Wednesday, January 16, 2019

It's About Time for an Update

We're two months in to our new home in Prescott. Furniture acquisition has been intense, lots of assembly required and cardboard to dispose of. We're pretty much done with that phase. There have been a few new appliances, lots of new blinds, a new roof is coming soon. Interior painting is ongoing.

We spent Christmas in San Diego and brought back a LOT of artwork that had been stored for over six years. We had way more art stored than we the place really looks and feels like home.

Our yard is full of a variety of native oaks and young pinyon pine but had been neglected for some years. We've been tackling it in bits, hauling heavy loads of yard debris to the local transfer station. We're using muscles we haven't used in years!

We've got a lovely view out most of our windows overlooking a bird paradise where we've seen no less that a dozen types of birds passing through in waves all day.

Here's a few photos from the past couple of months.

From one phase to another.
The RV spent a week here for unloading and clean up.
Then the truck and the trailer were traded in for a new F150.

That's the old hot tub upside down, Hans is holding one of four gopher snakes that were living under the tub..
This will eventually be the site of a small veggie garden.

We had to end-over-end this beast to our haul away site.

Fellow RVers Dave and Shannon had the honor of being our first guests on Thanksgiving one week after we moved in.

We've managed a few hikes here and there. This is Granite Mountain from the NW side on a perfect winter day. 

We arrived home from San Diego the night before a good snow storm...5" in 24 hours. We were excited to be home for our first snow, it was awesome!

Our first snow storm!

Rosie does not like snow.

Completely unimpressed.

Snowy driveway looking out to the front gate.

Hans carried Rosie out into the white stuff and put her down.

Making a bee line back to the house.

Back yard boulders.

A pretty driveway in the neighborhood.

View of Granite Mountain as we walk the snowy neighborhood.

Before we picked up our stuff from San Diego we wondered how we would fill the shelves below and other built-in shelves in the house. It turned out not to be a problem...

We got in another hike before a second snow storm, this time among the boulders at Willow Lake.

Quail avoid the snow near Willow Lake.

Snow lingers on the Willow Lake trails.

Landscape projects will be ongoing for months. Fortunately decomposed granite is easy to dig.
This deep hole will hold grass that we are removing from the front yard and replacing with rock.

Walking through the neighborhood one afternoon we commented that we hadn't seen any javelina for weeks.
These three were hanging out in the very next yard we passed!

Big stretch!

We walk Rosie around the property every day...she loves it!

This transition from RV to house has felt more overwhelming than the previous move from house to RV. That's probably because we had no furniture and the place felt so big and empty when we first arrived. Now that it's full of new furniture and our personal items from storage it feels like home.

That's the latest from Prescott. Cheers!

Friday, November 16, 2018

It's Metamorphosis Time!

We didn't name our blog Metamorphosis Road for nothing...we wanted to cover whatever lifestyle changes we dreamed up in our post-work life.

In August 2012 we both retired early, sold most of our belongings and our house in San Diego and moved temporarily to Oregon where we became residents (thanks to Chantal). In a few short weeks we had purchased our truck and soon after our Montana fifth wheel and on September 10, 2012 officially became fulltimers.

We said we'd fulltime for at least three years before we made any, more than six years later we're making the transition back into a house.

One thing we did not anticipate when we embarked on this journey was how difficult it would be to decide where we would land. Sure, as retirees, our options are wide open, seemingly anywhere could be home. But the reality is we each have our personal desires and requirements that influence our final decision.

For us those parameters were, in no particular order, a mild four-season climate, good access to trails, decent shopping options, progressive vibe, and reasonable proximity to San Diego where most of our family and friends live.

We've spent the past couple of years visiting and analyzing various towns and small cities looking for the right fit. What we've discovered along the way is that there is no perfect place! There is no one place that ticks all the boxes.

Prescott moved to the top of the heap for a number of reasons:

The Trails! With 80+ miles of trails and growing, this town takes its trails seriously! Plus the surrounding area is chock full of fabulous places to explore.

The Climate: Prescott says it has five seasons, including monsoon season, but they are relatively mild. It may snow a handful of times each winter but rarely does it last longer than 24 hours. It's also rarely supposed to hit 100 degrees in the summer. Of course, we've never spent a winter or summer here but if we ever find the weather to be too extreme, we can drive an hour to Flagstaff for cooler temps, or an hour south to warmer temps in the desert.

The shopping: Trader Joes, Costco, Sprouts, Target...need I say more?

Proximity to San Diego: In less than seven hours we can visit family and friends by car which means we can take Rosie too. And, as the local airport grows, flying may become an option as well, though it's never our fist choice for travel.

All of the reasons we like Prescott also make it a desirable place to lots of people. The real estate market is tight, inventory is low and competition for anything good that comes up can be fierce. When a nice looking property came up in a neighborhood we'd been eyeing, we ended up having to jump on it quickly just to have a chance.

Our new home has something different than we've ever had before: acreage. It is a three bedroom, two bath on 1.6 mostly natural acres. The property is full of oak trees and shrubs and javelina and deer roam the neighborhood. The Williamson Valley trailhead is one mile away. We think it's going to be really peaceful.

As of November 13th we are no longer fulltimers. Our current RV set up is going to be traded in on a new truck and over time we'll decide what our RVing future looks like. For now, we intend to immerse ourselves in outfitting our new home and integrating ourselves into our new community.

We cannot believe how much STUFF we had in the RV!!! We'd kind of forgotten how intense moving is. This is a really big transition, as big as moving into the RV was. It's going to take a while to feel completely right.

Welcome to a new chapter of Metamorphosis Road!

The grass area is the only non-native part of the property...I will remove that and replace with natives.
Hans loves having a three car garage!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Wash Walking in Cottonwood and Sedona

Geez, I was doing so good posting here...then we moved down to Cottonwood and all my good intentions to post regularly went out the window!

Prescott sits at around 5,300 feet elevation, so we'd planned to move down to Cottonwood (at 3,500 feet) in October before it starts getting super cold at night. This way we're less than an hour from Prescott to easily continue our home search.

We've been hiking daily in both Cottonwood and Sedona and it seems just about every trail has included a lot of walking in washes. The heavy monsoon season the area experienced this year, coupled with some recent thunderstorms have kept many washes damp and lush with green growth and some major washes have been swept by massive flash flooding.

We're staying at the brand new Rain Spirit RV Resort in Cottonwood, and while our site is definitely too close to the neighbors, the park is clean and convenient to all the Verde Valley has to offer.

View of Dry Creek Wash from the Chuckwagon Trail in Sedona.

So many colorful views in Sedona!

Hans is showing how high the water got in Dry Creek Wash during summer monsoons!

We added the spur to Devils Bridge onto our Chuckwagon loop...
braved the crowds on this popular trail, now I can say "been there, done that".

We can access the Verde River just half a mile from our RV park and follow a trail into Tuzigoot National Monument and on into Dead Horse Ranch State Park for a nice 4+ mile hike.

The Verde River is flowing higher than we've ever seen it.

Enormous old Fremont Cottonwood.

Exposed honeycomb.

Turtle in one of the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch SP.

Morning reflection on Dead Horse Ranch lagoon.

The Cliffrose trailhead off Mingus Ave. on the eastern edge of Cottonwood has turned out to be a nice place to hike on days we don't want to drive far. Though it doesn't seem like much at first glance, it turns out there are several small trails that head off the main loop and go for miles into the surrounding desert. We've managed a couple of five mile loops and can easily add mileage if we want to.

One gray day not long after a good rain we decided to walk up a wash off the Cliffrose trail.
This wash, like many in the area, has a sudden drop off a limestone ledge as it cuts through the desert.

Another limestone pour over...
sometimes in deep washes they are difficult to bypass, this one was easy to navigate.

The plants are all very happy from all the rain they've received this year.
Abundant animal prints tell us the critters are happy too!

Love all the colors and textures in this landscape!

Grasses soften this section of wash.

We saw perhaps a dozen of these large holes dug under bushes in the wash...I wonder who lives here?

The unassuming beginning of a wash.

There are still patches of flowers scattered throughout the desert thanks to all the water received this summer.

We hiked the Girdner Trail in SW Sedona one day to experience another section of Dry Creek Wash. It was easy to see there had been severe flash flooding during monsoon season.

We could tell this large wash had flooded at least six feet deep...probably more!

All the grass on the left was flattened by rushing water.

One of the first signs of fall we've seen, with six feet of debris washed up against it.

The last hike we did was a repeat of a favorite Sedona hike: Hangover Trail. This time we chose to hike the loop portion clockwise, giving us the steep uphill early in the hike when it was nice and cool. What a difference from the last time we hiked this March with Linda on a very blustery, cold day!

We gain our first saddle and views of NE Sedona open up before us.

Traversing the Hangover.

Nearing our second saddle, Hans stands under a Hangover.

Almost there!

From the saddle it's almost impossible to see the trail we'd just traveled in the line of forest just below the top.

We make our way across the top of the slope on the other side of the saddle.

One more wash to follow as we make our way back to Munds Wagon Trailhead.

Happy trails!