The drive from Tucson was a long one! When Melissa and I got to Cottonwood, we were both pretty exhausted.
As soon as we parked at Rio Verde RV Park and got out of the truck, we immediately fell in love with the environment. I’m not sure what it was exactly. Maybe it was the trees or the higher elevation, or perhaps we were just happy not to be driving anymore, but we immediately felt very comfortable there.
Initially, we were only going to stay here a couple of days and then move to Dead Horse State Park to save a little money. But after having been in so many state parks we decided it was worth it to get a good week and a half of hot showers and unlimited water. So we extended our stay until Saturday.
We still had work for the first few days, so we spent the afternoon checking out Cottonwood. We got pretty lucky, and all the restaurants we went to were delicious. Good restaurants are a requirement for our new house location. Some of the ones we visited were Mai Thai on Main Street, Pizzeria Bocce, Old Town Red Rooster Cafe, and COLT 804 Grill. Even the tiny olive oil store, Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders, did not disappoint.
It has a nice little downtown area with many little shops and things. It's not as big as Sedona of course, but still a very walkable location.
We also drove around many little neighborhoods and checked things out on realtor.com. It can be very hit or miss around here. Some places are full of trailer trash, and the next street is full of fancy houses. However, we noticed that as long as you were somewhat close to the river, you had plenty of trees, shade, and grass for free, which really helps in the middle of the day. If you go 100 feet up the hill, it's dry desert with only cactus for shade.
During the week, we also received some internet in the form of Starlink! So far, we had been cautious and checked everywhere we went ahead of time and ensured there would be plenty of cell coverage so we could work. With Starlink satellite internet, we should hopefully get super-fast internet no matter how remote we camp. Combined with our solar setup and water tanks, we should be able to park in a field miles away from any other humans for at least a whole week!
Over the weekend, we finally went up to Sedona. It’s about 30 minutes away, so pretty convenient.
Sedona lives up to the hype. When you get close to the city, the red rocks and mountains stand out and begin to look a little bit like Monument Valley, except with many more trees.
We did a couple of hikes here. The two that stand out are the Devils Bridge and Fay Canyon. Fay Canyon was a pleasant surprise, we went on a weekday after work hours, and it reminded Justin of a hike in Zion called Angels Landing. The canyon gave us a nice view of the valley we just hiked through, and you could still see some of those monument rocks sticking up around Sedona in the distance.
Devils Bridge was also pretty cool because it’s an arch you can hike up to the top of and walk across. It makes for terrific pictures because you have to walk around the bridge first and then across it giving you an excellent vantage point. The issue was the weekend; tons of people were out trying to do the hike. We arrived at 7 o’clock local time, and it was already packed. We had to listen to very hipster-sounding sorority girls for half of the hike, and they made it very hard to get our own pictures on the arch. Overall it was still a gorgeous spot; just avoid the crowds.
All the hikes around Sedona seem like that; they take you to a unique, interesting view, but the hike is only half a mile to 2 miles.
Downtown Sedona reminds us very much of Aspen, Colorado. It’s more of a desert, but it has the same too-rich-for-my-blood feel. But, of course, all the food and shops were very nice, they had lots and lots of interesting things, and all of it was out of my price range.
Hopefully, we can come back sometime to Cottonwood, but for now, off we go to the North Rim of the Grand Canon.