will I do without your company? I know that something will appear but I’ll miss you and Pippa greatly. Will you continue to blog, just not daily? Or are you off like the new friends that you leave behind in your travels?
    I have enjoyed your company and look forward to meeting you on the road someday.

  2. That’s quite the drive from Congress to Yarnell, isn’t it? I liked that you stopped in Salome the other day…I stopped there a couple of years ago only because that was my grandmother’s name. Cute little place. I love Yarnell…so many cute shops and friendly people. Looks like you found a great place to camp! You’re in for more pretty scenery on your way to Sedona. Check out the Verde Valley. Lots to see. Loving your adventure! Have fun! Hi, Pippa!

I love to hear from you :)