An Arizona Christmas ~ Part One

Jumping back in time a little bit to share our Christmas adventure. This year, we were invited to spend the holidays with family in Prescott, Arizona. We decided not to drive the RV out there, mainly to save on gas. But we had a decision to make — how would we deal with all of the animals?

We knew that taking the dogs with was for sure going to happen. But what about Pica and the cats? Luckily, we have a friend in town who we trust enough to check on the critters. She agreed to make sure they were all safe and sound while we were gone.

So, we packed up our little red car and hit the road.

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Prescott is about 6.5 hours from Ramona, and much of the drive is through the desert. We wound around the mountainous roads near Julian before reaching Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

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The rocky hills soon turned into giant sand dunes.

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The soft, sandy hills were like something out of this world. It was amazing. We couldn’t stop staring at it, and part of us wished that we could go ATV-ing.

We entered an area that, surprisingly, had a lot of crops. They’d irrigated the middle of the desert.

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We talked about how strange this was — how completely it changed the landscape. And we wondered what negative effects that was having.

But we did get to see some interesting wildlife.

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Red-tailed hawk

I was especially excited to see American kestrels in the wild — they are one of my favorite birds, and I have only seen them in captivity. We whipped the car over to the side of the road and I snatched my camera so that I could get some photos. There were dozens of them along the roadside on power lines.

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Look at the beautiful colors.

They are the smallest species of falcon, and I think they are beautiful. It took us a moment to realize that kestrels are what we were seeing. I couldn’t believe it!

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This guy was a little upset that I was stalking him.
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Sort of caught him in flight.

Piper and Teddy did a great job in the car — they are awesome at road trips.

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We finally reached Arizona.

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It was strange because almost as soon as we crossed the border, the landscape changed to include giant saguaro cactuses.

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Finally, we started our climb into Prescott, which is at about 5,300 feet (closer to 5,800 where we stayed). After letting the dogs stretch their legs, we joined the family for Christmas Eve dinner. The house is Andy’s uncle’s and we were fortunate to spend the holiday with his uncle’s two daughters (Andy’s cousins); Andy’s aunt, uncle and cousin from Minnesota; Andy’s cousin from L.A. and his girlfriend and their friend.

After dinner, we went into downtown Prescott for drinks and to check out the lights.

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We were pretty tired from our long day of traveling, so we soon headed to bed to prepare for Christmas.

To be continued…

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