Leaving Tennessee in Arizona

Our header photo for this post was taken the same week we met John in Tennessee. It’s in Memphis, Tennessee, along the Mississippi River.

Just to refresh your memory Jagger and I had set up camp in the forest near Flagstaff, Arizona. There we met up with John, who we met in Tennessee over a year ago. He is a Vagabonder and has been following our blog since the beginning. Here on the blog, I gave him the nickname of Tennessee, since that is where we first laid eyes on him. Now he’s stuck in the mud in Arizona.

Tennessee and I enjoy our conversation and a sandwich at Subway, we then head back to our camp in the wet forest.

While driving thoughts enter my mind, “today is travel day”. “A day when I usually stress myself out more than I should. Have I researched Google Maps thoroughly? Is this the best route for the Coach or will we find ourselves on a deserted road again like that one time in Oklahoma or one of severeal other times that Google has let us down? Once on the road I always settle down and enjoy the ride”. 

We turn onto the wet gravel forest road, I’m thinking about my first task at hand when we get back to camp. I want to hitch the Workhorse to Tennessee’s van and pull him out of the mud where it spent the cold wet night. Only then Jagger and I will hitch up the Coach, and say adios to our friends. 

When we arrive back at our camp in the Coconino National Forest, I position the Workhorse on semi-dry ground near the front of Tennessee’s van. Then drop the Workhorse into 4 wheel drive and wait while Tennessee hooks up the tow belt to his van and the back of the Workhorse.

Jagger in Truck

Once Tennessee secured the van and gave a nod to go ahead and pull, I look at Jagger, “Let’s show him what this baby can do.” I put the Workhorse in gear and gradually began to pull forward. It pulled the Ford van right out of the still wet, slippery clay mud. I was thankful for that and I looked over at Jagger, who was riding shotgun. I do believe he had a smile on his mug!

I stepped down from the Workhorse and walked over to Tennessee who was still sitting in his van. He thanks me and said, “Well that’s a relief! I was wondering what I would do if you left.” I responded, “There is no way I would leave you stuck in the mud!” He smiled and drove back to his trailer, leaving Jagger and I to finish our job hitching up the Coach.

Time to Leave

Camp - Somewhere in the forest outside of Flagstaff
Camp – Somewhere in the forest outside of Flagstaff

“This sure has been an eventful three days! It’s always good having people around with so much in common.” “What about me,” Jagger chimes in. “Of course Jagger, I would never leave you out. You’re my partner, my sidekick. Things wouldn’t be the same without you around.” 

But it’s time to move on since I promised one of my grandsons I would be in his neck of the woods by our birthday. We share the same day, but I had it first!

I step outside, having packed up most of our camp yesterday evening, climb into the Workhorse and nudge it gradually back, hitching the Coach up once again. I check my “Departure List“, verifying I’ve done everything. Jagger and I then went over to our friends camp’s and said our goodbyes.


Finally we pulled the Coach out of her nesting place, across the muddy ground and on down the gravel forest road, shaking the mud off as we trotted along.

Back on the Interstate I think back to the fun times and great conversations we had over the last few days. Then my mind moves on and catches up with the Workhorse pulling the Coach smoothly down the highway, switching gears to looking forward to our next adventure.

We are now headed for a two week camp that I’d made reservations for months ago. Aspen Campground, located in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest along the Mogollon Rim, here in Arizona. It’s above Phoenix at an elevation of 8,000 feet or so, with a sharp drop of a thousand feet in places. The campground is in a thick stand of Ponderosa Pines where we will soon be surrounded.

Aspen Campground
Aspen Campground

I look forward to the best gift for my birthday, visiting with my Arizona family.

Aiden, I’ve heard, is planning a birthday campout with a few friends. They will be arriving on Friday with Aiden’s Mom, Janessa. I guess it could be considered a rite of passage as he is turning twelve.

The boys will be camped in a tent in the forest, not far from the Coach. Their first time alone in the forest. Fun times. “Maybe there will be some sleep this weekend”, I think to myself as the diesel engine hums and we travel down the road. Jagger gives me the look as if saying, “Yeah right!” then settles in to his favorite spot giving a deep sigh, “I’ll be getting my rest now before it’s too late.” Jagger quickly dozes off, dreaming of the adventure ahead with one of his favorite buddies, Aiden.

Safe travels…Gary

More Photos: Wood Canyon Lake – Mogollon Rim

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