The Ghost Town of Cherry, AZ

Just up the road from our RV park is a dirt trail heading west (14 miles) to the hamlet of Cherry.

Cherry was settled in the late 1800’s as a mining community with the post office opening in 1884 and the first Grammar School opening in 1898.  By 1929, the area boasted over 400 residents.

In 1982 the last gold mine closed and today there are still about 75 full-time residents and a dozen or so part timers.

The “town” isn’t much to look at, having never been incorporated and never having a church, there are no commercial businesses left, but the homes along the hillsides are nestled into the trees and look very comfortable.

It’s a long (dirt) road but when we traveled it was graded smooth although a lot of switchbacks and “close to the edge” turns with NO guardrails.  We drove slow hoping we’d not meet an oncoming truck (and we were lucky).

The video below gives you a good idea of the view from atop one of the hills on the way to the top.

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Just a Few Miles Down The Road

Kathy and I heard about a nice drive we could take down into a canyon to Clear Creek, just a few miles down SR 260.  It started out as a dirt road off the state route, then became a dirt trail, then became a “rock” trail and finally down around through a lot of tight switchbacks to the “Bullpen” Day Use Area.  The creek is flowing fiercely since the snow melt is rushing through every crack and crevice it can find.  You can hear the rushing water in the video below.

The ground is soaking up the liquid sunshine and still plenty of water rushing by to the rivers and irrigation ditches.

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We are continually fascinated by all the beauty there is to see here in Arizona and although we’re excited about our next trip (east to Florida, Ohio, Michigan) we’ll certainly miss the beauty around us here and especially the friends we’ve made.

Our Day Trip to Petrified Forest

We didn’t plan this trip – we just woke up and while watching the TODAY show, we talked about where we could go and what we could see all within a day’s drive out and back.

We decided to head north and visit the Petrified Forest National Park, the Painted Desert, the Meteor Crater, and whatever else we might be able to squeeze into the day. Here’s the map of the trip we took running counter-clockwise.

Just below is the video of the entire trip.  I usually try hard to keep my videos short because, if you’re like me you really won’t want to spend the entire 20+ minutes watching the video just to see what’s next.  I was able to condense our entire 8 hour travel day down to a 20 minute video, but nonetheless … if you don’t have that much time, then scroll on down the page and watch the slide show of the still photos I shot.

Here’s the slide show.  If you’re viewing this in an email, you may not see the slide show.  To see it, just click on the name of the post at the top of the page and you’ll be taken to our web site where you can then see the slide show.

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We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog.  Do you purchase any products from Amazon?  If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar.  By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more.  We’d really appreciate your help.

Thank you,

Herb & Kathy


Speaking of WORKamping …

Looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us for the next 2-3 weeks.  This park is a nice size, only 40 spaces with green grass and TREES in between each site.  This makes it a real attractive place to stay and live for a while.

Kathy and I are here for six months, workamping 2 days/week in exchange for our site and utilities.

Normally, the workload is pretty light; cutting some grass, helping new arrivals getting parked in their site, delivering mail to the long-term renters, minor repairs of water lines or electrical pedestals, and cleaning of the laundry and bathrooms.

However, yesterday morning after a below freezing night and when the sun came up and hit the trees, it seemed like it was snowing leaves!  It was really kind of funny to watch them all come down all over the park at once.

We’ll use leaf blowers and rakes to get the leaves into piles, then we vacuum them up with the leaf vacuum and dump them down below in our HUGE compost pile.  Check out the videos below to see what workampers do in the fall at Rancho Verde RV Park in Camp Verde, Arizona.

This 2nd short video shows how we vacuum and then dump the leaves into the compost pile down below.  We’ve been doing this 6-8 times each day ’cause that wagon gets filled up pretty quick!

So Just What Is “Workamping” Anyway?

Kathy and I retired (from full time work) at the end of August 2016 and started our full time RV’ing lifestyle with the intention of “workamping” our way across the country and seeing as much as we can, making new friends, and experiencing things we wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience had we stayed at “home”.

The reason we chose to workamp was two-fold.  First of all, we are not independently wealthy so we couldn’t just travel full time.  Diesel fuel and the nightly rate at most camprounds and RV parks can really hurt a budget quickly if you go from place to place to place.

But relying on our retirement pension and social security and secondly, working along the way seemed a great way to be able to travel and meet new folks.  Workamping supplements our income, allows us to travel, and meet new friends.

We are currently one of 3 workamper couples in this RV park in Arizona.  We are here for a six month commitment (Sept 15 – March 15) and we work 2 days each week.  In exchange for our two (6 hour) days we receive; lot rent, electricity, propane gas, wifi, & laundry.  And we then have 5 days each week to ourselves to goof off and do some sight-seeing around the area.  Last week we went to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and early December will find us at Zion and Brice National Parks.  Our next position will be in northern Michigan for the summer of 2017 and we’re hoping to land a workamping position in central Florida the following winter.

But what does a workamper do?  Workampers typically (and this may vary from one place to another); work in the office greeting and registering new campers, cut grass, clean the laundry and bathrooms, perform light maintenance, help park new campers, act as goodwill ambassadors, and be available to help campers and answer questions.  Some get their sites in exchange for their work while others get paid (typically minimum wage) but may have to pay for some or all of their site and services.

I shot this video to show you what one of my typical days consists of.


Lions & Tigers & Bears (Oh My?)

A couple of weeks ago we met (online) Cheryl and Phil (via  They are also workampers like us, working a couple days a week, but in an RV park up I-17 just one exit.  We arranged to meet for dinner about a week ago and then made plans to meet and go see the Out of Africa Wildlife Park just north of Camp Verde.

We had a great time spending about 6 hours together at the park.  Part of the time we were shown around the park in a bus (of sorts), part of the time we attended different shows, and part of the time we were able to walk on our own throughout the park.

We were able to get amazingly close to many of the animals, although they are in fence enclosures, there were often viewing platforms where we had unobstructed views.

See the girl in the tan t-shirt kissing the giraffe?  That’s our friend Cheryl …. actually she’s feeding him a stalk of celery (from her lips to his curly tongue).

Kathy and I (along with about 8 others) got to hold “Apollo” the 16 foot long, 130 pound Reticulating Python.  That was pretty amazing to feel how heavy (and strong) he is … all muscle.  Smooth like leather.

In addition to the pictures below, I’ve also included a few short videos of the “Tiger Splash” show they put on for us.



Happy to be in Camp Verde

We arrived on Tuesday afternoon, got settled into our space, and started our orientation process pretty quickly.

Kathy and I will be “workamping” for the next six months at Rancho Verde RV Park in Camp Verde, AZ and what a beautiful small park it is.  We’re excited to be here and we look forward to our new lifestyle experience.

The park is small (just 40 sites) and has green grass and large shade trees between each site, neither of which we expected to find in Arizona so it’s a real pleasant surprise.  Camp Verde is located just east of I-17 about halfway between Phoenix and Flagstaff.  Right now (mid-September) the daytime temps are in the 80’s and low 90’s while the nights fall to the low 50’s and high 40’s.

Here’s just a few pictures of the park entrance, the office, our site, and one of the rows of RV’s.  About half of the sites are long-term (months to as long as 12 years) with the others being daily or weekly.

George and Sigrid are the park owners and Steve and Cindy are the park managers.  All four folks are wonderful people and while Cindy has been working with Kathy in the office to get her up to speed on the reservations process and billing software, I’ve been learning from George and Steve about all the systems that need either scheduled or “as needed” maintenance, (fresh water / irrigation water / black water / electrical pedestels / laundry equipment, etc.).  They’ve got a very well-equipped (and organized) shop with all the tools and materials necessary to allow us to take care of most maintenance needs on our own.

After Oct 1st, there will be a 3rd workamper couple here so we’ll each (couple) will work 2 days on and 5 days off with each of the three couples working every 3rd Sunday as well.  With a full complement of workampers, the owners will be able to take some well-deserved time off and not have to be here all the time.

Kathy and I have only gone into town (Camp Verde) once so far to pick up some groceries.  It’s a cute little town and we look forward to going back and taking more time to see all that it has to offer.  We’ll also be spending time doing a lot more sightseeing near towns like Jerome, Cottonwood and more.  We already have plans to go up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon next week because that are closes for the season on October 15th.

All in all, we are thrilled to be here and continue to look forward to this new lifestyle experience.

More later,

Wonderful life in Morrow County

Kathy and I, along with our then adolescent children David and Sara, were blessed with the opportunity to move from the Detroit, MI area (due to a job promotion) back in 1984.  I was working for a hospital medical equipment manufacturer and was promoted to run the service operation for the state of Ohio.  But where to live?

We looked at the Ohio map and realizing that I would most often be traveling to the larger metro areas of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati it made sense to live somewhere off of the I-71 interstate freeway.

We looked at communities nearby and found on the map a small town called Mount Gilead.  We liked the name (hoping there was a mountain there) so we headed that way.

It’s been a wonderful life.  Kathy got a job with the local school system and we joined the local Presbyterian Church.  David got involved in scouts and Sara had her cats and rabbits to care for.  We had a swimming pool in the back yard that we all enjoyed.  We took active roles in the life of our church and we made wonderful new friends.

I stayed with the medical equipment company until 1998 when I got my real estate license and this enabled me to be home every night and to work helping all kinds of people achieve the american dream of home ownership.

I have to say that it’s been a wonderful life.  Mount Gilead has been a great place to raise a family with lots of support from caring friends.  We’ve always had friendly neighbors willing to help out when the need arises.  It’s always been nice to be able to know the guys that work on your car, your plumbing, or your taxes.  We know on a first name basis the grocer, the jeweler, the hardware store owner, the florist, the guys behind the counter at the auto parts store, the banker and the funeral director.  We all know where the other guy lives and we all trust that the work will be done properly and “I’ll bill ya’ later” is never a problem.

But as they say “All good things must come to an end” and now it’s time for Kathy and I to pull up stakes and move on down the road.

We made the decision to retire, buy a motorhome, sell or give away most of our personal possessions, and hit the road living in the motorhome full time.  It’s certainly going to be a lifestyle change and that’s what we’re looking for.  This is something I’ve dreamed of doing since I learned to drive and Kathy has become more used to the idea as time goes on.

I had a heart attack back in ’03 and Kathy had cancer in ’13 and we realize that life is short enough and can become even shorter in the blink of an eye.  We need to do this while we still can.

We’re excited about the change.  We’ll be leaving Ohio just after Labor Day 2016 and heading to Camp Verde, AZ where we’ll be RV park hosts late Sept – March.  Kathy will work in the office registering guests and keeping the office and laundry area clean and I’ll work outside cleaning up sites as guests leave, cutting grass, spraying weeds, and cleaning the bath house.  We’ll be working 2 days / week in exchange for a full hook-up site for our coach that includes electric, water, sewer, and wifi.

Then in April 0f ’17, we’ll work our way slowly back across the country, sightseeing along the way, stopping in Ohio for a bit to visit family and friends and ultimately work our way up to the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan.  We’ll be working in the Hiawatha National Forest as campground hosts for the summer 2017 season.

For those of you Morrow Countians reading this, we want to say THANK YOU for making us feel welcome in your community.  Although we weren’t born here, didn’t grow up with any of you, didn’t go to school with you or marry into your family, …. Still, you have always welcomed us with a smile and cared about us and treated us with kindness and respect.  Some of you (and you know who you are) have even come to love us like your own.  Know that we feel that love for you as well and we will miss you.

For those of you who are from our previous lives in Redford Township or South Lyon (MI), we just might see some of you as we travel through Michigan in 2017!

In any event, regardless of where you reside, you can always stay abreast of our travels and what’s happening in our lives by following this blog.  Just click on FOLLOW on the left side of this page and you will be emailed each time there is a new post.

Looking forward to more Wonderful Life ….. and all the best to you,