After making my way southwest through Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, I left the main roads to venture to Whitewater Draw wildlife area in McNeal, AZ. I heard about this site last year and made mental note to check it out early this season. From October to February this is the wintering location for the Sandhill Crane. Thousands upon thousands of these gangly-legged but graceful birds make their home standing in the shallow water to avoid the larger land predators like coyotes, bobcats and javelinas. Rising well before sunrise, I made my way down to the edge of the marsh area so I could watch the cranes fly off in search of food left in the newly harvested grain fields . They return around noon for an afternoon rest and some venture out again in the afternoon. Sunset is when they all return and the sky is filled with thousands of cranes flaring out to land and settle for the night.This week there were somewhere between 20,000 to 30,000 Sandhills enjoying the warmth of this 1,500 acre wildlife habitat. With my camera I tried to capture the sunrise flight, the return at noon to siesta and the sundown homecoming.
The bonus feature is a small free camping area right next to the shore that accommodates about 5 to 7 RV’s. I stayed 3 days and loved every minute!
Cranes at sunrise
Cranes coming in for afternoon nap
Cranes at sunset
It’s New Year’s Eve day and I’m spending the day with family in West Plains, MO. Trailer is packed and organized for boondocking along the way west. Walmart, Pilot, Love’s and Cracker Barrel all offer free overnight hospitality to RV’s traveling through. My little trailer is small but mighty! I’m solar powered and have a furnace, refrigerator, lights, bathroom and tv in this towable little house.
I will be in Arizona January, February and March…while the rattlesnakes are hibernating. Once the days get really warm and they wake up it’s time for me to head north to explore the Grand Canyon. Then up into Utah to see some of the classic National Parks. Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion have long been on my list.
Around early May I will begin making my way east to eventually arrive in St. Louis, Missouri to join up with a large caravan of SOTF to retrace the Lewis & Clark Trail. We begin on May 22 and will take 5 weeks to make our way to Astoria, Oregon. Afterwards I will visit family and friends in Seattle and Portland and poke around the Pacific Northwest for a while till I move down the northern California coast to camp along the beach. Sometime early August I will start slowly working my way back east, stopping off to visit friends and whenever my curiosity is peaked! Maybe the largest ball of twine? Or the Corn Palace?
Tomorrow I am meeting up another Sister On The Fly and we will caravan west together from West Plains over to I-44 to angle our way southwest thru Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Wichita Falls, Tx. Plan is to drop south as quickly as possible to enjoy warmer temperatures. Then let the shenanigans begin!!
I have all the tech gadgets to allow me to post while on the road….so stay tuned.
Happy and Healthy New Year everyone!