Backroads camping (Destination Overland Expo in Coconino NF) Part One.

For the first time, I planned to go to Expo West in the Coconino National Forest. I just didn’t want to take I40 from Albuquerque to Flagstaff. What would be the point? Isn’t this all about the journey and not simply the destination? Anyway, I took the week off work and took a nap. Thursday morning rolled around and the weather forecast was for rain and snow. I looked at my pile ready to be packed in the 4Runner. I threw out the shorts and sandals – so much for the Arizona heat, I thought. I found my insulated coveralls and Sorrell’s snow boots. Hat, gloves, down sleeping blanket all found their way into the expanding pile.
Packing isn’t as easy at it used to be. Maybe its because I’m 47 and no longer want to live out of my backpack like I did for 4 yrs in my twenties. I folded down the seats and made up a bed in the back of the 4Runner with some memory foam, sleeping bag, three other thick comforters and a blanket. I then collected the foods, the one-ring burner, a bag of clothes, a bucket with dog food, leashes and tie-outs. Oh, and 3 gallons of water. That should do.

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I planned on taking my three dogs, Harold, Rosie, and Oliver. However, Little Stephen, the kitten wasn’t keen on being left at home.

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I locked him inside with Kristie Cat an hour before we left, just to make sure the little bugger didn’t hide away in the truck.

Off we went, taking Hwy 14 South through Tijeras and into Cibola NF.

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The road climbed through the mountains and traffic disappeared after crossing I40. We drove through Chilillee Land Grant, a small rural village with dogs wandering, old adobe homes, old pick up trucks and huge piles of firewood. In Torreon we pulled off the road and the dogs took a run and pee break. I finished my coffee. It was a cloudy cool day and reminded me of camping in Wales as a kid.

We finally hit US 60 and headed west. The road was completely empty, beautiful and straight.

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