How we spent Days 61 to 90 of our Traveling Sabbatical

Days 61-90 seemed to be very different in our sabbatical after we left New Mexico and ventured on to Arizona and Utah.   We’ll share how we traveled with the virus alert, and how we managed to practice social distancing during our traveling sabbatical. 

Day by Day

The Virus Altered Plans

As I look back at our last 30 days, I’d have to say God knew where we’d be at when the Corona Virus was in the USA.  For one thing, we were in AZ and not out East and we were able to be outside every single day.  The population was low in the areas we were at and there were no cases in the area at one point.  

My sister called me one day and told me to come home. We told her we’d quit when God stopped us because we had no home to go back to since we sold our house.  Our car was our main home for now. 

We would head back if 1. Airbnb’s wouldn’t take us. 2. Lots of cases in the area.   3. Feel unsafe.    At this point, we were not in contact with many people, had sunshine and hikes every day, and took vitamin D every day.  

I said, “who knows I may have been exposed to it in February and didn’t even know it and have antibodies for it.” None of us know. Our main goal – Be Wise and Alert.   MN had more cases than AZ and we didn’t want to go back to the cold locked in a relative’s house every day. 

HIke Pray Eat Sleep

Hike- Pray- Eat- Sleep

My husband loved that all we could do now was drive and hike He is so addicted to hiking that it was his dream come true.  We hike and pray for needs and this country. We also have stocked up on food to eat which allowed us to go to the stores less often. We have only gone once in 14 days and will do a pickup of groceries next time.   We sleep well from all the hiking.   If you like Hiking Check out my blog called Hiking the Southern States in the Winter.

Social Distance and Health

When we hike, we see people and people stop on the trail 6 feet away and let you pass by.  If we do talk to someone its 10 feet away outside.  Most of the time we don’t see people anymore. 

We remain healthy except for experiencing spring allergies every few weeks as we head north and the elevation changes.  We are feeling good and wash our hands or sanitize them as much as we can. 

When we started this journey in January, because I am a germ freak, I had a supply of wipes and spray on hand because we were using public restrooms.  I will have to post a blog on restrooms in the future. My biggest problem was to replenish my supply.  If you missed the blog on the first 25 days of travel here is the link.


God Knew the Future

The interesting thing is we had booked to stay with people up to Day 83. After that, we had booked individual units a few months ago because they were the only options. We hadn’t still booked any of our places to stay after April 10. This gave us the flexibility to alter our plans if need be. Normally we plan places to stay in advance but God knew all about this.

Our Moab places canceled on us since they shut down Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.  We altered our plan and found an individual place to stay in a small town in the middle of nowhere in southern Utah.  

We may end this travel early depending on the status of the other states.  Our motto is day by day and week by week.  We will see you soon after we find a place to stay in Minnesota and Quarantine for two weeks.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Day

Day 61- We visited Santa Fe, New Mexico for one day. The first place to stop was the Visitor Center. Spent time at the State Capitol building which displays some cool art.  Experienced the downtown, the central plaza, and Chorizo authentic New Mexican restaurant. A free bus took us around the city.  We went to the Tea house and Art Gallery area of the city.   We enjoyed the Lensic Performing Art Center downtown and went to a 7:30 pm Steven Curtis Chapman Concert by Awakening Events. Link to blog on New Mexico- the Land of Enchantment.


Tucson, Arizona

Day 62- Said goodbye to our host and drove to Tucson, AZ.  We stopped In Silver City, AZ as we drove through the mountains for over two hours.   Arrival at new Airbnb and 80 degrees when we arrived.  

Day 63– Rainy in the am and then 72 degrees.   We attended Alive Church in Oro Valley, AZ. We drove around Tanque Verde Ranch/Resort which is affiliated With Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN. (my kids worked there in the summer) We visited the Saguaro East National Park visitor center and scenic drive. Did “A” Mountain hike, went to the downtown visitor center and walked on the Turquoise Trail walk downtown.

Day 64- Visited Aunt and Uncle Leo and Shirley who were in the area.  Had coffee with them at Pie Bird and toured the White Dove of the Dessert which is a historic Catholic church built-in 1792. Had an Indian Taco fry bread for lunch and biked at the river park loop trail for 7 miles.   76 degrees.

Day 65- Visited the Mountain Park overlook.  We spent 3 hours at the Dessert Museum which was my favorite in the area. Visited Saguaro West National Park with a 3-mile hike in King Canyon. Link to blog on Life lessons learned from a Saguaro.

National Park

Day Trip/Visit

Day 66- Visited Casa Grande National Monument- free.   Visited relatives Gerald and Vonnie at their RV in Casa Grande and met the Woods family at Deadlift Coffee shop downtown.

Day 67– Walked 2 miles on the loop trail in Tucson.  Hiked 2 miles at Sabino Canyons near the Sabino lake dam.  We went to Costco and left because too many people and they were all crazy due to the virus.  We then went to a second one with less crazy people, but no water or TP.  Good thing we don’t need to buy TP. 

Day 68- Drove to the top of Mt. Lemmon. It had snowed so there was snow and slush.  We walked one mile at Agua Caliente Park with a pond and palm trees in the Tucson area.

Day 69- Hiked in Madera Canyon on the Bog Spring and River Nature trails for a total of 5 miles of hiking.  We went to the “I Still Believe” movie with only 10 people at the theater.  The cleanest theater I’ve been to. This was the start of the social distancing in AZ.

Day 70- Found an open church with less than 200 people and no handshaking etc.  Bible Fellowship Church in Tucson/Oro Valley.  Biked 5 miles into Catalina State Park.  Hiked 4 miles in the park on trails.   We grabbed some food at Trader Joes with lots of sanitizing and went to a park for a snack in the area and caught some sunsets.

Day 71– Rick hiked 18 miles at Sabino Canyon and I read by the pool, wrote and did laundry.  Packed up.

Mt. Lemmon
Mt. Lemmon
Slide Rock
Slide Rock State Park

Headed to Sedona/Cottonwood Area in AZ

Day 72- Drove to Sedona.  Met our friends from Iowa who were on vacation in the area. Their three boys did the Slide Rock at Slide Rock State Park.  50-degree water and 60 degrees out with the wind.   Drove the 8-mile scenic loop in Sedona and ate at a tiny Mexican restaurant.  Saw sunset on the ridge near the airport.  Arrived at our stay in Cottonwood Airbnb

 Day 73- This is the day AZ started only allowing take out for restaurants.   Rainy day so visited the old mining town of Jerome and walked the streets and went in a few stores.  Saw Grand Hotel which was an old hospital.  We went to Walmart to quickly get food and it was picked over so I had to change up the menu. 

Day 74– Went to the Chapel of the Cross in Sedona but it was closed so hiked 4 miles from Bell Rock trail to Little Horse trail to the chapel to take outside pics.  Rain and sleet soaked us on the way back.  Made soup for our host and Rick fixed her dryer.

Chapel of the Cross
Chapel of the Cross

Day 75- Hiked Bear Mountain from 9-4 pm.  It was under 6 miles but difficult. 2000 ft elevation gain with amazing views.

Day 76– Ricks B-day. Hiked the Broken Arrow Trail which was 5 miles.   Saw, Jeeps, Atvs, Mt Bikes, and Vistas.  Rick hiked to Chimney Rock and I talked to my sister about NDSU only doing online classes to end the semester for our son.  Airbnb host made Rick a B-day supper and peanut butter cookies. I talked to my other sister who begged for us to come home.  Felt where we were was the safest place to be now.

Day 77– AZ churches shut down so went to live online service at our home church, Baxter Heritage Church.  Drove to Flagstaff to see it by car.  7000 ft elevation and snow.   We walked 3 miles at Buffalo Park. 12 degrees cooler than Sedona.  In Sedona hiked 2 miles on Teapot Trail to Coffeepot Rock.

Day 78– Rick mountain biked 3 hours at Dry Creek area, while I read in the car.  I am sick of hiking but decided to hike 3 miles most of the way to Devils Bridge. Rain, thunder, and sleet again.  Drove around the Cottonwood area.  Started 40 days of prayer for 8 things after reading the book (Draw the circle the 40-day prayer challenge)

Day 79- Rick hiked up to Wilson Mountain: 7 hours.   I stayed in the car and read and wrote.   No place to go.  Rick’s Brother picked up our son and his stuff from NDSU to stay with their family until online college ends.

Sometimes God Delivers us from our Problems; Sometimes God Delivers us through our problems.

Mark Batterson- from the Book Draw the Circle the 40 day Prayer Challenge.
Sedona Sunset
Sedona Sunset

Prescott, AZ

Day 80- Headed to Prescott.  Saw the Lynx Lake and River, and Downtown Prescott.  Bathrooms were locked up with none to replace them or some had porta-potties.  This is the day I am thankful for restrooms and had to start squatting in the woods more often and using my hand wipes even more. Met our new hosts.  We both took a risk with each other but ended up making some great friends and memories and enjoying some great food together.

Day 81- Host made us Banana Muffins. Hiked the Thumb Butte Trail and hiked around Goldwater Lake and saw Watson Lake.  More bathrooms closed and more woods experiences. Made Taco soup for hosts.

Day 82- Rick hiked on a 35-degree morning up to Spruce Mountain on the Groom Creek trail (10 miles) and then another 8 miles of trail to the top of Granite mountain.   I worked on my blog and researched jobs and housing prices. Take out supper form Elgato Restaurant with hosts which was delish. We had to adjust some stays in Utah because of National Parks and counties closing up.

Day 83– Hiked Constellation Loop Trail at 50 degrees and Biked 10 miles of the Pea-Vine Trail.  We walked around Fain Park in Prescott Valley.  Enjoyed a meal together with our hosts and campfire outside.

Watson Lake
Watson Lake

Grand Canyon

Day 84– Said goodbye and left for Grand Canyon with limited services.  Rim trail open. Took photos and Rick biked one hour on the Rim Trail.  Stayed at individual Airbnb with hot water problems.  Saw the Waters Church service online at night.

Day 85- Rick’s favorite day.   The Kaibab and Bright Angel trails were closed in the park so he hiked 8 hours and 13 miles with a mile of elevation change on the Grandview Trail in the Grand Canyon. He loved every minute of it.  I read, wrote, napped in the car and walked around.

Dream Hike
Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump Road near Monumental Valley


Day 86- Headed to Utah. Stopped for gas in Flagstaff and the gas station had no TP so had to use my Kleenex.  Sign on the door about no TP. I love washing my hands. Arizona started their “stay at home” directive at 5 pm that night and the Grand Canyon closed.  Monument Valley closed so we had to drive by it on the road. Drove thru Valley of the Gods and saw the viewpoint on the road from the Forest Gump movie.  Drove up Muley Point Mesa and saw the small town and rock formation of Mexican Hat.  Stayed in the area in an individual cabin.  Got amazing sunset pictures.

Day 87- Drove up Muley Point road again, to Scenic Byway 95. Natural Bridges National Monument closed so tried driving up Bear Ears road.  Had to turn around because of mud and snow.  68 degrees out.  Saw Fry’s Canyon, HITE overlook of the Colorado River, Glen Canyon, Jacobs Chair and cows on the road during the scenic drive. Staying at a stand-alone Airbnb in Torrey, Utah near Capitol Reef National Park.  Watched a sunset at Sunset Point.

Day 88– Rick hiked the Rim overlook for 8 miles by himself.  I read and talked on the phone.

Day 89- We hiked the Golden Throne and Capitol Gorge for a total of 6 miles of hiking in 55-degree temps.

Day 90- Rick hiked Golden Throne again to get the hiking poles he forgot up there.  We hiked Hickman Bridge Trail 2 miles and Fremont River trail 3 miles enjoying the outdoors.

brown Cow
The Golden Throne
The Golden Throne

Every day is an adventure with us.   My husband is addicted to Hiking and we barely see anyone outside.  We will be back quicker than you know and we are praying that God will direct us to the place he has for us to move to and the jobs he wants for us. Continue to pray for us. I know some of you see more people than we do in a day or you are on the front line, so we will pray for you too.  

Blessings until the next blog. If you missed the start of this story see the blog on An on the Road Sabbatical link.

Days 61 to90

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