The checkout time is noon here at Campers Villager and we only have 80 miles to travel to Flagstaff today, Monday September 30. We took our time packing up and were on the road by 11 am. It is another gorgeous day in the upper 60s to low 70s with 25% humidity. The air here is just so crisp and fresh. We really love the weather here in the desert. It is just a little too cold in the winter to be here year-round though.
The travel plan for today is very simple. We make a left out of Camper Village on to US 64 south and then a left onto I 40 and then exit 198 in Flagstaff. We are headed to a campground in Flagstaff called Black Bart’s. It doesn’t get very good reviews on any of the review sites but we are giving it a chance anyway.
Black Bart’s is a very good location to for us to be near town on this stop. We have learned that one needs to read between the lines when it comes to campsite reviews. Anyway, we are not usually that interested in how nice the campground is as we want to explore the area, not just hang out in the campground. We are sort of basic when it comes to campgrounds. We like safe, level to the point we can get level without effort, enough room for the RV and the truck, the services work, and easy to get in and out. Also, our site needs to be close to what we want to explore. We really don’t care too much if the site has a concrete pad or, if they do, it has some cracks.
We arrived at Black Bart’s around 12:30 pm. We were surprised and somewhat relieved that the RV Park was as nice as it was. It, like a lot of RV Parks in the South West, has a large population of permanents. But that is just fine with us as long as it is not all trashed up and Black Bart’s wasn't trashed up. It really does feel like an old west place. The ladies working the front desk were very nice and helpful. They gave us basically 2 sites, both halves of a double pull through. Now, if this place was real full it would be tight in the campground, but it is maybe ¾ full. We are very close to I40 and the BNSF railroad, so there is some road noise. Other than the noise, and it’s not that bad, it is a great place to hang out to see the Flagstaff area.
While here we have a few things we need to get done. Patty needs to get some blood work done. Also, her passport in November we need to get her picture taken and the paperwork sent off for the new one. This is important to us as we will most probably be going to Mexico a few times when we are wintering this year in South Texas. Then, we are in real need to do real grocery shopping. We haven't been in a real grocery store for a few weeks. Lastly, we want to check out Flagstaff AZ.
We got the rig set up and we took off for the old downtown of Flagstaff. The old downtown is centered on the Railroad station. Actually, what we came to learn is that Flagstaff wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the Transcontinental Railroad coming through here. Flagstaff was a fabrication of the railroad in the late 1800s. I was surprised that Flagstaff was as small as it is with a population of just 67K. The main 2 cities in AZ that I knew about were Phoenix and Flagstaff. I just always thought that Flagstaff was as large as or larger than Phoenix. Well, I was wrong!
The old downtown also sits on Route 66. So the area has lots of old hotel/motels and little restaurants. Since Route 66 lost favor to the interstate highways, the old part of Flagstaff is now a hipster’s sort of place. The area is loaded in independent hiking/outdoors stores, coffee shops, cafes, and smoke shops. It is a great place to sit and have some wine and watch the people and that is what we did after exploring for a couple of hours. Old Flagstaff reminds us of a lot of Oregon and Seattle Washington.
|BNSF rolling into town from the west.|
|Flagstaff Amtrak Station. It's funny how this is described as an old west train station when it looks just like most of the train stations in New Jersey!|
|This building and the Babbitt Brothers date back to the founding of Flagstaff.|
|Old route 66 hotel signs.|
|Nice murals in downtown Flagstaff.|
|Note the door says Speakeazy.|
|Train Station in Flagstaff on route 66.|
|Where Patty and I had wine and some appetizers while people watching.|
For dinner we made reservations at Black Bart’s Saloon at the campground. Black Bart’s Saloon has a very good reputation for excellent oak wood cooked steaks and they also have some entertainment. The entertainment is that the wait staff sings while they work. I had a Bison steak that was good as far as Bison goes. I still like a good beef steak though. Patty had the Filet and it was tender but she said it didn’t have much taste. So, we probably wouldn't go back but it something to visit once. Oh, and the place was mobbed when we left. It seems that Black Bart’s caters to the tour buses. They had 2 buses come in while we were eating. The first one was with Italians and the second one was with French citizens. We are now wondering what these people are doing now that the National Parks are closed!
|Singing waiters at Black Bart's.|
Tuesday October 1 we find out that the Petrified Forest National Park would be closed as we thought. That is our next stop and we were going there today. We actually knew that this was probably going to happen so we were not surprised. We then decided to stay here in Flagstaff another day and then go to Holbrook AZ where the Petrified Forest is on Wednesday and Thursday.
The main reason for staying another night was that we couldn't get a site near Albuquerque the night before our reservation at the Balloon Festival. We were going to try and stay a night close to the Balloon Festival so we could take on water before we arrived on the 4th. However, all of the campgrounds are sold out within 50 miles of Albuquerque! So we are going to fill the fresh tank about 2/3s full in Holbrook which is 215 miles away from the Balloon Festival. That means we will be running heavy carrying about 300 extra pounds of water.
Anyway, by staying here in Flagstaff another night we got to take our time getting the things done we needed to do. We were going to try to get everything done this morning before we left at noon. Again, we don't have far to go as Holbrook is only about 80 miles east of here on I 40.