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Travels with Grama

Every Which Way But Loose

Southwestern Fall Road Trip - October 2014

Early in the new year, we figured I would be spending the better part of spring doing renovations in my home in preparation of selling. Then I was going to the Hanover Reunion in August and we had no idea when my property would actually sell and I would have to be packing. The only solution was to postpone any travels until late fall.

Doreen had absolutely no desire to drive through any more blizzards on a fall trip. There was only one solution - fly.

That decision made, it didn't take us long to book flights and car rentals. We still plan on doing a road trip - the only difference would be that we would fly to Vegas and home.

Pool friends of ours - Deana and Alex will be in Cave Creek during our travels so we booked 3 nights at Villas of Cave Creek during the time that they will be there. What we will be doing from Vegas to Cave Creek and back to Vegas remains a mystery - and we love a good mystery.

2014 Every Which Way But Loose - Southwestern Photo Album

Monday, October 6, 2014 - Calgary to Las Vegas, Nevada

We realized a couple of days ago that we have never flown anywhere together on any of our trips - but we seem to be airplane compatible. Doreen likes a window seat and I prefer the aisle. Let's hope there isn't anyone between us so we can "spread out".

We had my daughter Jenn take us to the airport and for various reasons ended up being 5 hours early and had some spare time to eat and write in the blog.

Trying to kill 5 hours at the Airport wasn't easy. We went first for lunch at Montana's and then headed through the gates. Doreen sailed right though - I got frisked. Second time this year but they claim it's only "random". This was our first time flying together - but it was Willie's first time ever. I guess "if Penguins can fly" so can horses!!

The plane wasn't even a quarter full. Empty seats everywhere and so - no one between us. Half way through the flight I went to the seat behind us and had a nap. We landed in Vegas just after 9:00, picked up our car rental and headed to the hotel. It feels like we've been travelling for 12 hours.

It's amazing that we can get to Vegas so fast. It normally takes us 2 1/2 days (or more) to get this far.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - Las Vegas

We were up relatively early and both of us were ready and out the door by 9:30 am. We had our breakfast at the IHOP before heading out for the day. We had already mapped our way to Red Rock Canyon via the Christmas Goose Quilt Shop. Doreen bought a couple to shelf dolls and I fell in love with a quilt but at a thousand dollar price tag, didn't love it enough to buy it. Quilt shopping finished, we headed to hwy 159 to Red Rock Canyon.

It's amazing that we have spent so much time in Las Vegas over the years and never really bothered to take in some of the sites just outside of town. Highways included hwy 159 to Red Rock Canyon and hwy 160 (Blue Diamond Road) back to Vegas.

Red Rock Canyon

The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, about 15 miles west of Las Vegas, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and protected as a National Conservation Area.

The conservation area showcases a set of large red rock formations - a set of sandstone peaks and walls called the Keystone Thrust. The walls are up to 3,000 feet high with the highest point being La Madre Mountain at 8,154 feet.

The Visitors Center features Earth, Water, Air and Fire and has a section for each with a tremendous amount of information, photographs and samples. It was very impressive. The also have a protected tortoise habitat but we didn't see any tortoises.

Mojave Max

The Conservation Area is protected habitat for the Desert Tortoise. A mascot tortoise, named Mojave Max, was kept at the Visitors Center and died on July 2nd, 2008 of natural causes at the age of 65. A successor has not been named.

Old Spanish Trail

Explored, in part, by Spanish explorers as early as the late 1500s, the Old Spanish Trail is a historical trade route which connected the New Mexico settlements near Santa Fe with that of southern California. Approximately 1,200 miles long, it ran through areas of high mountains, arid deserts, and deep canyons.

The Old Spanish Trail is considered one of the most arduous of all trade routes ever established in the United States. The Trail saw extensive use by pack trains from about 1830 until the mid-1850s.

Towards the southern end of the National Conservation Area are Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, the western ghost town replica of Bonnie Springs, and the village of Blue Diamond.

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

In the mid-1830s, a campsite was established along the wash that runs through the ranch. The spring-fed creek and grassy meadows formed an oasis for travelers using the alternate route of the Spanish Trail through Cottonwood Valley. The use of the site by pack and wagon trains continued until their replacement by the railroad in 1905. This remote trail was also used extensively by outlaws involved in Indian slave trading, horse stealing and raids upon passing caravans.

Bonnie Springs

Bonnie Springs Ranch was first constructed in 1843, as a stopover for wagon trains going to California down the Old Spanish Trail. In 1846, General Fremont on his way to California stopped at Bonnie Springs Ranch to gear up for his trip through Death Valley.

Wild Burros - Bonnie Springs

The 220,000 acre Red Rock Herd Management Area contains both wild horses and burros. The burros often congregate near Bonnie Springs, Spring Mountain Ranch and the town of Blue Diamond along State Route 159.

Blue Diamond

Blue Diamond, originally known as Cottonwood Springs, changed its name when the Blue Diamond Company took ownership of the mine and built corporate housing for the workers. The Company started plans to develop the land in October 1923, when Las Vegas' population was only 5,000. Mules and hand laborers also built 11½ miles of railroad, and rock from the mine was hauled six miles down the hill to the track until it was more complete.

Blue Diamond was originally a stop on the Old Spanish Trail between 1830 and 1848. The trail was then used as a wagon road for the Mormons until 1905.

Our little excursion complete, we headed back to the hotel for a relaxing hour at the hot tub and then supper at the Outback. We did some grocery shopping, then drove the Strip. After all, it wouldn't seem right to be in Vegas and not even see the Strip!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - Las Vegas to Kingman, Arizona

Our highways today were "in, out, up and down". We left Vegas on I-215, then I-515 and hwy 93 south. We did a short jumps off hwy 93 onto hwy 172 to tour Boulder Dam, hwy 143 to tour Temple Bar, and hwy 125 to tour Chloride. Finally at Kingman we picked up hwy 10/Route 66 west through Oatman to I-40, then east for a few miles on I-40, and south on hwy 95 to Lake Havasu. Hotel rooms were scarce in Lake Havasu due to a jet-ski competition so we turned around and bee-lined it back up hwy 95 and east on I-40 to Kingman. Google Map

McDonalds - Where are You?

Our first mission of the day was to find a McDonalds. After seeing a McDonalds on almost every corner the day before, it was beyond belief that it took from Tahiti Village in Vegas to Boulder City before we finally found one. Breakfast sandwiches and coffee secured, we were ready to roll.

Hoover Dam

It was a surprise to us that Hoover Dam is now bypassed. A separate road turns off about 2 miles before the dam.

The Hoover Dam Bypass opened on October 19, 2010. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Hoover Dam Bypass project was expedited. Pending the completion of the bypass, restricted traffic was permitted over Hoover Dam. Some types of vehicles were inspected prior to crossing the dam while semi-trailer trucks, buses carrying luggage, and enclosed-box trucks over 40 feet long were not allowed on the dam at all. The sad part of the new bypass is the high concrete guardrails block any views of the dam and anyone travelling the road without prior knowledge of the dam would whiz by without even realizing it was there.

Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. The dam was controversially named after President Herbert Hoover.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area follows the Colorado River corridor from the westernmost boundary of Grand Canyon National Park to just north of the cities of Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona. It includes all of the eponymous Lake Mead as well as the smaller Lake Mohave – reservoirs on the river created by Hoover Dam and Davis Dam, respectively – and the surrounding desert terrain and wilderness.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar is on the Arizona side of Lake Mead between Bonelli Landing and Greggs Hideout. All areas of Lake Mead are managed by the National Park Service. We drove down to the marina area which also includes boat rentals, lodging, a restaurant, lounge, RV park and general store. Everything was basically shut down. Apparently, since it's below 80°, it's now "off season". The lady at the store said the area shuts down immediately after Labor Day weekend.

Wild Burros - Temple Bar

Just outside of Temple Bar, we came across two burrows. They were not quite as tame as the burros we saw at Bonnie Springs and certainly nothing like the ones at Oatman. They didn't run but they were sure wary of us.


Chloride, a onetime silver mining camp, is considered the oldest continuously inhabited mining town in the state. Chloride still has a post office serving a population of about 300. There are a few stores and restaurant and pub.

What is really unique about Chloride is the landscaping. The entire theme of the town is "creative junk".

Oatman - Day 1

We arrived at Oatman in time to see some donkeys but Brenda was gone. We left a note on her wagon before leaving. We can phone her before leaving the area and maybe stop in again tomorrow.

We will have to get Brenda to give us the name of this new baby.

Baby ?

Oatman, Arizona
Elevation 2700 Feet

Oatman was founded about 1906. By 1931, the area's mines had produced over 1.8 million ounces of gold. By the mid 1930's the boom was over and in 1942 the last remaining mines were closed as nonessential to the war effort.

Burros first came to Oatman with early day prospectors. The animals were also used for hauling rock and ore. Outside the mines, burros were used for hauling water and supplies. As the mines closed and people moved away, the burros were released into the surrounding hills.

The burros you meet today in Oatman, while descendents of domestic work animals are themselves wild -- they will bite and kick. Please keep a safe distance from them. Wild burros are protected by Federal Law from capture, injury, or harassment. Help protect these living symbols of the old west.

Lake Havasu Sunset

Our plan was to stop at Lake Havasu for the night and this sunset was taken as we drove south on hwy 95. Unfortunately, plans don't always work out. We couldn't get a hotel in Lake Havasu and had to drive back to Kingman. On a positive note we will be able to visit Oatman again tomorrow.

Thursday, October 9, 2014 - Kingman to Palm Desert, California

Highways today included hwy 10/Route 66 and Boundary Cone Road to hwy 95 AZ south. Then a short jaunt west on I-40 to hwy 95 CA north, historic Route 66 (National Trails Highway) west to Goffs, then I-40 to Kelbaker Road and south to historic Route 66. We travelled east to Chambless and south on the Cadiz Road (we never found Cadiz) back to Route 66 west, south on Amboy Road, west on hwy 62, south on Utah Trail to Park Blvd and Pinto Basin Road through Joshua Tree National Park and finally west in I-10 to Palm Desert. Google Map

Oatman - Day 2

All these years we've been visiting Oatman, we've never run into the burros outside of the town. Around mile 30 just west of Cool Springs we finally came across some wild donkeys. First there were a couple of them barely visible in the valley and then there was a lone donkey heading up the hill. He watched us carefully for a while, then crossed the road and disappeared.

We arrived at Oatman just in time to see something we hadn't had the pleasure of seeing before..... the arrival of the burros in town after their night in the mountains. First Duke, the lead male arrived. While he strutted down main street greeting the tourists, the girls and babies followed. Most of the donkeys stopped around our friend Brenda's wagon and quickly zeroed in on the tourists with hay cubes. It was a "grand entrance".

Brenda wasn't there yet so we played with the burros for a bit. After leaving Oatman we headed down the Boundary Cone Road toward Bullhead City and promptly passed Brenda on her way to town. We quickly turned around, flagged her down, and visited for a few minutes at the junction before heading on our way. She had left us an email telling us when she would be in Oatman, but we hadn't checked our mail before we left. Luckily we'd taken the right fork out of Oatman instead of the left or we would have missed her by 30 seconds.

Route 66/National Old Trails

We decided to take the historic route 66 trough then towns of Goffs, Essex, Chambless and Amboy then turn south to the Joshua Tree National Park. Our plans were rearranged when we found out the crossroads to historic route 66 were "Closed - Impassable". We were not able to connect with a crossroad until the Kelbaker. National Old Trails Historical Marker


Our first town along Route 66 was Goffs. Established in 1893, Goffs is a nearly empty one-time railroad town at the route's high point in the Mojave Desert. Goffs was a stop on famous U.S. Route 66 until 1931 when a more direct road opened between Needles and Essex. Goffs was also home to workers of the nearby Santa Fe Railroad

Goffs Schoolhouse

The old school has been restored as a museum. The area surrounding the museum has been beautifully landscaped with several historical information exhibits. The museum itself was closed but we were still able to read the information and obtain a pamphlet.

The first school in Goffs opened its doors for the fall term in 1911. A new school, featuring a distinctive mission style, was designed and constructed in 1914. The new school house served as a community center as well as a school until the spring of 1937. It reverted to private ownership in 1938. Schoolhouse Historical Marker

WWII Army Camp at Goffs

The U. S. Army maintained a camp at Goffs 1942-1944. Goffs was an important railhead, supply point, hospital, and for three months in 1942 Headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division. It was part of the 12 million acre Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area established to train the armored forces of General George Patton. Historical Marker. Army Camp Historical Marker

Road Runner's Retreat

About a mile before Chambless is the abandoned Road Runner's Retreat Restaurant. Once a busy travel stop offering tourists gas and food, it now lays quietly tolerating the constant beating of the desert. Each year, it breaks down a bit more.


Back on Route 66, we turned east and toured past Chambless. It appears that Chambless is reinventing itself. There are picnic tables and renovated cabins. The original camp area and the original small cabins are still there and fenced in.

Chambless was established as part of a series of alphabetical railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert that provided water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. It became a popular motorist and tourist stop for Route 66 travelers but has essentially disappeared since the opening of I-40 in 1973.


We continued east and turned down the Cadiz road. We followed signs directing us to Cadiz but after several miles and plowing through deep sand drifts and driving on a soft sand road and still not finding Cadiz - we gave up and turned back.

Cadiz, established in 1883, was the third in a string of alphabetically named railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert to provide water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.


The general store at Amboy was open. The clerk at the store told us that the road was closed because a recent storm washed out several bridges. She said that local residents are just going around the washed out bridges, but for the public - the road is closed. Amboy Historical Marker

Down the Forbidden Trail?

Now that we knew why the road was closed, Doreen ignored my suggestion that we scoot around the signs and go see the washouts - she turned her head and pretended not to see me.

Amboy Crater

The road was open to the crater. We stopped to view it and ended up being the only car in the parking lot. We have decided, we like travelling at this time of year - all the families with kids are back home.

Amboy Crater, formed of ash and cinders, is 250 feet high and 1500 feet in diameter. The crater is in one of the youngest volcanic fields in the United States. Six distinct periods of eruptions created the resulting nested group of volcanic cinder cones encompassing 24 square miles. Volcanic activity started an estimated 6000 years ago with the last period of eruptions occurring as recently as 500 years ago. Amboy Crater's recent origin and its near-perfect shape led to its designation as a National Natural Landmark in 1975. Climb to the rim of the crater to see an outstanding view of the associated lava field and surrounding desert area. Amboy Crater Historical Marker

Joshua Tree National Park

The park is a bit "unimpressive" but a totally relaxing drive nevertheless. There were several "exhibits" along the road and we were finally able to get names for some of the cacti that we have seen over the years. As for the Joshua trees - we've seen larger forests our travels - especially Joshua Tree Hwy 164 in Nevada and Walker's Pass Hwy 178 in California.

Joshua Tree
Cholla Cactus Garden

The Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert connect in the Joshua Park. The north south road we were on travels between the two deserts. There is no real boundary line between the two deserts, just a gradual change in elevation, with representative plants of each desert beginning to dominate. The Mojave Desert is high and cooler and marked by the presence of yucca trees - especially the Joshua Tree. The Colorado Desert is dominated by flats of creosol bush and interrupted by scatterings of ocotillos, ironwood, palo verde, chuparosa, and smoke trees.

Once we connected to I-10 it was an easy hour's drive to Palm Desert. We stopped at the Hampton Inn for the night and headed to the IHOP to for dinner.

Friday, October 10, 2014 - Palm Desert-Los Angeles-Palm Desert

Our return trip to Los Angeles today took us on I-10 and Hwy 101 in and Hwy 134, I-215 and I-10 back. It took us 2 hours to get to Los Angeles but because of rush hour and weekend traffic it took us 3.5 hours to get back. Google Map

Universal Studios Slideshow

Universal Studios

Upon entering the grounds, we first had to grab a bite to eat and scrounge for a table. Animals in a zoo are likely more hospitable but we finally managed to "share" a table with an oriental mother and son.


The first show was Waterworld. A live-action demonstration of stunts, pyrotechnics and a lot of gunfire. We chose NOT to sit in the green "wet zone" seats and managed to stay dry during the performance. It was quite spectacular.

Bates Motel

Movie Sets

The Studio tram tour through the backlots was fun and relaxing. It was a bit disappointing that the old 50's and 60's TV show houses have been replaced with sets from Wisteria Lane, the Desperate Housewives location.

At least they left the "Psycho" house intact. Even Norman Bates was there to greet us.

Any Main Street USA Facade
Western Facade
How to Saw Off an Arm

Special Effects

From Waterworld, we wandered down to the Special Effects show. The demonstration of "how to saw off an arm" plus various other tricks of the trade were quite interesting.


I was happy to see Universal still had the "Jaws" set included on the tour. Fond memories were rekindled from when I'd been on the tour many years before with my kids.

The shark and sets were a tad weathered looking but it was still fun to see.

King Kong/Jurassic 3D

The King Kong/Jurassic 3D simulation and the subway explosion from the set of Bones was a bit intense and got a good crowd reaction. Lots of screams and relief laughter when the tram moved on.

Jurassic Park

I finally convinced Doreen to try a couple of the rides. Jurassic Park Log Ride was great till the last 30 seconds when it dropped into the water - but I got wet, she stayed dry.

We checked out The Mummy ride and because it was a roller coaster, Doreen declined. So I went alone alone and it was fun - until it went backwards - then, not so much.

I thought Doreen would be OK on the Transformer ride since it was "simulated" and she said OK but with great trepidation. She should have gone with her first instinct - she barely made it out of the theatre and spent the next hour trying to calm her stomach. Luckily it was near the end of the day and we found one last place to sit, relax and watch a the trained animal show.

I Went Alone
I Should Have Gone Alone

Animal Actors

Dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, a raccoon and a rooster all played their parts in a live stage production. It was truly amazing to see such trained animals. What a fun way to close out the experience instead of watching Doreen with her head in a barf bag.

The best part of the whole day was the minimal walking and standing around we had to do. We had actually considered renting the electric wheelchairs to minimize the walking as we were concerned we wouldn't make it through the day, however, they were sold out.

Parking with my handicap pass took us directly to the front entrance gates. Then we purchased the slightly higher-priced tickets for "Front of the Line" and at every gate we were ushered in on a shorter route and seated almost immediately. We would highly recommend spending the additional money for the reduced aggravation.

We left Universal shortly after 6:00 pm and dove headfirst into 2 hours of bumper to bumper traffic. That fixed us. Tomorrow we are heading to the lonely desert roads again. Once back in Palm Desert, we stopped at IHOP for dinner before heading back to the hotel. We had a bit of a problem at the hotel. The toilet backed up this morning and what we thought was fixed - wasn't. We ended up having to change rooms - just next door so it wasn't too much of a hassle.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 - Palm Desert to Cave Creek

Highways today included I-10, hwy 86 and hwy 111 south, I-8 east to Yuma, hwy 95 north, I-10 east, hwy 60, hwy 74 to Carefree Highway and finally Cave Creek Road. Google Map

Coachella Valley

The Coachella Valley, located in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran Desert, extends for approximately 45 miles southeast from the San Bernardino Mountains to the northern shore of the Salton Sea. It includes the Salton Sea, the Imperial Valley and the Gulf of California.

It is approximately 15 miles wide along most of its length, bounded on the west by the San Jacinto Mountains and the Santa Rosa Mountains and on the north and east by the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Many famous Southern California desert resort cities such as Palm Springs and Palm Desert are located here.

The valley is the primary date-growing region in the United States, responsible for nearly 95 percent of the nation's crop. The earliest attempt at growing dates came about in 1890 when the United States Department of Agriculture imported date palm shoots from Iraq and Egypt. Sixty-eight shoots were distributed across the Southwest U.S. in Las Cruces, Yuma, Phoenix, and several California cites. The area's entire date industry can be traced back to those original USDA experiments.

Pepper Farms

We passed through a large area or pepper farms which all seemed to be part of Prime Time. There were signs along the road identifying the individual farms.

By assembling the largest network of acreage that extends across California and into various regions of Mexico, Prime Time is the top supplier in the pepper category today.

The Coachella area is one of the richest growing regions in the world, this fertile ground and warm climate are ideal for the demands of growing premium-quality peppers. Coachella Valley is the base of Prime Time's operations. Peppers are grown both in spring and fall seasons.

Palm Tree and Cactus Farms

It was also a surprise to us when we came across some tree farms - of palm trees and cactus plants. These nurseries were not really much different that ours at home - they just had different trees and plants. We saw several palm trees with bags protecting the fruit but we didn't know what they were. We have now found out they were date palms.

Salton Sea

We stopped at the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club visitors center and received a rapid ecology lesson from the hostess there. Apparently the Sea is in danger of extinction from evaporation and with little new water coming into it, the salt levels increase and wildlife cannot survive. It supports 30% of the remaining population of the American white pelican.

The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault, predominantly in California's Imperial and Coachella Valleys.

The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert in Southern California. Currently, its surface is 226 feet below sea level. The sea is fed by the New, Whitewater, and Alamo Rivers, as well as agricultural runoff, drainage systems, and creeks.

The Salton Sea was accidentally created by the engineers of the California Development company in 1905. In an effort to increase waterflow into the area for farming, irrigation canals were dug from the Colorado River into the valley. Due to fears of silt buildup, a cut was made in the bank of Colorado River to further increase the water flow. The resulting outflow overwhelmed the engineered canal, and the river flowed into the Salton Basin for two years, creating the sea, before repairs were completed. Salton Sea Historical Marker

Yuma, Arizona

Doreen actually thought Yuma was like Tombstone - a small western town with "almost" Ghost Town status. She was quite surprised to see high rise office buildings. All that way to get there and she'd seen all she wanted to from the highway. My only interest in Yuma was it was across the border where inexpensive dental work had been done by some family members. So we pulled into the outskirts of town, gassed up and continued on our way.

Algodones Sand Dunes

The dunes are located about 6 miles west of Yuma. We stopped at the rest stop there and took pictures. The area is know as Imperial Sand Dune Recreation area.

Because the Colorado River flowed through very flat terrain, the course of the river varied over a wide area, being periodically diverted in one direction or another by silt deposits remaining after floods. Sometimes the river flowed into the Gulf of California, as it does today. Other times it turned westward toward the Salton Sink. Each time the Salton Sink received the river flow, a large freshwater lake called Lake Cahuilla formed.

The last Lake Cahuilla covered much of the Imperial, Coachella and Mexicali Valleys as late as 1450. The most popular theory holds that the Algodones Dunes were formed from windblown beach sands of Lake Cahuilla. The prevailing westerly and northwesterly winds carried the sand eastward from the old lake shore to their present location which continues to migrate southeast by approximately one foot per year.

Cave Creek, Arizona

It was dark before we reached Cave Creek. We stopped at McDonalds in Wickenburg and googled the map. Once we registered at the resort, we drove around town and did some convenience store shopping - had to get our coffee and cream. Our friends - Deana, Alex and Dave were already here so we visited with them for a while. Then we had a relaxing soak in the hot tub for a few minutes before calling it a night. This was a two bedroom and den, two storey unit with it's own hot tub, laundry machines and small courtyard. Very comfortable and a nice place to stay for a couple for a few days.

October 12-13, 2014 - Cave Creek

Sunday, October 12th

Doreen had been fighting a cold and very sore throat since we boarded the plane. Her throat was definitely feeling better this morning so she thought it would be a good idea to take one day to rest and sleep and finally get rid of the bloody thing. I took off on my own and found the local Walmart. The car was full of clothes and groceries when I finally got back.

Alex barbequed steaks and chicken for dinner and Dave made spaghetti squash (at least he did until it was time to spaghetti it). Deana made asparagus with Parmesan cheese and I made a caesar salad. All went well until dessert time. Deana and Doreen cleared the dishes and went to make coffee and get dessert.

Deana's Apple Strudel

Deana had baked a beautiful apple pie this afternoon for dessert. She was carrying the pie and ice cream. Doreen was following behind with the plates and forks. As Deanna reached for the door, the pie hit the floor.

It was upside down and broken on the floor and Deana looked like she was going to cry. They quickly grabbed a bowl and scooped it off the floor. She said she would make another one but Doreen laughed and said no - we'll just call this one apple strudel. Emergency over, they brought the remains out to the barbeque, announced what had happened and left it up to the rest of us whether we'd eat it. The strudel disappeared.

Monday, October 13

Another lazy day for us. We woke late and took our time this morning. Around noon we headed to the town of Carefree to check our Doreen's employers home, but the security code didn't work. So all we could do was walk around the outside and peek in the windows. The pool area was really beautiful.

We then drove to Walmart to do some shopping, had lunch at Subway and headed back to Cave Creek. The rest of the afternoon was spent reading and napping.

Alex had the barbeque going again for supper. Chicken, herb potatoes and fresh salad. We visited with Alex, Deana and Dave for a while before shuffling back to our unit for the night. Our time here has really flown. We will be leaving in the morning.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - Cave Creek to Globe, Arizona

Highways today included Cave Creek Road, hwy 101, hwy 202 (a bit of extra hwy 202 once we realized we were heading west) then Sal Vista Road to hwy 60, hwy 88 Apache Trail to Lake Roosevelt, and finally hwy 188 south to Globe - a grand total of 150 miles!! Google Map

Apache Trail

The Apache Trail, officially known as State Route 88, was a stagecoach trail that ran through the Superstition Mountains. The Apache Indians originally used this trail through the mountains.

The Trail winds steeply through 40 miles of rugged desert mountains, past deep reservoir lakes like Canyon Lake and Apache Lake. The narrow, winding road is unpaved from just east of the town of Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Dam. There are steep cliff drops and little in the way of safety barriers.

The ruts you see in the road are the run-off points where rain runs down to the canyon floors. It was easy to see why most tourists turned around when the pavement ended.

The Superstition Mountains

The Superstition Mountains are anchored by Superstition Mountain, and bounded roughly by U.S. Route 60 on the south, State Route 88 on the northwest, and State Route 188 on the northeast.

Superstition Legends

The legend of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine centers around the Superstition Mountains. According to the legend, a German immigrant named Jacob Walts discovered a mother lode of gold in the Superstition Wilderness and revealed its location on his deathbed in Phoenix in 1891 to Julia Thomas, a boarding-house owner who had taken care of him for many years.

Some Apaches believe that the hole leading down into the lower world, or hell, is located in the Superstition Mountains. Winds blowing from the hole are supposed to be the cause of severe dust storms in the metropolitan region.

Apacheland Movie Ranch

Construction on the Apacheland Studio western town began on February 12, 1959 by Superstition Mountain Enterprises and associates. By June 1960 Apacheland Studio was open for business and filmed its first TV western Have Gun, Will Travel in November 1960 and its first full length movie The Purple Hills.

From its incorporation in 1959 to its demise in 2004, Apacheland Studio has seen Hollywood's finest walk it's streets. Actors such as Elvis Presley, Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, Ronald Reagan and Audie Murphy filmed western television shows and movies, such as Gambler II, Death Valley Days, Blind Justice, Charro, Have Gun, Will Travel and The Ballad of Cable Hogue. The last full length movie to be filmed was the 1994 HBO movie Blind Justice.

On May 26, 1969, fire destroyed most of the ranch. Only 7 buildings survived. The sets were soon rebuilt but then almost 35 years later on February 14, 2004, 2 days after its 45th anniversary, another fire destroyed most of the Apacheland. The cause of both fires remain a mystery.

Goldfield Ghost Town

Situated atop a small hill between the Superstition Mountains and the Goldfield Mountains, the settlement of Goldfield got its start in 1892 when very rich, high grade gold ore was found in the area. A town soon sprang up and on October 7, 1893 it received its first official post office.

The strike, coupled with the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine, which had been circulating for years, led plenty of new miners to the area and in no time, the town boasted three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, brewery, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, and a school. For five years the town boomed until some 1,500 souls were residing in the burgeoning city.

But Goldfield was obviously not destined to die permanently. In 1966, Robert F. “Bob” Schoose, a long time ghost town, mining, and treasure-hunting enthusiast heard of the old site of Goldfield, but upon inspection, he found little left other than a few foundations and rambling shacks. He and his wife, Lou Ann, then located another five-acre site that was once the location of the Goldfield Mill and rebuilt the old town.

Today, Goldfield's street is filled with authentic looking buildings including numerous shops, a brothel, bakery, leather works, jail, livery, and more.

Saguaro Cactus

The saguaro cactus along this route were incredible. Right from Cave Creek to Lake Roosevelt they covered the mountains and valleys. Some had 5 or 6 arms with more arms growing out of their arms. The saguaro can grow to be over 70 feet tall. It is the State Wildflower of Arizona.

Saguaros have a relatively long lifespan. They may grow their first side arm any time from 75–100 years of age, but some never grow one at all. A saguaro without arms is called a spear.

The arms are grown to increase the plant's reproductive capacity (more apices lead to more flowers and fruit). The growth rate of saguaros is strongly dependent on precipitation. Saguaros in drier western Arizona grow only half as fast as those in and around Tucson, Arizona. Some specimens may live for more than 150 years. The largest known saguaro is the Champion Saguaro growing in Maricopa County, Arizona, and is 45.3 feet tall with a girth of 10 feet. These cacti grow slowly from seed, and never from cuttings. Whenever it rains, saguaros soak up the rainwater. The cactus will visibly expand, holding in the water. It conserves the water and slowly consumes it.

Theodore Roosevelt Dam

Theodore Roosevelt Lake is formed by Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River as part of the Salt River Project. Located roughly 80 miles northeast of Phoenix in the Salt River Valley, it is the largest lake or reservoir located entirely within the state of Arizona.


We encountered a Tarantula along the sidewalk. We were more impressed with him than he was with us. We wondered if he even noticed us - or cared. He blended in so well with the rocks that we wondered how many other times we've passed a Tarantula without even noticing. They say they are not fatal to humans but we gave him a wide berth anyway.

Tarantulas comprise a group of often hairy and very large family of spiders, of which approximately 900 species have been identified. Most species of tarantulas are not dangerous to humans, and some species have become popular in the exotic pet trade. Though all tarantulas are venomous and some bites cause serious discomfort that might persist for several days, so far there is no record of a bite causing a human fatality.

Cactus Willie

We had to mess around a bit and put Willie on the cactus for pictures. We made sure though that the cactus was different than the one we put him on a few years ago and couldn't tear him off.

We wanted to go to the Tonto National Monument to see what the Saguaro at the visitor's center looks like now but the Monument was closed for the day. We decided to stop at Globe for the night and head north to Payson tomorrow but we stopped for a few minutes at the entrance for pictures with Willie.

After having some super at McDonalds, we got a room at the Quality Inn. This hotel is being renovated and is quite nice.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Globe to Payson, Arizona

Not a lot of highways today. Hwy 60 west, hwy 188 north and 87 north to Tonto Natural Bridge and back to Payson. Not many miles today either - a total of 107 but we did 1 mile by foot, hiking up to the cliff dwelling - does that count? For some reason Google Maps will not let us complete the drive on Hwy 88 to Roosevelt. We did drive that road and not US 60 as shown on the map. Google Map

Tonto National Monument

We travelled north from Globe so that we could visit the Tonto National Monument and check "our" saguaro tree. In our first pictures in 2008, it had a couple of tiny nubs, in 2011 it had two arms. We've decided since we are keeping track of this saguaro we would name him "Spike". He now has four arms.

Tonto National Monument is lies on the northeastern edge of the Sonoran Desert, which is generally arid land with annual rainfall of about 16 inches. The Salt River runs through this area, providing a rare, year-round source of water.

Cliff Dwellings

After we checked out Spike, we went into the visitors center to view the short movie. I somehow had this incredible urge to hike the half-mile (uphill) to actually see these historic sites. I thought Doreen was going to fall over when I said I wanted to go. Normally, I can't do very much walking. It wasn't long before we realized we had probably bit off more than we could chew but we very slowly persevered and finally reached the top. They weren't called "cliff dwellings" for nothing. It took us over half an hour but there were benches and stone walls we rested on every few hundred feet. Now writing this, I still can't believe we did the hike, but am glad we did!

Well-preserved cliff dwellings were occupied by the Salado culture during the 13th, 14th, and early 15th centuries. The people farmed in the Salt River Valley and supplemented their diet by hunting and gathering native wildlife and plants. The Salado were fine craftsmen, producing some of the most flamboyant polychrome pottery and intricately woven textiles to be found in the Southwest. Some of the artifacts excavated nearby are on display in the visitor center museum.

The Tonto National Monument Archeological District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Tonto National Monument, Lower Ruin and Tonto National Monument, Upper Ruin are archeological sites that were listed in 1989. Tonto National Monument is managed by the National Park Service.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Doreen had found this park on her own and wanted me to see it. More hiking, but at least this one was on a relatively flat path or we'd likely not have had enough energy left to walk it.

There are four lookouts over the bridge - two from each direction. It's absolutely incredible when you walk around, look back and see where you just came from. Natural stone archway tunnels right under your feet.

Tonto Natural Bridge natural arch is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. Tonto Natural Bridge stands over a 400-foot-long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point and reaches a height of 183 feet.

This natural bridge was first documented by David Gowan, a Scotsman, in 1877 while hiding from hostile Apache tribe members. Gowan was impressed by the location and persuaded his family to emigrate and live there. Gowan also tried to claim the land for himself under squatter's rights.

Gowan family members lived near the bridge until 1948. Their lodge building survives to this day and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Payson, Arizona

Both of us were pretty stiff and sore after our strenuous hikes today. The thought of a long soak in the hot tub sounded good to both of us so we decided to call it a day and try and get lodging in Payson at the Mazatzal Hotel.

Tonto Apache Tribe - Mazatzal Hotel & Casino

We were lucky enough to get a room at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino and quite happy to call it quits earlier than normal. Doreen had stayed at this hotel in 2011 and said it was fabulous.

The Tonto Apache Tribe has inhabited this area since long before Payson existed. A hardy and determined group of people who refused to be driven out in the classic Indian Wars of the 1800s and the capture and confinement of white man, the Tonto Apaches were officially recognized as a tribe on October 6, 1972.

The Tonto Apache Reservation, located south of Payson, was created on May 31, 1974 within the Tonto National Forest. It consists of 85 acres. With the smallest land base of any reservation in the state of Arizona, it serves about 100 tribal members.

With the construction and opening in August, 2007 of the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino, the Tonto Apaches have found themselves in a position to greatly improve their quality of life, school, health and business opportunities, and to contribute significantly to charitable causes in Payson and the surrounding Arizona Rim Country area.

Thursday, October 16, 201 - Payson to Hannagan Meadow, Arizona

Highways today were east on hwy 260, south on hwy 60, east on hwy 73 through White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation, back on hwy 260 to Eagar and south on hwy 191 to Hannagan Meadow. Google Map

Today was more of a sight seeing day than actual touring. That would be a good thing, because our poor abused muscles would not have allowed any more hiking. It was just before 11:00 by the time we stopped at McDonalds for food and headed out of Payson. What a beautiful drive through the mountains. The trees in the higher elevations are starting to change color. White Mountain Scenic Byway

Fort Apache Historic Park

We stopped at the museum to pay the entrance fee and watched at short video about the Apache Nation history, then drove around the remaining fort buildings.

In July 1869 the U.S. 1st Cavalry led a scouting expedition of more than 120 troops into the White Mountains area seeking to kill or capture any Apache people they encountered.

Army scouts reported finding over 100 acres of cornfields along the White River. Miguel, an Apache chief visited the camp, and invited Colonel Green to visit his village. Green sent Captain John Barry, urging him “if possible to exterminate the whole village.” When Captain Barry arrived at Miguel's village, however, he found white flags flying.

Post Office

The men, women and children came out to meet them and went to work at once to cut corn for their horses. They showed such a spirit of delight at meeting them that the officers said if they had fired upon them they would have been guilty of cold-blooded murder.

The area is still being used as a central community hub with school and post office. Twenty seven historic buildings make up the core of the 288 acre site. Fort Apache was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Fort Apache

Commanding Officer's Residence

Hwy 191 Fire

It was disheartening once we turned south on highway 191 to see the devastation that the 2011 fire caused. On our southern trip to St. Augustine that year, we were rerouted at Eagar onto hwy 60 east because of the fire, so we did not see any of the devastation and damage incurred.

Hannagan Meadow

Getting dark at 6:00 pm is playing havoc with our travel habits. We reached Hannagan Meadow shortly after 5:00 pm expecting to find an open gas station. What we found was a sports lodge with one lady managing the hotel, gas station and restaurant. We decided to stay the night in one of the "very rustic cabins" at an exorbitant price (the last one available). It was quite quaint and at least we had electricity, heat and running water. We could have ended up sleeping in the car.

We were in McCafferty Cabin #6 with two queen beds (complete with hand made quilts), two full size beds, one queen size sofa bed, one twin roll away bed, two bathrooms, two wood stoves, two dining areas, and a full kitchen.

No TV. No radio. No internet. No phone. The two of us should be quite comfortable and for entertainment we can always enjoy a game of musical beds.

The camp has seven lodge rooms and seven cabins of assorted sizes, a sit down restaurant, gas station, gift shop and 4 extremely friendly dogs, Lucy, Max, Bear, and Mini Max. Lucy and Max are huge siberian huskies, Bear is a shepherd cross, and Mini Max is a shih-tzu cross. When we left the restaurant, all four escorted us home and Lucy came in to make sure the cabin safe for us to enter. She checked every nook and cranny.

A Night to Remember

Without electronics, we were shut down early for the night. We didn't play musical beds, but the following is a recap of our experience:

  • 10:30 - I woke up to use the washroom thinking it was the middle of the night or early morning and it was only 10:30. I was thinking I'd already had a good night's sleep.
  • 12:30 - I wake up again wondering if was morning yet.
  • 1:00 - Doreen got up to piddle and had to remake her bed because the "fitted" sheet didn't fit.
  • 1:30 - Doreen thinks she hears me tapping on the keyboard and gets out of bed to investigate. I was sound asleep in the other room and then she found the disturbance. Something was rustling around under the bathroom cupboard. She wasn't about to open it so crawled back into bed.
  • 2:30 - I wake Doreen up to ask me where the computer was because I heard her tapping on it. Doreen explains she thinks it was a mouse (or small critter) in the bathroom cupboard.
  • 4:42 - I flew out of bed because something bit the side of my foot. Nothing under the covers, no actual bite marks but the spot was bleeding. I washed it off, put on a bandaid and sat up playing Sudoku waiting for morning to come.
  • 5:42 - The guys in the cabin next to us torqued up their gator to head our on their fishing expedition.
  • 6:00 - I finally fell back to sleep.
  • 7:25 - I woke up smelling shampoo and figured Doreen had already been in the shower because her bathroom door was open and the light was on. I called her and ended up waking her to ask if she was awake. She had been in bed sound asleep and had not gotten up and left the light on. We still haven't figured out where the shampoo smell came from.

The mouse turds had increased in our showers overnight. Neither one of us wanted to clean them out let alone stand in them so we opted for sponge baths and waited patiently for 8:00 am so we could pay for our room and check out. To make matters worse, there wasn't even complimentary coffee - we had to pay $3 for coffee to go.

All in all it was an interesting night but clearly not a restful one and not one I'd like to repeat. I swear the place had invisible guests.

Friday, October 17, 2014 - Hannagan Meadow to Tucson, Arizona

Highways today were hwy 191 south to Clifton, then Black Mountains Scenic Byway for 23 miles, back on hwy 191, west on hwy 70 to Safford, south on hwy 191, west on I-10 to Benson, south on hwy 80 to Tombstone, west on hwy 82, north on hwy 83 to Vail, west on I-10 to Tucson and north on hwy 77 to Oro Valley. Google Map

Highway 191

Highway 191 also known as the Coronado Trail is 90 miles of fabulous scenery, sharp dropoffs and switchback curves. Doreen can't look over the edge so she depends on my comments (yelps and whimpers) to visualize her viewpoint. It can be quite colourful. We saw a couple of deer, multiple cows and very few cars until we reached the mining area of Morenci.

Morenci Mine

The destruction of the surrounding land north of the town had doubled in size since 2008. All for the consumption of copper and gold. I suppose if your livelihood depends on it, it can be justified but it is not a pretty sight.

The biggest employer in Morenci (and in nearby Clifton) is Freeport-McMoRan, the owner of the Morenci Mine, the largest copper mining operation in North America, and one of the largest copper mines in the world. The town was a site of the Arizona Copper Mine Strike of 1983. The large open-pit mine is north of the town.

The economy of Morenci as well as that of the surrounding area is almost completely dependent on the Morenci Mine. Between 2003 and 2008, the worldwide rise in copper prices led the mine to double its work force to 4,000 employees, and increase production by 55 percent to an average of one million tons of ore per day.

Several hundred new homes were built, leading to a boom in the construction industry. All the homes in Morenci, new and old, remain owned by Freeport-McMoRan.

Black Hills Back Country Byway

Just south of Clifford we tried a new road called the Black Hills Back Country Byway - twenty-three miles of gravel, one lane areas and expansive landscapes. The first 15 miles were great but the last 8 had rough roads and several areas with washout damage. It was still worth the effort and broke up the more mundane straight road from Clifford to Safford. The sad note is the mining scars at Morenci are still visible from this road and it was twenty-five miles away.

Spreader Dikes

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, periods of drought and too many livestock resulted in loss of vegetation in this region. With little vegetation to protect the soil, heavy rains eroded the topsoil from these hillsides. These low walls - called spreader dikes - were built in the 1930 by the Civilian Conservation Corps to keep the soil from washing away.

The Black Hills Back Country Byway passes through the historical territory of the Chiricahua and Western Apache, who arrived in southeast Arizona around 1600. Some Apaches used the area as a local travel route and hideout prior to the surrender of Geronimo in 1886. In 1540, Coronado passed through the area as he led Spanish conquistadors in search of gold and the Seven Cities of Cibola.

Each end of the byway begins in a desert shrub plant community and travels up through bands of desert grassland and then higher into stands of juniper, pinyon pine, and oaks. The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area preserves 21,000 acres of scenic desert canyons surrounding perennial rivers and creeks. The byway crosses the conservation area near the Old Safford Bridge.

Near the byway's western end are rock piles marking prisoner grave sites. This road was originally built by prisoners between 1914 and 1920. In 1916, a prisoner was killed by a guard while attempting to escape. The area is managed by the BLM.

Tombstone, Arizona

We originally thought we would stay in Tombstone for the night but as it turned out Tombstone Helldorado Days is this weekend so there wasn't a hotel to be found. We drove around town a bit but quickly decided that fighting the crowds to do what we had already done before wasn't what we had in mind anyway. The decision to go to Tucson for the night seemed like a good alternative.

Tucson, Arizona

We arrived in Tucson just before dark and booked into the Hampton Inn, Oro Valley. We went to the Olive Garden for supper, cleaned the inside of the car, and did some laundry.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Tucson to Phoenix, Arizona

Highways today included south on hwy 77 (Oracle Road) west on Speedway Blvd to Saguaro National Park and back to hwy 77 north, hwy 79, hwy 60 west, hwy 202 loop, and hwy 101 to Tantum Road, in Scottsdale. We had a bit of difficulty figuring out how to get to the hotel so ended up doing a couple of circles south on hwy 51 and back to Tantum Road. Finally, after two tries, we figured out how to get to the hotel. Google Map

Tucson Carwash

We tried to get a carwash last night after supper but after we paid the automatic carwash didn't work but kept our $5.00. This morning we passed by a group of kids doing a fundraiser so pulled in and got a great wash. I think the dads were having more fun than the kids.

International Wildlife Museum

We stopped to tour through the Wildlife Museum. The exhibits were absolutely beautiful and so well done it was hard to believe the animals were not real. From bugs to polar bears to extinct animals, we can guess, there wasn't an animal missed. International Wildlife Museum

Founded in 1988, the museum highlights over 400 species of insects, mammals and birds from around the globe. Some of the collections are more than 100 years old and all the animals found at the museum were donated by various government agencies, wildlife rehabilitation centers, captive breeding programs, zoos and individuals.

Tucson Mountain Park

We stopped at the interpretive pullouts of the Tucson Mountain Park. Tucson Mountain Park was developed by Pima County and the National Park Service during the Great Depression of the 1930s. as park of the Public Works projects undertaken by the Works Progress Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Tucson Mountain Park was established April 1929 to preserve the unique vegetation, wildlife, and terrain of the Sonoran Desert. The Pima County Parks Commission was established to oversee the park. The park is approximately 20,000 acres and has approximately 62 miles of non-motorized shared-use trails.

Old Tucson Studios

Hundreds of movies have been filmed at the studios and it is still a live production location. We were advised that three more films have been scheduled to be completed this winter. Wandering around the movie sets was fascinating. We took the train and stagecoach rides through the park. I thoroughly enjoyed this location!!

Old Tucson Studios 2014 Slideshow

Old Tucson Studios is a movie studio and theme park just west of Tucson, Arizona, adjacent to the Tucson Mountains and close to the western portion of Saguaro National Park. Built in 1939 for the movie Arizona, it has been used for the filming of several movies and television westerns since then. It was opened to the public in 1960, and historical tours are offered about the movies filmed there, along with live cast entertainment featuring stunt shows and shootouts.

Old Tucson Studios was originally built in 1938 by Columbia Pictures on a Pima County-owned site as a replica of 1860s Tucson for the movie Arizona, starring William Holden and Jean Arthur. Workers built more than 50 buildings in 40 days. Many of those structures are still standing.

Other films include:

1963 - McLintock
1963 - Lilies of the Field
1970 - Dirty Dingus Magee
1972 - The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
1976 - The Outlaw Josey Wales
1986 - The Three Amigos
1987 - The Quick and the Dead
1993 - Tombstone

After Arizona completed filming, the location lay dormant for several years, until the filming of The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. Other early movies filmed on this set included The Last Round-Up (1947) with Gene Autry and Winchester '73 (1950) with James Stewart and The Last Outpost with Ronald Reagan. The 1950s saw the filming of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958), Cimarron (1959) and Rio Bravo (1959).

Over the years, segments of several TV series such as Little House on the Prairie, Gunsmoke, High Chaparral, Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel, Wagon Train, and Death Valley Days have been filmed at the studios. Old Tucson Studios - Wikipedia

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park, established October 14, 1994, is divided into two sections - the first approximately 20 miles east of Tucson and the second approximately 15 miles west. The total area is 91,442 acres. We visited the west section which was not too impressive. We drove down a couple of dirt roads through the heart of the cactus covered mountains.

The Park conserves fine tracts of the Sonoran Desert, including the Tucson Mountains in the west and the Rincon Mountains in the east. Besides Saguaro, many other kinds of cactus, including barrel, cholla, and prickly pear, are abundant in the park. Saguaro National Park

This beautiful sunset was taken just north of Florence. We had stopped at McDonalds for a drink and were just a couple of minutes back on the road.

Sunday, October 19, 2014 - Phoenix to Williams, Arizona

Highways today were 101 west, I-17 north, hwy 69 west to Prescott, hwy 89 north, hwy 89A to Jerome and Sedona, back on I-17, and finally I-40 to Williams. Before actually stopped for the night, we drove the extra 19 miles to Ash Fork and back to Williams. Google Map


We approached Jerome from the west. We arrived around noon so decided to stop for lunch at the Mile High Grill. We didn't do any shopping or wander through any of the shops. Once we finished lunch, we headed on our way. After all - today was a really big day - we had to go about 250 miles before we shut down. Prior trips usually ran about 500 - 700 miles a day but this year we were spoiled with short junkets from hotels.

Jerome is in the Black Hills of Yavapai County. Founded in the late 19th century on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley, it is more than 5,000 feet above sea level. It is about 100 miles north of Phoenix along State Route 89A between Sedona and Prescott. Supported in its heyday by rich copper mines, it was home to more than 10,000 people in the 1920s. As of the 2010 census, its population was 444.


As we drove through Sedona, we noticed that the quilt shop was open so of course Doreen had to stop. I wasn't too enthusiastic about shopping there but while she was getting some material cut, I found some quilted hot pads shaped like a bowl I liked. Doreen had been doing her best not to buy any more quilt material but finally broke down in Sedona. I am sure she could open her own store with the fabric she already has.

Ash Fork

We couldn't remember if we had passed through Ask Fork before or not so decided to take the extra time to travel the 19 miles and check it out. As it turns out, we have been through the town. We recognized this historical marker. Ash Fork Historical Marker

The community was established as a siding of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, later known as the Santa Fe Railroad, in October 1882. It was named in 1883 by F.W. Smith, General Superintendent of the railroad, in reference to a thicket ash trees at the site. The first official post office was established on April 12, 1883. The entire town of Ash Fork burned to the ground in 1893, and was rebuilt on the opposite side of the railroad tracks from its original location, where it remains today.

Flagstone Capital of the World

Ash Fork has proclaimed itself "The Flagstone Capital of the World", due to the large number of stone quarries and stone yards in and around the town. The title of "Flagstone Capital of the World", however, was bestowed upon Ash Fork by the Ash Fork Development Association and Ash Fork Historical Society. The title was officially bestowed upon the town in 2014 by the Arizona House of Representatives with the passage of H.R. 2001.


We booked in at the Best Western in Williams before we investigating Ash Fork, then off to Pancho McGillicuddy's - of course for dinner. After all, it is the reason Doreen wanted to stay in Williams. She loves their fajitas.

Pancho McGillicuddy's

Constructed in 1893, Pancho McGillicuddy's (then called The Cabinet Saloon) is one of the oldest buildings in Williams, Arizona. In February, 1993, the building underwent a major renovation, and many of the historic features were restored utilizing the original materials where possible.

Monday, October 20, 2014 - Williams to Las Vegas

Highways today include I-40 to Seligman, Route 66 to Oatman, Boundary Cone Road and hwy 95 AZ to Bullhead City, hwy 163, hwy 95 Nevada north and I-215 into Vegas. Google Map

Route 66

We are on the homeward stretch now but instead of the long drive to Canada, we just have to get back to Las Vegas. We decided to drive the 140 miles of Route 66 between Seligman to Oatman and head north into Las Vegas on highway 95.


Cattle Crossing
Means Go Slow
That Old Bull
Is Some Cow's Beau.

Just west of Seligman the Burma-Shave signs start. Each group of signs is a saying. Burma-Shave was an American brand of brushless shaving cream, famous for its advertising gimmick of posting humorous rhyming poems on small sequential highway roadside signs. Re-creations of Burma-Shave sign sets appear on Arizona State Highway 66, part of the original U.S. Route 66, between Ash Fork and Kingman (though they were not installed there by Burma-Shave during its original campaigns).

Grand Canyons Caverns

Grand Canyon Caverns is a natural limestone cavern 210 feet underground and the largest dry cavern in the U.S. I would like to take the tour if we're thru here again with more time. There is no doubt though - I'll be going alone. No way will I get Doreen down into a cave again.

Dope on a Rope

The caverns were discovered in 1927 by Walter Peck. He and some friends went back to the hole Walter had discovered and lowered somebody in by rope. In 1928, tourists were given a lantern and lowered in by rope...now the caverns are reachable by elevator, stairs and rope-lighted trails.

Peach Springs

Peach Springs, population was 1,000, serves as the administrative headquarters of the Hualapai people, and is located on the Hualapai Reservation. We stopped at the Hualapai Lodge to get some information on the Skywalk and visit the gift shop. Hualapai is pronounced"wallapie". Who would guess?

Trading Post

The Trading Post was an important commercial enterprise for Peach Springs citizens and travelers on Route 66, which was 'the' major transportation corridor for the region at that time. This property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 21, 2003. Historical Marker Database

John Osterman Gas Station

The John Osterman Shell Station, built by a Swedish immigrant in 1929, closed soon after the turn of the millennium. In 2007, the Hualapai Tribe received a $28,000 federal matching grant to rehabilitate the building. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 15, 2012. Historical Marker Database

Truxton Canyon Indian School (Valentine)

Valentine Indian School

In 1901, the two story red brick Truxton Canyon Indian School was built. The Native American children were removed from their homes and kept at the boarding school to teach them how to be "white". Between 1870 and 1930, education was central to United States Indian policy. This policy required mandatory attendance at boarding schools.

Forced to work hard and separated from their families, many students found life at Truxton Canyon traumatic. The regimented lifestyle afforded little free time. Diseases such as measles, influenza, and tuberculosis were common. Some of the older female students adopted younger ones, forming impromptu “families” that helped ease adjustment to the school. NPS - Schoolhouse at Truxton Canyon


Hackberry is a living ghost town located 28 miles east of Kingman. It has a post office which serves 68 residential mailboxes. A former mining town, the name "Hackberry" was from the pellets or mattings that gathered on the cattle's long hair, probably caused from burrs picked up from bushes in the area. Silver mining developed the town, but when the ore began to yield less, Hackberry became a ghost town.


Between Goldroad and Oatman, we came across this burro. As soon as we stopped, she came to the car and stuck her head inside the window. We realized immediately that she not a lone wild burro but likely one from the town herd. Brenda thinks she looks like Peanut but wasn't sure why she would be so far away from the rest of the burros.

Las Vegas

We arrived in Las Vegas just as the sun was setting. I caught this sunset photo while Doreen was in the Tahiti Village checking in.

Wednesday, October 21, 2014 - Las Vegas

Our last day was a lazy one. We woke up at 10:30 am had our showers and headed to IHOP for breakfast. We drove west on Russell and visited some of the rentals that are available. Doreen is considering spending a few winter months in a warmer climate. She liked two of them - Spanish Ridge and San Tropez. Both were really nice complexes and reasonable rates. We then went to the furniture rental showroom at Cort to see what can be found for furniture rentals. At least now she has a rough idea of what to budget for to escape our lovely cold winters.

Lazy River

By the time we finished looking at the rentals and furniture, we were both ready for the Lazy River. We got ourselves on the tubes and we were off. It was colder than the last time Doreen was here but the water was quite warm. I didn't want to get my hair wet and was doing quite well until I tried to get "off" the tube. I'm sure it was a sight to behold.

After the river, we had a relaxing soak in the hot tub.

We went for dinner and then cruised the Strip before parking at the Riviera and wandering around the casino area. My husband had said the place was a shell of it's former self. I basically lived there for 3 weeks every spring for 9 years and now I barely even recognized the hotel. All the familiar restaurants are gone. The registration has been moved to the convention center entrance. The valet parking access from Las Vegas Blvd. has been removed and is self parking now. The original clothing store, gift shop, art gallery, luggage store are all gone. Now there's a Tattoo Shop. There is no upstairs buffet any more.

In the Casino, Nickel Heaven is gone. Keno area now contains some pool tables - not sure why. The gaps between slot machines are huge and make the place look like it's been robbed. If the casino is operating in this sad a condition - and this is where the money is made - I don't even want to hazard a guess as to how poor the condition of the suites are. The only area that retained some similarity was the pool. It's only been two years since we stayed here and we left feeling like an old friend was on his death bed.

Thursday, October 22, 2014 - Las Vegas to Calgary, Alberta

We were up early and ready to go by 9:30. Checkout time was 10:00. We gassed up and headed to the Airport. It only took a couple of minutes to get from the hotel to the Airport and just like that, our trip was over. The only difference was we didn't need to drive two long days to get home.

We had lots of time and whizzed through everything. No line up at the hotel checkout. No lineup at the car rental return. No lineup at the Air Canada check-in and only a fast moving lineup at the security gates. But guess who's bags were "randomly" searched? The inspector couldn't figure out what my wooden saguaro cactus statues were in my carry-on. Although, I've never been detained, this is getting a bit unnerving. Maybe I have a sign on my forehead that shows up in black light or something that says "pick this one". It's ironic as I'm one of the border crossers that actually declares everything and happily pays duty on any overages because I don't want to lose my freedom to travel.

The whole process from the hotel to the car rental, thru customs and into the terminal didn't even take us a half hour. If we were running late, you know you'd hit huge lineups at every junction along the route.

We had about three hours to kill so went for lunch, found our gate and settled in for the wait. The flight home was full and I was jammed in the middle but it was uneventful and we arrived home safe and sound.

This map looks like a drunken sailor just landing on the docks
and trying to get his bearings. LMAO

Next - 2015 Mystery Tour