Autumn in Arizona

Continuing our annual servicing of motorhome components, I tackled the Oasis system. This is a diesel burner, which gives us hot water, heat for the interior and heat in the “basement” to keep water tanks from freezing. (We also have electric heating pads under the tanks to prevent freezing… a little redundancy never hurts.)

So the Oasis needs its burner orifice cleaned, its multiple fuel filters changed, and its air filter changed. Unlike last week’s adventures, this went very well. Very exciting to have it work well after servicing, and no violent leaks or anything spilled!

Another task I’ve been putting off was replacing the catches on some panels in the rear bathroom. The big one covers removable panels for engine access. The smaller panel covers a heating unit. You can see how hot water from the Oasis runs through tubes in this small radiator, and a fan then blows air through it to warm up the bathroom. Both panels were held in place with cheap plastic catches which cracked and broke, so I replaced them with magnetic catches. Now they seem to stay well, and look great. If they should come loose while driving, I’ll just have to add some more magnetic catches.

My brother-in-law has been looking for a travel trailer for a long time, and finally found and purchased one… in Phoenix, while he lives in Lincoln, Nebraska! (He had friends in that area check it out). Then circumstances changed and they were not able to go get it when they had planned. So we said, “We can go get it, and take it to you!” (We say so many silly things!)

So we needed to leave Houston a little sooner than we had planned. We asked our new friends Pete and Cindy to come over the night before we left. Cindy asked if she could make a pie for our dinner! Silly Question!! The pie was great, and the company greater! We left the next morning bound for Phoenix.

We saw a car on the side of the freeway, with flames shooting well over the top of the car! We arrived about the same time as police, and before any firetrucks. The car appeared empty. All traffic stayed as far away as we could.

We spent a night in Sonora, Texas. A walk around in the evening revealed a Bronco’s Stadium a little smaller than the one in Denver.

Once when we stopped for a bit of supplies, we went for a walk. Saw the Geico building, and their clever covered parking, with the shades all being solar panels. The incredible number of solar panels must be a really significant power source.

The trailer pulled really well. Slightly intimidating when passing others, but I don’t do that too often! The hardest part was that Cherryl had to follow along, driving the Suburban. 1,200 miles driving separately! Sigh.

Our first night was spent at the Verde Ranch RV Resort, in Camp Verde, Arizona. It is a fairly new RV park, and had plenty of room for our huge “Train”, lots of beautiful RV’s, and a series of walks along the river. Autumn in Arizona can be stunning!

Our next stop was Grants, New Mexico. A two night stay let us tour the area – yes, there is a lot to see in Grants!

We spent our day in the El Malpais national monument. A very nice information center, which we were not allowed in! When we entered the foyer, a man behind the second glass door talked to us through a speaker, and guided us to requested maps in a rack on our side of the glass. He was very nice and helpful, and in fact seemed glad to have someone to talk to. A whole huge museum was visible behind him, and no people allowed in. Seemed very strange.

El Malpais (Mal-pie-EES) is a fascinating geological wonderland…

First stop was a huge sandstone mesa, with surprisingly deep drop-offs to the desert floor below.

We saw no hieroglyphics, but did see this strange marking on the rocks…

La Ventana is a natural arch at the edge of a mesa. A surprisingly strenuous hike to the base of it gave a viewpoint that had us soon forget the bit of a walk.

Lava Falls Trail heads out over a huge barren lava field. Who would have guessed?

It looks like there is a sheet of lava twenty feet thick, which buckled and cracked in absurd fashions. Some areas look like bubbling mud pots, like you see in Yellowstone. Where the layers cracked you can look down twenty feet or so.

Across this amazing surface, the trail was marked by these Cairns. Some were small – only 3 or 4 rocks. Some were very tall works of art! We were told not to proceed from one cairn till we could see the next. It would sometimes be hard to find the next cairn – the rocks blend into the background or hide behind a bush. I even thought about this as a life lesson… God often guides us, not by showing us the whole route, but just one step at a time. It’s only when we take that step, or make that first move, when we can see the next step. Faith and patience are both required.

We were told to look in the cracks for ferns. It seemed impossible – ferns in this inhospitable place? Near the end of the trail we finally found some. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but that’s 20 feet or so down. I enjoyed this huge buckled “pavement.”

Our day at El Malpais was very interesting. And it meant we were a third of the way to the trailer’s new home! Wow! Still a lot of driving ahead…


  1. […] rig, but it was 135 feet long! (I had thought our 74 foot long rig from a few blogs ago was long! Autumn in Arizona) The 13 axle trailer is needed to spread the weight out far enough to drive on public roads. The […]

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