Rearview Mirror - Summary of the past week: Up Down, Over and Around
Pups Across America! - Our latest canine encounters: Navajo Pup
Favorite Photographs - Pick pics, pointers, and ponderings: Anastazi Hulk
Camper’s Corner - Thoughts on were we stayed and other RV topics: Cottonwood Campground at Canyon de Chelly Park
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading: The Big Father’s Day Pup Shoot in Carlsbad, CA

Start: Desert Rose Resort, Bloomfield, NM
Stop: Cottonwood Campground at Canyon de Chelly Park, near Chinle, AZ
Stop: Entrance to Pima County Fairgrounds, Globe, AZ
Stop: Prince of Tucson Campground, Tucson, AZ
Stop: Marker 87, I-8, AZ
Stop: Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree, CA

On to Arizona
By 8:30 we were on the move: 64 West through Farmington, south on 491 at Shiprock, west on 464 at Ya Ta Hey, then into Arizona and on to Window Rock. After Ganado we turned North on 191 onward to Chinle. Here we drove east through town and into the Cottonwood Campground at Canyon de Chelly National Monument.


North Rim
After filling with gas back in Chinle and stopping at the Park visitor center, we took off in the Honda exploring the North Rim vistas. Wow, is this place something! When it comes to the ruins of the ancients, Chaco has a special aura, Mesa Verde gives that up-close presence, but they are both surpassed by the beauty of Canyon de Chelly.

canyon_de_chelly canyon_de_chelly_2

Early Morning Hike
By 5:20 AM I was out the door, driving along the South Rim, arriving at the White House trailhead as planned at 5:35. Not another soul around (except for some horses and sheep) as I started on the three-mile hike: 1.5 miles down 600 feet of elevation to the canyon floor and 1.5 miles back up. I spend some time photographing and videoing the White House ruins, the horses, as well as the glistening rock formations, many of which looked as though they had been freshly coated with copper paint. Wonderful hike.

white_house two_steps_back

Fresh Fried Bread
I was back at BALY by 7:45 with time enough for breakfast before an 8:00 phone call. As soon as the call was completed, the four of us loaded back into the car to explore the other scenics of the South Rim. After we had seen the sights, a handmade sign by the road caught our eye, “Fresh Fried Bread.” Now who would resist that marketing pitch? We pulled into this very neat homestead and walked into the combination diner, Navajo art studio. While our bread was being baked (delicious with honey and powdered sugar) we checked out the work of the spouse of the man who waited upon us, then played with their puppy, Iglaseo. Although most Navajo are very reluctant of photographs and they had a large sign proclaiming this, they agreed that pics of their pup was just fine. What an animal!


On to Show Low
By 12:30 we said goodbye to this wonderful place and were in the coach heading south on 191, retracing some of our Sunday journey. This time we went south at Ganada, then through the villages of Klagetoh, Wide Ruin, Chambers, Sanders, St. Johns (where we picked up 61 South), and Concho. We ended up for the day at a one-night-stand of a campground in Show Low.

Pup Shoot
At 9:00 we had a pup shoot of a couple dogs of our overnight neighbors. One was a nine-week old pup named Show Low and his older sister. Next it was back into our rig as we headed south by southwest on our way to Tucson. We were looking forward to arriving in Tucson, as we had plans to go out to dinner with our friend Lauren and her daughter Clare. However, our plans changed.

Picturesque Mountain Drive
Little did we know that the first 90 miles or so of our trip was composed mainly of hairpin curves going up and down from 5,000 to 7,000 feet then 7,000 to 5,000. However, it was beautiful country and we were enjoying the views as we averaged 30 miles an hour on our journey.

About 10 miles from Globe (actually Jan measured it later at exactly 12.3 miles), our coach started to slow down, quickly followed by the engine warning signal, the “stop now” light, and complete engine shutdown. Since the shutdown was so fast I wasn’t able to pull completely off the road, we unhooked our tow car so as not to block the highway.

Expert Diagnosis
The gauges seemed to be within acceptable operating parameters, but because of the driving conditions and the heat (I neglected to say earlier that it was 95 degrees outside), we decided to have a ham sandwich and play a game of gin rummy at the side of the road as we waited for things to cool down. So after 45 minutes we tried again with the exact same results--within 100 feet we were occupying a similar location as before. Since no cell phones worked in these parts, Jan went for help as I pulled out the manuals. A friendly officer of the law stopped by, and we did a simple test: we poured water into the coolant reservoir only to hear it splash on the ground. Diagnosis--busted hose! He radioed ahead to the local “fix the trucks and motor homes on the mountain” outfit and within an hour a guy showed up.

expert_fix conway_trucking

Led by my formidable diagnostic and mechanical knowledge (:’>>>), the technician was able to locate the leak and remove the faulty hose. He jumped back into his truck with the promise of returning within an hour if he could find a replacement part. True to his word, he was back with his gear, and an hour later we were heading into Globe. The technician followed us, and after a few miles he passed me waving his hand frantically. I pulled over and saw what I’d feared: water and coolant all over the rear end of BALY. I drove ahead slowly, and made it another half-mile, just pulling off the road onto a small area at the entrance to the Pima County Fairgrounds. Our technician (not too happy about the situation), said the rig needed to cool down and that he’d be back in an hour. We pulled a couple of chairs from the basement and sat in the shade enjoying a cold beer and watching the vehicles drive by. Two-and-half hours later (at least he came back!), in pulled our man along with his girlfriend. The sun had already set, so under lights he re-fixed his fix. After seeing the earlier consequences, I took seriously his words of advice of going to an RV dealership and replacing his hose with one designed specifically for the coach. By the time our technician left it was close to 9:00 PM and the end of a long day.

Up Early
We were on the road before, 6:00 AM, wanting/hoping to get to Tucson before it got too warm. First, however, we stopped for fuel and washed the grime off of both the car and the coach before heading south on 77 and the up-down, wind-around mountain roads. We saw a couple of wild pigs beside the road, and the Saguaro cacti with the mountains as background was a beautiful sight. Jan was driving and she kept a close eye on the temperature gauges and made regular glances on the dash where the warning indicators laid in waiting.


Biosphere II
Right outside of Tucson, we saw the signs for “Biosphere II” and said what the heck, it was time to pull over for breakfast anyway. While Jan made breakfast in the parking lot, I took the Pups for a walk to scope things out and found out that the first tour of the day was coming up in 30 minutes at 9:30. I wolfed down a couple of one-eyed monsters plus some sausage then walked back to take the tour (no dogs allowed so Jan decided to stay with them). Fascinating place.


By mid-day it was in the high 90s, and we were set up in a “it will do” campground right off of I-10.

Dinner with Friends
That evening we drove downtown to meet our friends Lauren and Bob. We had a wonderful Mexican meal while catching up on all the happenings since we were last together.


At 11:30 we had lunch with Lauren’s daughter, Rocky, her dad, Pete, and Pete’s good friend. This young girl was now an attractive young woman, just graduated from high school and preparing for her first year at the University of Arizona. Before and after lunch was quite boring, as I did consulting work.

Motorhome Stuff
After our motoring challenges earlier in the week, we thought it prudent to get our cooling system checked out by a certified RV service center. So we dropped it off in the morning and picked it up mid-afternoon. During the time in between I worked at our friend Lauren’s house. We left the RV center a little before 4:00 PM and headed northwest on I-10, then west on I-8. A strong headwind kept me on my toes driving, blowing dust filled the air, but it was good to be back on the road.

Exit Oasis
A little after 7:00 PM we’d had enough for the day. We pulled off of the interstate at Marker 87 into the parking lot of a grocery store (and nothing else). Jan walked in, bought a couple of burritos made by the owner along with some wicked potato chips, and negotiated with her to let us spend the night. For ten bucks we had the whole back parking lot to ourselves--our only companions were the chattering nearby birds and the locomotives in the distance.

Morning Romp
Up before sunrise, I took the Pups out for a walk down the dirt road. They were off leash as there was zip for traffic. Pretty soon we were back on the road (only takes a couple of minutes preparation when you dry camp), heading east on I-8 through Aztec, Dateland, then on to Yuma. Soon we crossed the line into California, staying on I-8 until El Centro, then north on State 111. The skies were clear and the weather was warm, but not hot. At Brawley we stopped by a supermarket and I bought supplies while Jan prepared our lunch. We sat in the coach enjoying hot dogs with the works, chips, and cold water. Back on 111 we continued driving on these flat lands through Calipatria and Niland.

By the Sea
From there the highway curves around the east side of Salton Sea, 235 feet below sea level. This big body of salty water (376 square miles) really looks out of place, like it shouldn’t be there. Maybe it won’t be there for long--it is directly above the San Andreas Fault!

Joshua Tree
Mid-afternoon we set up camp at Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree National Park.

Also, we have finalized dates for our event with the city of Carslbad, California. It will run both days over Father’s Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 19 and 20. More to come very soon.

Schedule Your Pup Shoots
June 13
Joshua Tree

June 14 & 15 ???

June 16 & 17
In Carlsbad, preparing for the shoot

June 18 and June 19 (Father’s Day Weekend)
Two-day pup shoot in beautiful Carlsbad, California. Click on the Pups Across America page for details.

Please e-mail me at alex@PupsAcrossAmerica or call me at 239-671-0740 to set up a shoot, or if you have ideas or suggestions.

Pass the Word
Know other Pup Parents who might enjoy this blog and the Pups Across America event? Please spread the word.

My favorite is the Anastazi Hulk.


CAMPER’S CORNER: Cottonwood Campground at Canyon de Chelly Park, just outside of Chinle, AZ
This cozy, 90-site campground is right in the park and it is free. First-come, first-serve, I’d suggest arriving early in the day. Not only is it super close to the sights, it has nice shade in most sites. The only drawback is that it is a tad challenging navigating a big rig through a campground designed primarily for tents and pull trailers.

June 13
Joshua Tree

June 14 & 15 ???

June 16 & 17
In Carlsbad, preparing for the shoot

June 18 and June 19 (Father’s Day Weekend)
Two-day pup shot in beautiful Carlsbad, California. Click on the Pups Across America page for the details.

June 20 and June 21
Probably in Carlsbad, recovering from the shoot!

June 22 onward
Probably heading up the Pacific Coast.

Going to be near? Look us up. Have some suggestions? We are open. Know a Pup Parent in the vicinity? Pass on this Web site and have them give me a call to schedule a shooting of their best friend.