2014 USA Camper Trip

The Ford Pickup & Camper, USA

A very generous offer of a “delivery trip” from Seattle to Arizona in a camper allowed us to travel 7000 miles with no locks, no rope handling. The highest altitude reached was about 11300 feet which was a personal altitude record of breathlessness. From wet Washington to dry Arizona via Montana, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Santa Fe, parts of Route 66 it was all scenic, friendly, exciting and a record number of healthy American breakfasts in diners.

The Ford Pickup with the house on top.

First night out, camping in Deception Pass State Park.


Mentzer’s used cow lot at Drummond, Montana.

Mentzer's Used Cow Lot, Drummond, USA
The best candy store in the world, USA

“The best candy store in the world” at Philipsburg. Not an exaggeration!

By this time we had suffered an overload of beautiful scenery. Montana was every bit as expected and then another 100%. Quite a number of people told me how few live in the fourth largest state.

Montana, USA
Virginia City, USA

The old mining town of Virginia City, MT was as fascinating as the old gold mining machinery and the Alder Gulch Railroad.

Un-photoshopped snap taken through the windscreen while entering Yellowstone. Just relieved he didn’t lean on the camper.

Fender Bender, USA
Yellowstone Wolf, USA

Yellowstone National Park allowed us to see wolves, buffaloes, bears, raptors and owls.

Old Faithful appeared on time and in good form. The park is 3,500 square miles and contains half the world’s geothermal features.

Old Faithful, Yellowstone, USA
The highway code, USA

The highway code can be different here as one of these fellows can alter the bodywork dramatically.

Grizzly bears turning over rocks looking for food at the Grizzly & Wolf Refuge in Yellowstone.

Grizzly & Wolf Refuge in Yellowstone, USA

Grizzly bears turning over rocks looking for food at the Grizzly & Wolf Refuge in Yellowstone.

The Yankee Doodle Diner south of Jackson WY.

Yankee Doodle Diner, USA
Arches National Park, USA

Arches National Park near Moab UT contains a huge number of large red rocks some of which have eroded over the years into these distinctive shapes.

Deja vu all over again when we stumbled on Cimarron CO. A one time small cattle community that has one of the more entertaining camp sites.

Cimarron CO, USA
Antonito CO, D & R G R, USA

Antonito CO is the eastern terminus of the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad. A 3ft gauge line climbing high over the Cumbres Pass and down the other side to Chama NM.

Between the Pinorealosa Mountain and the Neff Mountain the line doubles back, train in background and to line to Chama in the foreground.

Pinorealosa Mountain, D & R G R, USA
Cumbres Pass, D & R G R, USA

At 10,000 ft altitude the railroad reaches the top of the Cumbres Pass, crossing the road without gates or flagman.

The station, depot and rolling stock at Chama NM are very authentic Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.

Chama NM, D & R G Railroad, USA
USA Camper Trip
USA Camper Trip
St James Hotel, Cimarron, USA

The St James Hotel in Cimarron NM was an original Wild West hotel where Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, Bat Masterson, Jessie James, Zane Grey and others stayed between 1870 and 1889.

The dining room, formerly the saloon still has bullet holes in the ceiling, history does not relate who fired them!

St James Hotel, Cimarron, USA
Pecos Pueblo, USA

Pecos National Park contains the Pecos Pueblo built around 1100AD.  Later the Spanish built a mission here.  The pueblo ended due to marauding Comanches.

Santa Fe was founded in 1610 by the Spanish, on the site inhabited by indigenous people since about 1050AD. The Spanish were driven out from 1680 to 1692. Mexico seceded from Spain and then Texas from Mexico! In 1848 it became part of the US under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Santa Fe, USA
Sky City, Acoma, USA

Sky City is one of the three settlements making up Acoma. These hilltop pueblos were built by the descendants of the Anasazi people. They defended their hilltops from the maurauding Navajo and Apache, incomers from Athabaskan Canada.

Canyon de Chelly, originally inhabited by the Anasazi people who built canyon side pueblos above the canyon floor. Taken over by the Navajo it was eventually the site, in 1863, of the Navajo defeat by Colonel Kit Carson.

Canyon de Chelly, USA
Monument Valley, USA

Everyone must be familiar with Monument Valley. Filmed since the 1930s and especially by Director John Ford.

A bristlecone pine, the thousand year old wooden thermometer that formed the basis of the infamous Hockey Stick graph, now discredited, that Mann, Bradley & Hughes published in the IPCC 1995 report.

Bristlecone Pine, USA
Kiet Siel in Tsegi Canyon, USA

The Navajo National Monument contains pueblos built by the Ancestral Pueblo People also known as the Anasazi, before they lost out to the invading Navajo.

Bryce Canyon is quite distinctive because of the “hoodoos” formed by frost and stream erosion. It was originally settled by a Mormon called Ebeneezer Bryce until he and his family left for Arizona.

Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, USA
USA Camper Trip

The Grand Canyon South Rim at sunset. Known as Ongtupqa in the Hopi language it was revered as a holy site by the Pueblo people.

Sunset at the Grand Canyon South Rim with Chief Mate
Grand Canyon layers, USA

Five or six million years of erosion by the Colorado river has formed a canyon that is one mile deep. You can see at least eleven of the eighteen geological layers of different coloured rock.

Williams is the junction for the Grand Canyon RR where it joins the Albuquerqe to Los Angeles main line.
This was where we joined the old Route 66.

Williams on Route 66, USA
Cars in Seligman, USA

Seligman, on Route 66, is a living exhibit of cars and clothes from the 1960s. For added interest there is a diner called “Roadkill Cafe” and all the dishes are given amusing names!

Flagstaff is the home of the Lowell Observatory. Both Pluto and Charon were discovered here. It is an ideal spot due to altitude, climate and low light scatter.

Street Art in Flagstaff, USA
Dar's Diner in Winslow, USA

Dar’s Route 66 Diner in Winslow is a beautiful recreation of a ‘60s diner.  The food and decorations are all in keeping and it is possible to feel that Elvis might walk in.

“Take It Easy” performed by the Eagles is the subject of the statue in Winslow. “Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me”.

The Eagles in Winslow, USA
Rex Allen in Willcox, USA

Willcox, Cochise County AZ was once a major cattle town. It was the birthplace of Rex Allen, known as “The Arizona Cowboy”, singer and filmstar.

Saguaro National Park is divided into two parts, East of Tucson is a collection of cactii and tens of thousands of acres of the saguaro plants.

Saguaro in Saguaro Park, USA
Ocelot in Saguaro Park, USA

The second part of the park lies to the West of Tucson and contains a small collection of local animals. An ocelot demonstrates why so many people wanted fur coats made from them.

A hummingbird, very difficult to catch in action, which despite their small size will migrate from Washington state to Mexico.

Hummingbird in Saguaro Park, USA
USA Camper Trip

The Tombstone stage. Historic town for Western buffs and setting for the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” and the film of 1957.

Tombstone Stage, USA
Boot Hill Graveyard, USA

Boothill cemetery where the dead from OK Corral and other gunfights were buried. Also there are the remains of the five robbers who took part in the Bisbee Massacre.

Bisbee is a mining town and has suffered the ups and downs in the value of copper. In 2013 production restarted with copper and gold production.

Bisbee mining equipment, USA
Bisbee street scene, USA

Bisbee once won the title of “Quirkiest Town” and has many old cars, gas stations and workshops. The Bisbee Breakfast Club or BBC is definitely worth a visit for a meal.

After 7500 miles of fun and thirty three American breakfasts in diners, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona we arrived at our destination.

The Patagonia railway station, sadly without trains these days.

Patagonia Railroad Station, USA
PIGS in Patagonia, USA

If you are not in love with Political Correctness the Patagonia gas station’s name will make you chuckle.
Hiring a car in Tucson took us back North to Seattle again.