30 June 2018


"Reno, the biggest little city in the world."

We don't much like cities, so the official Reno motto doesn't mean much to us.  But the mountains!  And the lakes!  And the breweries!! And the weather!!

In our quest to chase 70-degree weather, we've hit it in two places:  Flagstaff and Reno.  Imagine the best spring day you've ever experienced - low humidity, no bugs, a light breeze, and a crystal blue sky  - and that's what its been like since we arrived.   We may never leave.

The RV park we're at is across the street from a city park and marina.  Much to the pups' delight, there is an awesome dog park there with a dog beach!  They may never leave either.

Sparks Marina

Over and over and over again.

Dog beach


There are so many trails here to discover, but I'm still not feeling 100%.  So, as hard as it is to stay put when there are so many mountains to be climbed, I think I'm finally learning that if I push myself, it just makes the crash on the other end that much worse.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get out there next week.

Stoneyhead Brewing - Reno

Stoneyhead Brewing is about as legit as an independent brewery can get.  Buried deep in an industrial park, this is a no frills, all-about-the-beer little slice of heaven.  

After looking over the beer board, I asked the bartender if they did flights.  He said "sort of" and then explained that, as long as we didn't mind free beer, he'd like to give us a sample of all of them.  Excuse me?  Did he really just say he'd give us a free sample of all of them?  Indeed, he did.  

So we dutifully tasted all of them, and listened intently to his explanations of each one, including a few that were mixtures of two beers.  He even got Doug to try two porters (which he HATES).  Then he explained the 3 limited batch barrel-aged brews and ordered one of those to try.  The bartender made sure we never saw the bottom of our popcorn bowl and we had a great time chatting with the locals who were all regulars.  The beer itself wasn't really my style, but Doug liked it enough to get a growler filled.  If you're serious about beer, you've got to stop by this place!

Revision Brewing - Reno

Revision is a cool little brewery in an industrial section near downtown Reno.  On a Friday afternoon, it had a younger crowd than we expected, but the 3 bartenders were super friendly and kept the service fast.  Set in an old warehouse, there are about 20 wooden picnic tables and two bars.  Although there was no patio/outside area, they had the warehouse garage door open, so it felt like being outside.   

Warning - if you don't like IPA, then this is not the place for you.  They had 6-8 unfiltered/hazy IPAs and 4-6 west coast style IPAs, and then 2 blondes.  I'm a huge fan of IPA (since chemo fried my taste buds, anyway) so I was pretty darn happy.  Doug, not so much. 


27 June 2018

Tenaya Creek Brewery

In all the trips the extended Norvell family has made to Vegas over the years, its hard to believe the Tenaya Creek Brewery has never come up on our radar.  It is just around the corner from Freemont St. (which is probably why it stayed under the radar). 

No, I wasn't double-fisting. There are three beers because James was with us.

The interior was light and airy and there was an outdoor patio (but at 109 degrees, we enjoyed the AC instead).  There's no food service, but I guess sometimes they have food trucks - we just didn't hit it lucky.  The beer was .... just OK.  I tried the brown, but it was way overcarbonated and really bland.  Doug and James both tried the Pale Ale and had no problem ordering multiple refills.  They also had a pretty extensive list from which to choose, including a Honey Lavender Cider, three different Nitros and a Berliner Weisse.  I wouldn't go out of the way to go back here, but if we find ourselves thirsty in Vegas again, I wouldn't not stop here.

22 June 2018


We made it to Las Vegas yesterday.  We will be here for about a week, visiting with Doug's father.

It is hot.  Very hot. 

All 3 air conditioners in the RV are working overtime and I just taped aluminum foil to the skylight in the bathroom to keep the sun out.  The asphalt is too hot for puppy paws, so they are just quickly running outside on the rocks to do their business and then back into the air conditioning. 

We are staying in the RV Park on Nellis Air Force Base, which is really nice.  Mookie and Finn curse this choice, however, every time an ear-splitting F-16 or F-22 flies overhead. 

To those of you who have asked how I'm feeling these days - I was great until yesterday.  I'm now just a week short of the 6-month mark of finishing chemo; my energy is starting to return and I've gotten used to managing the various pains and annoying side effects of being poisoned.  Apparently, however, I still haven't learned that sustained "doing too much" is going to lead to an epic crash.  (For the record, it didn't feel like too much at the time!).  That crash was today - after a full 24 hours of deep sleep, I'm starting to feel human again.  But hey, if a crash is going to happen, it might as well happen when its too hot to go outside anyway!  😎

21 June 2018

Colorado River

Our next big stop after Flagstaff will be Las Vegas to spend some time with Doug's father.  We easily could have driven all the way to LV in one day, but we really wanted to check out the Willow Beach RV Park in the Lake Mead National Recreation area.  Review here.

We don't do triple-digit weather (even when it is a dry heat), so there wasn't much activity for us outside the day we arrived.  But I did get up at 0500 the next morning to take the dogs for a walk and check out the scenery before the sun started to bake things.  Sunday could smell the river from the campground, so of course we had to take her swimming before we left.

View from our RV site at sunrise. 

Colorado River in the distance

Double click for a panorama

Double click for a panorama

Swimming from the dock at the marina

Panorama from the Marina

Swimming in the kayak/canoe put-in area.

Flagstaff, AZ

Every once in awhile, we visit a place where I seriously consider giving up the nomadic lifestyle, buying some land and hunkering down.  Flagstaff is one of those places.  (Santa Fe, Jasper, and North Conway are the others, so far).  It is, in every way, perfect.  Literally in the middle of the Coconino National Forest, it is nestled in gorgeous mountains, and has more trails than you could explore in a lifetime, and has absolutely perfect weather.  It is also a decent size town, with everything we need to live (including several breweries and a Whole Foods!).   Don't tell Doug, but I may have bookmarked the "hiring" page on Northern Arizona University's website.... 😁

While we were here, we did three hikes and a motorcycle ride.  The rest of the time we spent sitting outside enjoying the perfect weather and breathing in the mountain air.

Ponderosa Pine forests as far as the eye can see.

Mountain views in every direction.

Chilly enough in the morning for a fleece, a hat, and a woobie!

Blue skies and beautiful mountains. 

We stayed at J&H RV Park off Hwy 89 in Flagstaff, which we loved.  Check out our review here.

Flagstaff to Jerome (motorcycle)

From the Ponderosa Pine forest at 7,000 feet of elevation, down through Oak Creek Canyon, to the floor of the desert, and then back up again into the twisty turny mountain roads of Jerome, this is an exhilarating ride.   I decided to exercise my "princess seat" privileges and let Doug do all the driving.  I'm just not experienced enough yet to navigate all those mountain turns (and stupid tourists).

I took some video, but my internet connection isn't good enough to upload it.  When we get to a better spot, I'll update this post with the video.  In the meantime, here is a map and some pictures.  (If you are a fellow MC rider, zoom in and look at all those mountain curves!)

Wine tasting at Caduceus Cellars

We had both ridden through Jerome before, but never actually stopped to do touristy stuff.  This time, I really wanted to stop at Caduceus cellars because it is the brainchild of one of our favorite musical artists, Maynard James Keenan (frontman for the bands Tool, Puscifer, and A Perfect Circle).  The wine was amazing and is all made with local grapes from New Mexico and Arizona, and made right here in Jerome.  Other than Caduceus, Jerome has several other wine tasting rooms, restaurants and fun little shops.  I will forever regret not purchasing this hat that was for sale in one of the shops (but honestly, I did not want to be seen in public in a red hat!):

20 June 2018

Lumberyard Brewing (Flagstaff)

After a long, hot motorcycle ride, there's nothing better than a beer on a shady outdoor patio.  We found both here at Lumberyard Brewing Co. in downtown Flag. 

It wasn't the best beer we've had, but it wasn't awful.  The service was friendly and efficient, but we did feel like we were being rushed out of there before we were even done with our beer.  The food was standard pub fare - burgers, sandwiches, etc.  Doug got the burger special, which was a riff on the Animal Style burgers from In-N-Out.  It was good, but not epic.  I got the reuben (the whole vegetarian thing goes out the window when properly tempted).  The reuben was one of the better ones I've had (and I grew up on NYC Jewish deli reubens!). 

Fair warning to other dog people - the patio here was NOT dog friendly.  Who ever heard of a brewery patio that doesn't love dogs??  On principle, I should have boycotted it just because of that, but we were too thirsty and the pups were happily napping away back in the RV.

Check us out on Campendium

We've moved our Campground & RV Park Reviews over to Campendium!  

17 June 2018

Verde Brewing (Camp Verde)

If you are in or near Camp Verde and love beer, you will regret every decision you've ever made if you don't stop at Verde Brewing.

This was some of the best beer we've ever had (and we've had a lot).  Doug had the Kolsch; I had the IPA that was made with a touch of local wildflower honey.  To.  Die.  For.

But it doesn't stop at the beer.  We also ordered the Elote Style Nachose.  Oh.  My.  God.  We are really not huge fans of nachos (I think the last time I ordered such a thing was in my Moat days, before I got all healthy and stuff).  But ... the roasted corn, cojita cheese, and chipotle sour cream was such an amazing combination.  When we talked to the Chef, he told us he roast the corn and veggies every day, and makes the chipotle sour cream and elote sauce in house.  Pretty impressive for a brewery in a warehouse without a real kitchen!

Needless to say, we will be back.

How can you not love a brewery in a warehouse
with an RV parked out front and a dog-friendly patio?  

This is the real deal, people.  Those aren't fake tanks like you see in the big breweries. 
The whole place had the sweet aroma of wort.

Oh look - he's smiling!  :)

Elote nachos.  Well, half of them.

Sentinel Peak Brewing (Tucson)

In a non-descript strip mall in the middle of Tucson, you will find some really really good beer. 

Sentinel Peak Brewing is worth the visit.  Their motto "unfiltered and unapologetic" is pleasantly misleading (if you, like me, thought that meant everything would be wheaty and chewy).  I loved the IPA, and Doug loved the ESB (enough to get a Growler to Go). 

For me, the reason I came the free WiFi.  The internet at LazyDays was terrible, T-Mobile was even worse, and I had papers to grade and trip planning to do!  So, I could have gone to Starbucks, or I could have supported a local business and had a beer (not a difficult decision at all). 

Not only was there free WiFi, but it was wicked fast.  Not only was it free, but I got a $1 off your next pint coupon just for using their free WiFi.  Oh, yeah, and the beer was fantasic.  #winning

The next day, there was more trip planning to do (and I had that $1 off coupon) so I convinced Doug to come back with me.  He loved the beer, and said the sliders were "better than OK but not great".  But, the beer was great and the WiFi was fast and free.  Oh, and if we wanted to sit out in the heat on the deck, it would have been dog-friendly.  Can I say again #winning?

Beer, high-speed WiFi - what else do you need?

REVIEW: Apache Flats RV (Ft. Huachuca)

Apache Flats is one of our top ten RV parks (so far).  We were monthlies here in the Spring of 2014 and again in the Summer of 2016 - both times I was assigned to Ft. Huachcua.  It is on the military installation and only open to Active & Retired military. 

  • Wildlife everywhere! Roadrunners, javelinas, deer, Arizona Redbirds, hummingbirds, turkeys, lizards, snakes, bunnies, and a few domesticated cats.  
  • So many trails that can be accessed right from the RV park.  You could hike or ride for miles and miles without ever getting in your car. 
  • Huge sites with lots of privacy.
  • Quiet.  Very very quiet.  (Except at 0630 for reveille and 1630 for retreat)
  • Beautiful views.  Mountains everywhere.  
  • Big rig friendly; every site is a pull-thru with a nice flat concrete pad.
  • Some of the sites have a decent amount of shade.
  • At nearly 5,000 ft. of elevation, it stays much cooler than Tucson and Benson. 
  • Fast free WiFi; clean and inexpensive laundry facilities; 2 miles to the commissary & PX. 
  • Hmmmm......I've got nothing.
Beautiful sites at Apache Flats

Look at those views!
There is also a gate in the fence here that leads to the trails.

Plenty of shade from the Arizona sun!
Great layout - all pull-thru and surrounded by nature walks.

Sunrise at Apache Flats (from 2016)

If you're into birds - hummingbirds in particular - make sure you come in the spring during migration season.  Ft. Huachuca is smack in the middle of the hummingbird freeway of the San Pedro River Valley, and one of the only places you can volunteer to assist with bandingRamsey Canyon is another great place to see the wildlife and is just a short drive from Ft. Huachuca (but note that most of it is off-limits to dogs).   There are also at least two families of RoadRunners (is it "beep beep"? or "meep meep"??) who nest right in the RV park, and strut around like they own the place.   

If you're into wine, beer, breakfast or motorcycles (or like us, all four), then head out the "back gate" and take a leisurely drive to Sonoita.  Have a late breakfast at the Vinyard Cafe, make a few stops on the wine trail, maybe sit on the patio and enjoy the views over a beer at the Hop Farm.   

Best breakfast ever (and a gorgeous MC ride to get there)!
Wine with a view (from 2016)
Patio at the Hop Farm (from 2016)

And then there's Bisbee, just a short drive from the Fort.  There's a little something for everyone in Bisbee, whether you want to be a tourist, discover adorable little shops, get a workout in by climbing all the stairs, or just sit on a patio and drink beer.  About the same distance as Bisbee is Tombstone, the Wild West town that has been the set for many movies.  Tombstone is much more touristy and there's no brewery (but the American Legion Post serves up wicked cheap pitchers of Sam Adams with ice-cold mugs).  

One of our favorite places - Bisbee Brewing Co. (from 2016)

So yeah, bottom line, go to Apache Flats.  That is, if you are active or retired military.  😁

Arizona Trail (Flagstaff)

Due to extreme fire threat here, most of the trails we planned to hike were closed, and the open ones had overflowing parking lots (it is a Sunday in the summer, after all).  So after driving around for awhile, we settled on walking a section of the Arizona Trail.  The AZ Trail runs right down the middle of the state, from Utah to Mexico.  We've mountain biked portions of it, and its on my list of end-to-end trails I'd like to do (as soon as I get over my fear of rattlesnakes), but I never thought of just hiking a section of it here in Flagstaff.   And I'm so glad we did - over the course of 4+ miles, we ran into a total of 4 people.  Unfortunately, we couldn't go any further because of forest closures, but I could have stayed out here all day.

What, Mom?

Lizard!! Lizard!! Lizard!!

Mr. Grumpy Pants (and I even tried saying "beer")

This is the post-hike, post-Frosty Paw nap.

All Trails track here.

16 June 2018

REVIEW: Distant Drums RV Resort (Camp Verde)

We used Distant Drums as just a stopping-off point between Tucson and Flagstaff, but could have easily stayed a few more days. 


  • Level, concrete pads and easy-to-maneuver roads (pic below).
  • Super super friendly staff.
  • Nice pool area (pic below) with hot tub.
  • Relatively good internet at the sites and excellent internet in the lobby area.
  • Shaded fenced-in dog area with benches and a water source, big enough for fetch.
  • Proximity to lots of relatively local attractions.
  • Plenty of lizards for the pups to chase.
  • No shade in the sites.
  • No nature trails from the park.
  • Highway noise.
If casinos are your thing, there's a small one right across the street.  If breweries are your thing, you will regret every decision you've ever made if you don't visit Verde Brewing (reviewed here).  You could make this your base for exploration of Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, and definitely don't miss a side trip to the adorable mining town of Jerome.  And if you're a fan of Tool, you must visit the Caduceus Cellars in Jerome, the tasting room for Maynard's winemaking obsession.

Lots of pavement, but not a terrible view.

Sites are really close, but level and paved.

Pool & hot tub area.