Our Trip in Search of Cooler Arizona Weather


When Terry attended school in Flagstaff, Mormon Lake Lodge was the place to go for a special dinner, as it’s only about 25 miles outside of town. At that time there was the lodge and lots of cowboys...and that was it. These days things are different.

The lodge has been purchased by a resort chain, though we saw little evidence of a “higher” organization. You can still get a big steak dinner at the lodge, but now there are cabins, a general store, a petting zoo with chickens, goats and buffalo, a fishing pond for the kids, a horse stable where you can get horseback rides, and lots of private homes and cabins...and, yup, an RV park on the grounds. They have rodeos, roping contests and such there periodically, and you can even get married there...in fact, there was a wedding on Saturday afternoon across the street from the lodge is a western storefront area. Oh, about the lake...it’s dry...and has been so for the last several years apparently. It is now a big open grassy prairie area with pine forest all the way around where the water used to be, kinda like Lower Lake Mary. We had a nice view of the “lake” from our camp site...had there been water in it, it would have been even better, but as it was, we could sit and gaze off into the distance to make an elk sighting.

The only reservations we made for this trip were for Friday and Saturday nights at Mormon Lake Lodge RV Park so we didn’t have to worry about where to set up camp over the weekend. The RV park was little more than a place to park your RV next to your neighbor’s RV with no real separation between you and the next site except the hook-ups. It could have been made

far more inviting if they tried a little harder, but that’s probably just beyond


We sort of lucked out—because we have a small trailer, the guy I made reservations with put us at the far end of one of the rows of sites, facing outwards toward the road, so at least we didn’t have to look at the back side of an RV the whole time, and we had a nice picnic table and small pine tree in our space. Across the road from our site was a fenced in area for dry-campers with no hook-ups, and beyond that the main road to the lodge. The down side of the location was that we were on the park road that everyone took to get to the main lodge and store (where the beer was bought). We were struck with the fact that everyone and their kid had an all terrain vehicle (ATV), most of them equipped with an ice chest to transport the beer...and they drove them everywhere rather than walking. I reckon they are the modern equivalent to the horse for most of these “cowboys.” Many of the RVs were toy haulers loaded up with 2 or 3 ATVs...In that sense it was a real glimpse into redneck Americana. Then there was us...but we are used to being just a tad different from the crowd in some of these places.

We have stayed in less compelling digs, so we decided to just make the best of it...we put the awning down, spread out a bit and made ourselves at

home. People were fairly friendly, even with Sadie verbally

abusing everyone who passed. Those who stopped to pet her

realized all she wanted was a little pat. Lots of dogs, too, which is

usually the case in RV parks. It’s funny how dogs raise a ruckus

when they are in their own space and someone walks by, but they don’t bark much if they are the ones passing by. A territorial thing, no doubt.

We were the only Airstream in the park, so it was a curiosity for some of the passers-by...several folks out for walks stopped to look it over, and every now and again, someone would stop to tell us how much they liked it.

The folks directly behind us worked for the lodge...the wife worked in the reservation office and the hubby did odd jobs. He stopped by to shoot the

                 breeze at every opportunity...we heard a lot of his life story. “I’m

                   full-blooded Greek,” he said. We weren’t quite sure what reaction

                    he expeted from that. And he insisted on showing Terry what he’d

                   done to the inside of his aging motor home. It was...well... interesting. He had too many cats for a real cowboy. Hmmm. (Greg wasn’t outside to participate in that particular treat!) You meet all kinds!

Since it was Friday, we decided to have dinner at the steakhouse...their weekly fish fry. It was OK. Our waiter thought we looked familiar. Terry told him when you shave all your hair off we all look the same. He didn’t have the heart to tell the young man, “It’s OK...we all look the same.” :-)  Afterwards Terry felt as though he should have ordered a nice big steak for old time’s sake.

The Girls really enjoyed their walks at Mormon Lake, with all the new smells and the critters who helped make those smells. Sadie barked at the buffalo, which probably wasn’t a very smart thing to do...the buffalo did not look amused. And one of the main events of each day for everyone was to look out into the dry lakebed at dusk and try to spot elk as they came down from the woods to graze on the grass...we saw several herds from a distance...probably 50-100 elk at a time...Terry thought it was all a ruse for the tourists, and they were really cows with fake antlers tied on their heads! (Always the cynic.)

On Saturday we took a drive back into Flagstaff to look around. It has changed a lot since Terry went to school there...it’s more spread out than it was, and bigger, of course...and it had a bit of a touristy feel to it. It is a sort of crossroads/hub for northern Arizona...you have to go through Flagstaff to get to anywhere...the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, etc.  And of course, Terry’s alma mater, Northern Arizona University is there. We just took time to gas up, stop at a few antique places and then headed back to the Bambi.

We decided 2 nights there were enough...we’d seen everything there was to see...so we took one last drive at dusk to look for elk in the lakebed, then came back to settle in for the night. The next morning we packed up, hooked up, and continued on our venture south on Lake Mark Road toward Happy Jack, AZ and points south.


Second STOP:

Mormon lake lodge

see my etchings??
It’s that killer cocker again!
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