Archive for April, 2011

You’ve Got Mail

April 26th, 2011

An unusual mailbox in Miami, FL
I have always been a resident of Florida. I had always planned to be. That is, until I realized how much I could really be saving as a resident of South Dakota. Turns out, my car/house insurance could be cut in half. Neither Florida nor SD have state income tax or yearly vehicle inspections so that’s a wash, but it would cost half as much to register my truck each year in SD. Unfortunately, all the stuff we heard about health insurance being cheaper doesn’t seem to hold true. The prices were comparable to our current plans in Florida (which btw have gone up 50% in the last three year w/o any claims.).

We have been pretty happy with our current mail forwarding service. They are only $15/mo for up to five mailings a month whether they are scheduled or on demand. They discard all junk mail and only send us items that are first class or higher. We can also call and see what mail they have for us at any time of day. We are bit leery of switching to another. As far as I know, there are seven mail forwarding services to chose from. So, now we get to the true point of this post: Are any of our readers residents of South Dakota? Do any of you have experiences or opinions on the mail forwarding/residency services in South Dakota.

West Clear Creek Trail

April 24th, 2011


This trail is supposed to be 7.5 miles long and according to the forest service, it should take about 4.5 hours to complete. That’s like 1.6 miles an hour. They rate it as Easy/Strenuous. In reality, The hike is easy/moderate if you are traveling in one direction. I you are traveling in the other, the trail becomes difficult at around the 5 mile mark when you start the 1800′ elevation trek up Bald Hill (understatement!).

Our experience was a bit different. After about 3.75 hours of hiking and four stream crossings, we had gone about 4.5 miles. That’s around 1.2 miles an hour. Not too bad considering the elevation changes and the scenery that constantly beckons you to stop and try to take it all in.

The trail is very diverse. We started out at Bull Pen Dispersed Camping area (car camping). The first part of the trail was a flat and sandy white sycamore forest situated along the creek. There are hike in dispersed campsites all along the trail. If you stay on the main trail, which can be hard to do with all the the offshoots to campsites, it will eventually open up to a flat, grassy/shrubby valley where you will walk past the old bull pen ranch house.

West Clear Creek Trailhead - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ
West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ

West Clear Creek Trail - Camp Verde, AZ

The trail makes it way back down to the river. When it does, it takes you to a very special place. I couldn’t capture the beauty of this part of the trail on my camera phone. The pictures don’t do it justice. There are crystal clear swimming holes with red rock sunning areas. Here, the red rock canyon walls are decorated with yellow columbine, prickly pear, scarlet monkey flower, and other plants that create a hanging garden and gives the area a tropical feel. Soon, you will find yourself wondering if you will be able to edge along the canyon wall. That’s when you will spot your first rock cairn which signifies the first creek crossing. Watch for those cairns. Otherwise, it can be easy to get turned around at creek crossings. They are rocky and you cannot see the trail as well. The trail crosses the creek again shortly after the first crossing. Continue Reading »

Ice Cream Social, And You’re Invited!

April 22nd, 2011

Come get social with us. We’re hanging out on Facebook and Twitter. We have been updating our Facebook page almost daily. Sorry, the ice cream is a lie.
Do you have a Facebook page or Twitter account? Please tell us about it.

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The Big Room

April 15th, 2011


Strange day today. It’s our first day back in the desert after a nice week in the mountains around Prescott. Rain and I went out for a walk this morning and stumbled into a cave.

By stumbled, I mean we were well inside of it before we even realized we were caving. We were just walking along a wash, minding our own business when a room full of formations jumped out and nearly tripped me.

As near as I can tell, we’re camped on top of an ancient cave system, whose roof has eroded and collapsed, leaving the entire cave open to the sky. You can still see many formations and someone has been spending their spare time putting the pieces together… literally.


Broken pieces of stalagmites have been stacked together in what might initially look like random rock stacking. Upon closer inspection though, it is easy to see that these ‘stacks’ are in fact a reconstruction.

The entire area seems like a geologist’s playground. I think we’ll do some more exploring tomorrow.

Snow Good

April 10th, 2011

I have to admit it. I normally detest snow but for some reason I was secretly excited about the prospect of snow up here on the mountain. It turned out to be everything I was hoping. When we woke up on Saturday everything was covered in at least 4″s of snow. It was so beautiful! The following pictures here taken a few hours later, after the snow started melting off.

Priorities! Notice the squeaky clean solar panel - Prescott, AZ
Alx (AKA David Driter) hiding from the snow - Prescott, AZ

Our rig was snowed in, as was our camp mate Alx‘s rig.

Our white campsite - Prescott, AZ
Our beautiful white campsite - Prescott, AZ

The campsite was pretty well dusted.

Could not have been in a better place during the snow storm - Prescott, AZ
Rain loves hiking in the snow - Prescott, AZ

Nothing stops Rain’s morning walk…. err hike! She’s not happy unless it takes at least two hours.

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