While Waiting – Walnut Canyon National Monument (NPS) and Sunset Crater Volcanic National Monument (NPS)

10/12/16 (Wednesday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

We sure enjoy LaQuinta’s breakfast. John’s favorite part is the waffles you make yourself. I love the hard boiled eggs. So few hotel breakfasts include protein. They also have orange juice, hot chocolate along with coffee plus lots of fruit and cereals/muffins/rolls. After that great start to our day, knowing that the part wouldn’t even arrive until noon or so, we decided to enjoy some natural features.

Walnut Canyon National Monument. Yes, Walnut trees grew here as well as Pinion Pine and Prickly Pear Cactus


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Above is an artist’s rendition of early Sinagua Indian cave dwellers. Note the river below. They’d collect and store the water in the spring. They practiced dry land farming at the rimtop, where it was relatively flat with pockets of deep soil.

Artist’s rendition of early Sinagua Indian cave dwellers. Note the river below. They’d collect and store the water in the spring. They practiced dry land farming at the rimtop, where it was relatively flat with pockets of deep soil.


This trail was steep: 185 ft at 6,900 ft altitude, with about 240 stairs. As we began, descending from the rimtop, we saw people seriously breathing hard as they passed us, ascending! With that warning, we went slowly as we ascended. Great exercise. We saw this tarantula scramble from the steps to the side as we were coming up.

Our good part came in somewhere around noon, when, it seems, the mechanics take their lunch. We stopped in after having our lunch at LaFonda to ask for an update. With the rig torn down already and this being a 2 hour job you’d think they’d only have an hour or so left to work on it. Well they confirmed that our part came in and someone was working on it. Considering how it seems they take way longer to do anything here, we went to another feature, Sunset Crater Volcanic National Monument.

When we arrived at the Visitor Center we were vastly entertained by 2 cute Abert’s squirrels, at one point chasing each other even into the road, as squirrels are likely to do.

Below, Volcanic rock called “a’a” along a small Lava Flow Trail.


Along another trail through cinder cones.


This image is of a line of cinder cones that ran from the Sunset Crater Volcano.


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This image is of the volcano just to the right of the line of cones.


It was around 3:30 when we left. John figured if we took our time getting the car fueled we should get to Freightliner by 4 and surely they’d be done then. Not exactly. They still needed to do a Quality Control check. OK. So we went to their lounge where I laid down on their huge comfy man sized recliners. An hour later we hadn’t heard anything so I went to the office. Hmm our RV neighbor was getting his paperwork. They’d gotten his part when they got ours. So while I waited until they were finished with his I went out back to see what was happening at our rig. It was just sitting there, with the power cords still connected. Once our RV neighbor left I then pressed for our status. Yes, they said it was ready and he would have called us sooner but that gentleman had rather rudely insisted on getting his paperwork first. Ah, this happened to us before at Camping World, where work on our rig was redirected to another’s rig because those owners were firmly insistent. Even though this upsets me it still reconfirms my resolve not to be the one who pushes aside others in line for my own desires/needs. Because it was after 5 now, only this one guy was handling all the office work. I noted how hard it must be, to have this shift when people are irritated and they have only one person to peal their case. He said he’d just been informed that he could start the morning shift on Monday, so I high fived him. The whole office staff seemed helpful, but he was especially. He even noted that he’d volunteered to fill in when they needed someone on that late shift. I said “Really?”. He said he was a team player. Nice guy. The manager wasn’t there, nor the lady who’d communicated that he’d reimburse us for the hotel receipt. So Rick (our nice guy) called the manager (at home?) to get verification. Interestingly, the way the manager’s handling it is by sending us a check to our home address. So we’ll see. Still, I appreciate the manager offering the reimbursement without even hearing my argument for it. As for the mechanics, they may be doing a good job but we’ve been seriously underwhelmed by their efforts. Sort of like the Les Schwab mechanics are rabbits while the Freightliner mechanics are turtles. You can even see them amble from one place to another. We wonder if they’re union. I believe unions once had their place but when their power is abused, that upsets me.

Finally!! After 3 days our 2 hour job has been completed. We can leave. Of course now it was 5:30 and the sun was set when John moved the coach back to our site. Such a relief, knowing we’re at home for the night and can leave in the morning. Plus, since there were no other RVs in this RV parking place, John connected our power cord to their 20 amp cord that had been in use for a rig next to us that was uninhabited.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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