This weekend was action packed. Even the furnace-like heat of Arizona mid-summer could not fizzle the whirlwind of activities.
Saturday afternoon, we headed off to the Verde River with an ambitious plan--- to float from Dead Horse Ranch, where Tavasci Marsh pours in, all the way to the River Front Park.
In distance this isn't very long, maybe 2 miles from point to point by road-- but the way the river meanders everything always takes longer down there. Time slows down. Long looping detours.
Chad, Tim, Ruth Ellen and I shuttled in the bus from their vehicle left at Riverfront Park, so we had cars at both ends.
Many problems with the overall plan Saturday. Sounded good in discussion, but the actual execution was a bit more complicated. I think we all imagined an easy float, a steady current, just kicking back in our tubes, sipping cans of beer. However, to call it a "float" would be a stretch. It was not like that. It was more like a "paddle/ struggle/ sink and slice". First off, the river wasn't moving much at any of these locations. To get anywhere we had to kick and paddle, or risk circling in the same spot all day. The occasional breeze was blowing against us, blowing us backwards.
We got "jackpotted" several times. Jackpotted is an expression my Grandpa used to use, often times in reference to traffic conditions, and most frequently when a CTA bus would pull out in front of him-- basically it means, getting stuck, thrown for a loop-- jackpotted. Sometimes the river would just disappear, change routes, dead end-- we'd ended up in some sub-channel of the Verde and needed to portage our our rafts to a new spot to relaunch. I preferred saying "portage" with a French accent for a humorous effect. Por-tajjjjj. Tim said, "What's with this French thing? If you say portage one more time I am going to punch you in the face."
They brought along a raft just for their picnic cooler--full of fruit, chips, garden grown veggies, beers and margarita mixed up in a jug. They tugged it along by a rope, like a pet, and named it "Boozer", as in "Come along, lil' Boozer..." It was pretty tricked out!
My boat had a slow leak the entire time. Like before we even left the house Chad noticed it--he patched it 4 times, but the patches kept falling off. Hearing a "glub glub glub" bubbling under me throughout the trip was a lil' bit disconcerting. Later, Ruth Ellen's raft started to spew out great bursts of bubbles.
I spent much of the last part of the trip swimming alongside my raft, my camera gear and our small cooler taking my place on the mesh seat. Kicking through the cold, fresh, green-smelling river, tangling my ankles in weeds and other things too dark to see at the bottom. There are some long sections of river that are over 6 feet deep, with cold ribbons of current running through like a wonderful treat on a 105 degree summer day.
We made note of these swimming holes for future adventures.
For some reason, there's an abundance of old cars lining the banks of the Verde. Very vintage--I've seen 1930s-1960s. Someone once told me that back in the day people frequently used them as some kind of ridiculous erosion control.
We never made it to Riverfront Park. After one last wicked portajjjjjj left us all sliced up with green reeds and weeds as sharp as paper cuts, we made an early exit near what we figured was the "Jail Trail" in Old Town. Exhausted, all of us. Bleery eyed, hot, sliced to bits. Not what we had expected, but so much fun anyway. An adventure!
Tim and Ruth made us a delicious dinner on the barbecue, and that night we all sleep like rocks.
Sunday. Flagstaff. Meredith said it got down to 72 degrees up there. I thought it was in the 80s. Whatever it was, it felt cool to us, and we were all happy to be away from the Verde Valley heat, if only for an afternoon.
The reason for the Flagstaff trip was a board meeting for the Noise. http://www.thenoise.us/.
Alpine Pizza, for free pizza and beer (-Charles' sales pitch to get us all to attend).
Here are a few of the fine folks that bring you the Noise...
Bobby Carlson, Kyle Boggs, Aaron Levy, Charles Seiverd, and Meredith Seiverd...standing on Leroux Street, downtown Flagstaff.
Chad didn't want to go to Flagstaff, so I carpooled with Kahlil in his zippy 1962 Beetle.
"40 horses and they're all running at once!"
We laughed and laughed. All the way there and all the way back. I met Kahlil in 1997 or 1998, so he and I go way back-- he was one of the first people to befriend me when we moved to Jerome.
Tangled up in my day to day life, I sometimes forget what an awesome and hilarious person he is, so it was fun to hang out with him and act goofy. We get the giggles. Laughing about crazy nonsense! He really is the heart of our Ghostwagens car club, and keeps everyone together, everything running smoothly.
After the meeting we walked around downtown. Someone conned me into buying this ridiculous $7.00 "gold" chain with a giant dollar $ign on it, from Incahoots. So obnoxious! We laughed about my bling all the rest of the afternoon, how I was gonna show up back in Clarkdale with it swinging from my neck, saying, "Yo Chad, check me out! I'm back from the big city!" Everyone was cracking up imagining what Chad's reaction would be.
The cold alpine air of the Colorado Plateau felt great- especially after a brief downpour--
The wet Ponderosa forest smell reminded me of August 1995 when Chad and I first arrived, and lived in the forest in our camper. A very sweet and lovely time, full of adventures.
A side trip up to see pals at the Flagstaff KOA, before we hit the road for the long ride back to the valley. Home by 7:30pm. Chad's reaction to my $ bling? Nothing more than a raised eyebrow.