Traveling from coast-to-coast puts you in the middle of some very interesting places . . .
We took the slow route from Goosenecks State Park to Las Vegas, and meandered along the Utah/Arizona border. First to Kanab, Utah, then down to the infamous Colorado City, Arizona.
This town of just 4,000 or so residents is ground zero for the nation’s largest enclave of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) followers in the country. FL-who you say?
Remember the arrest of Warren Jeffs, the FLDS leader and dirty old man arrested for rape, incest and polygamist marriages to more than 80 women? Well, he might be serving a life sentence in prison but his tight-knit, welfare-sucking-U.S.-government-hating cult is still thriving and under his spell in this creepy cult town.
After learning about FLDS practices in Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith I really wanted to see Colorado City up-close and walk around a bit, but Jim got a bad feeling and wouldn’t stop.
Now, I’m glad we didn’t. Apparently the town is covered with a network of hidden security cameras used by FLDS leaders to spy on everyone from visitors to residents.
Yes folks, right here in the Land of the Free, you can still form your own religious cult on American soil, use government funds to feed your hordes of inbred children and buy new pickup trucks, while simultaneously proclaiming that the Feds are the devil and your wives are your property.
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Life is good, and warm. Last week we went from this 30 degree weather in South Park Colorado.
To the refuge of Southern Utah.
80 degrees and loving it.
and in the process of picking up stakes
from this isolated boondocking spot
We traversed across the Utah / Arizona border and saw
the horrific reality of what’s happened to the Colorado River.
As we headed to Las Vegas to play zombie for Jim’s birthday
I couldn’t help but wonder what Edward Abbey would think.
And on we roll . . .
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Last week after fleeing another snow storm at Jerry’s Acres and descending down into Fort Collins to say goodbye to friends and family, we woke up to this:
Unfortunately that morning we had a 9 AM appointment to get our trailer axles aligned. Little did we know how much dealing with three inches of snow on the RV rooftop would slow us down.
After breaking camp, the last task was to retract the slide. I pushed the button, but no luck. The slide rooftop was weighed down with heavy, wet snow that wouldn’t budge.
The clock was ticking, we had to get going. What did we do? Well, see for yourself:
Yes, that’s Jim standing on a crate placed on top of an icy picnic table. Not the smartest thing to do, but it was our only option. When brushing the snow with a broom didn’t help, he got out the hose and watered it down. Bingo! We were on our way and only 20 minutes late.
And now we know why so many RVers carry ladders!
With that learning experience behind us, we’re headed west to warmer places where we won’t be dealing with his kind of scenario for a long, long time. See you in the desert!
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Every year we push our luck here at Jerry’s Acres, until finally the view outside looks like this.
Obviously, this is a clear indication that it’s time to get moving.
Preparing to fly away for winter takes about two weeks. Our punch list looks like this:
- Clean the RV
- Pack the RV
- Run errands in the big city (vet, doctor, grocery, etc.)
- Perform last-minute honey-dos on the truck, rig & cabin
- Get food out of the cabin kitchen, move it into RV
- Finish critical business-related activities and meet deadlines, since when we get on the road we’ll be out of commission for a few days as we settle into our new routine.
- Winterize all systems on the house
- Shut down, batten down the hatches and get the hell out!
It’s a lot easier to do all of this drudgery when we’re not being pummeled by snow but I’m not sure we’ll have that kind of luck this year. Winter seems to have settled in.
We’ve got some axle work that needs to be done on the RV after we leave here, then that’s it, we’re on the road until who knows when.
Look out sunbelt states. The journey is about to commence.
Hope to see you there!
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There are some places we’ve been to that just get into our soul. Stillwell Store is definitely one of them.
We didn’t make it down to the Big Bend last winter but we’ve been dreaming about Hallie Stillwell’s territory ever since. Our plan was to return this coming February for at least a month – or so we thought.
Sadly, in August Stillwell was sold to a buyer who reportedly wants to keep things the same while turning it into a hunting mecca. Cynicism abounds but time will tell. It was no secret the ranch was on the market, and we understood why it had to happen, but the sale still felt like a huge loss to the region.
And then tonight, we just got the heartbreaking news that Kay Pizzini (pictured below, behind the counter), Hallie Stillwell’s granddaughter and the last of the amazing line of tougher than nails Stillwell women who kept the operation going, suddenly died without warning. We are so sad and all we can say is, look out heaven, you’ve got some kick ass women in control now.
My heart is heavy for Kay’s family and the loss of such an incredible piece of history. We had just gotten to know the Stillwell magic and now, it’s gone. Another piece of the great American west, disappeared for good.
Godspeed Kay. Godspeed Stillwell Ranch.
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