Morning came with a realization that we were in a campground much like Grover Hot Springs, only without any springs. It was several blocks of paved spots with picnic tables and water spickets. There were even showers if you had the $. But most of all there was some light foliage all around with warm sun rays hinting from just behind a hill. Ryan says if you dropped him off there without him knowing where it was, he would say it is the Eastern Sierras.
Just a mile away was a completely different view. Now that we had daylight we took a couple windshield shots of the rock formations.
Back in downtown Sedona we asked a 4 wheel drive shop if they could press the u-joint out of the drive shaft and press our spare one in. The first shop was all full working on the pink tourist jeeps and suggested a place down the street.
Redrock Precision Motor had us take out the drive shaft and then take a walk while they got down to business. Sedona had several random hiking trails off the street so we took Penny out for a bit.
We got back and sat in the shade while Penny lopped up some water. The guy in the shop said our spare part was the wrong size. Well that’s good to know now! He said he can get the right one the next day. He also said to keep Penny close while on the trail because wolves and coyotes like to take dogs. His Boxer even got attacked once. Oh, and watch out for ants, they are bad for dog paws!
We had plans of course and thought we would call around in Flagstaff, since that would be our final destination. All of the parts stores said they could have it the next day. So, new plan was to go to Mormon Lake Campground and set up, then go to Flagstaff and order the part.
As it turns out, since our rear drive shaft was out, we had to be in front wheel drive with the short front drive shaft. Pavement was ridiculously unsafe and so we took to the dirt. At least if we broke something it would be at five miles an hour and not 50. Ben was with us to make sure we didn’t actually break down alone.
Pulling trailers up muddy hills in front wheel drive soon proved to be a hard task and after several sad attempts, and popping the drive shaft out and in again, Ben’s poor Ford had to take the trailer. With spotty reception, we realized that we would not make it to Flagstaff in time to order the parts and neither would Danny, who had offered to order it on his way from LA area. So we did what we should have done first and paid for it over the phone. Literally one min before Danny had tried that same thing. At any rate, it would be there the next day.
We were ecstatic but overwhelmed to finally make it into camp. The Lodge was set up for all kinds of overlanders including horse people, bicyclists, motorcyclists, small vehicles and military sized ones. With or without trailers or tents.
Horses did not spend all their time here, they ended up in a pasture where they ran around and kicked up their heals.
There was a swarm of confused participants trying to check in and the people detecting foot traffic were very helpful and efficient. We all separated between exhibitors, people who purchased classes, and regular weekend pass people.
Once the parking fiasco was over, we took a look around. There were too many amazing rigs just in the parking lot alone! And amazing tents. One of my favorite tents was a teepee with buffalo painted on it. Ryan met a bunch of people from online forums he uses. It was great foe him to put faces to names.
I don’t think I met one person who was snobby or somehow unpleasant. Each one was great and had his or her own stories and experiences. All of them came to learn and to see what other ingenious ideas were out there. Even bathroom line conversation tuned to something positive.
Our neighbors were from Albuquerque, the ones across were speaking another language and there were some Canadians, South Africans, and Europeans close by. A tidbit about New Mexico is that a surprising amount of people don’t know it’s a US state. Can you imagine? What are people learning in school anyway…
Dogs were everywhere and welcome just about everywhere. Despite this, Penny still missed her couch. She was a little overwhelmed but so much activity but she did get to sniff several dog butts. She met an Irish Wolf Hound, a Great Dane, and several cattle dogs, Labs and the like. She also made sure that no people had food for her.
After we set up camp, met up with Danny and fooled around for a while we were sure grateful to have borrowed a gas campfire from Dom for this trip. We’ll have to pick one up foe ourselves soon. It’s nice to have fire without the sparks, especially when the campground has made rules about it.
The giant meadow, or lake bed, we were camped in was surrounded by pine trees and mountains.