On January 7, another snow storm had moved into the area and I’d waited until the afternoon of the 8th for the road to clear. I finally left Cottonwood and started on my way to Prescott, via Hwy 89A. I hadn’t done any research on the road or the drive, I tend to just go and see what unfolds. In this instance I got lucky with the road conditions, as this road winds up through the town of Jerome, and continues to be narrow with sharp bends for about another 11-miles, with a speed limit of 25 mph, partly because of the many sheer drop offs along the way. As the road gained in elevation it wound through pine trees, and the snow accumulation was heavier. There were a couple of slick spots, but for the most part the road was clear of snow and was just wet.
I wish it had been a nice sunny, dry, day, because Jerome looks like it would be fun to explore. The road through it had such sharp switchbacks it reminded me of some small villages in England that cling to the coastline, and where the houses are built on almost vertical cliffs, except this used to be a copper mining town. It actually claims to be America’s most vertical town, and largest ghost town. Next time I’m in the Sedona/Cottonwood area, I’m going to plan to visit Jerome and spend some time there.
In Prescott I enquired about the weather, and a place to camp for the night. More snow was in the forecast, and despite my request for a camping location that would not lead me into deep snow, that’s where the visitor center sent me. The road wound up into the mountains, and the snow got deeper and eventually reached a point that it wasn’t even plowed. With more snow in the forecast, I just pulled into the first place I found that it was safe and legal to park, and climbed into both of my sleeping bags. I was ready for a long, cold night. When I woke in the morning, it had snowed quite a bit. I’d deliberately parked my vehicle so I could get a good run out of there (as even in four-wheel-drive, a person can get stuck) and I made it out without any problems.
I had to decide what to do, stick around and explore Prescott (brrrrrr!), or keep going south. I checked on the routes and although I wanted to drive 89A to it’s surmise, I decided not to because it continued in the same fashion as before, and with snow in the forecast was not the wise choice. Instead I drove Hwy 69 to Interstate 17. I truly dislike interstates, but I had little choice this day. However, I got off on the first road I could so I could relax and enjoy the drive and scenery. I was once again in lower elevations, and the snow had turned to rain, with the occasional ray of sun peeking through the clouds. The scenery had changed too, and I was delighted to be looking at a landscape covered in enormous Saguaro and Ocotillo cactus. I felt like I was finally getting somewhere. Then I noticed that the washes crossing the road were beginning to fill up, and that the other cars were going really fast. I realized that if I didn’t get a move on, I too would risk being stranded between two washes for a while, so speeded up and raced the washes which were filling very quickly. You can see the water pooling on the desert soil in the images below. It was quite exhilarating.
By now I wasn’t very far from Quartzsite, but for some reason was hesitant to go straight there, so I camped that night in the desert, and the next day I drove the last leg to my planned destination. The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite, AZ. the RTR will be covered in the next post, and it’s a part of my journey I’m excited to share with you all.
Remember to savor the journey, but be willing to change the course when necessary.
Roxy ~ a Nomad for Nature