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Forgotten Historical Route 66 13 May 2016

May 13, 2016

A view from my RV front door.

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Side trips from the Route 66 trip are always fun! Today was the Grand Canyon. A friend of mine has moved to Phoenix and she agreed to accompany me to the Grand Canyon’s Southern Rim. It was great to have a companion along for the day.

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It is difficult to express just how large the Grand Canyon really is. We entered at the Eastern entry and made our way to the Visitor’s center on the map below. Less than 1/4th the distance of the canyon itself. A sign posted stated that the Indian Reservation had a glass viewing walkway only 257 miles away!

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We paused along the way to capture a photo of the ‘Little Colorado River’ and its effect on the landscape. This isn’t even the Grand Canyon yet.

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Our first stop was at the Watch Tower.

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Our first view of the Grand Canyon from the area surrounding the tower. The Colorado River is seen winding through the canyon floor.

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We stopped at another viewing point and I took this photo of the Tower in the distance.

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Photos of the Grand Canyon.

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We did stop at the Tusayan museum and ruins to learn more of the Indians that lived on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

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The smell of Juniper Trees was intoxicating as we walked through the forest.

In the distance you can see the snowcapped San Franciscan Peaks.

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So just how adventurous are you? This is part of the trail going down into the canyon.

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Wildlife at the Visitor’s Center

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Can you make out the mule train trail?

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On our way back we passed through higher elevations and this is the San Francisco Peaks.

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Forgotten Historical Route 66 12 May 2016

May 12, 2016

Montezuma Castle is a five-story, 20-room dwelling built by the Southern Sinagua farmers sometime between 1100 and 1300. This is 100 feet above the valley and was assumed by early American settlers to be of Aztec origin hence the name Montezuma Castle.

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An owl is sitting in this small cave above the ruins. According to the Ranger other owls bring food while this one sits and protects.

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For Cindy and Norma, my bee keeper friends, this is a swarm of bee’s high up on the cliff.

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A short distance from Montezuma Castle is a different structure.

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Next up on this visit in the Verde Valley is Montezuma Well. It is a limestone sink formed long ago, still fed by continuously flowing springs. For those that hear there is nothing here but a lake and not worth the time of a visit I caution you to always visit a site for yourself. I found ruins that date back to about 1050 and there are traces of Indian homes and irrigation everywhere.

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Notice that just below the viewing point for Montezuma Well are a couple of ruins.

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Another roadside oddity found in Verde Valley

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Forgotten Historical Route 66 11 May 2016

May 11, 2016

I began my day by driving through the commercial section of Cottonwood, AZ toward Jerome. My first stop was a scenic overlook. This overlook is nice as I could see some of the old plumes from an abandoned gold mine up on the mountain.

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Driving on the twisting and winding roads back to Jerome I’m now looking for the Gold King Mine Ghost Town. Jerome itself is a quaint town filled with old buildings, narrow winding streets and lots of shops. I’m not a shopper as I don’t collect ‘stuff’ anymore so I don’t wander in and out of the antique/collectable shops nor the tourist shops.

When I get close to the Gold Mine Ghost Town I pull over to take this photo of a blooming plant and another car stops with a family that gets out with picks and shovels to mine for their own gold in all these rocks!

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From the age of the vehicles scattered everywhere it looks like this mine and town were abandoned sometime in the 1940’s or 1950’s.

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The Entrance to the Ghost Town makes you think that this is the 1880’s. This is actually an abandoned Gold Mine from the 1940’s or 1950’s but they did have a few interesting flyers on the wall.

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I took special notice of the Politically Incorrect notice. So when I saw the fee schedule posted inside I asked for a military discount. Oops! They don’t offer military discounts. I asked about the notice outside that supported our troops and she said that they donate to Wounded Warriors each year and support a free day for wounded warriors in wheelchairs. I commented that the sign stated anyone in a wheelchair received free admission. I guess that the blatant sign out front inspired me to get my hackles up and I told her that because of the sign and the fact that no military discount (support) was offered that I was choosing to NOT pay admission for entrance to the Ghost Town. She said she understood and that several others had made a similar comment in the last couple of weeks.  I recommended they either take down the sign or provide ‘support’ to the troops, police and firefighters you purport to support.

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As I’m departing from Jerome I snap a photo of a couple of very large structures that appear to have awesome views.

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On down the mountain I snapped photos of the other side of these structures.

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Clarksdale, AZ hosts its own old Gas Station.

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The Museum of Art building was impressive. There are many, many galleries scattered all over each town/city I have visited here in Arizona thus far. Much like Santa Fe and Albuquerque, NM.

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Next up was a visit to the Tuzigoot National Monument. This is an Indian Pueblo that has been excavated to reveal the lower walls that had been buried and thus preserved as the ceiling and upper walls collapsed. I’ve included the signage from the trail to provide you with an educational and informative view as well as an entertaining experience.

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Next up was the Verde Canyon Railroad. For only $90 (less a 10% military discount) you can have a 4 hour ride through tunnels and canyons that are only accessible via the railroad. Tempting!

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Leaving Clarksdale I see this mural.

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I find that Sedona, AZ is only about 20 miles away and there is another scenic overlook recommended to me so off I go as it is still early in the afternoon.

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The drive toward Sedona is gorgeous! Beautiful and majestic red bluffs.

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On the way to the Scenic Overlook I saw a Historical Marker sign and stopped. Of course there was one of my favorite places just across the street.

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The drive through the Coconino National Forest was beautiful. I passed at least 5 campgrounds and multiple picnic areas to arrive at the Scenic Overlook.

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This is the road I came up and will go down. Good thing I was in the Jeep instead of the RV. I did see several RV’s on this road though.

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Coming back down the mountain I crossed this bridge at the Slides State Park. (Water Slides not Rock Slides)

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Coming into Sedona again the captivating bluffs just catch my eye and want me to climb.

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I fell in love with Sedona. The shops and homes have a backdrop of the rugged mountains and wide open skies.

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This is the Exposures Gallery. A very attractive building.

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The Chapel of the Holy Cross is built into the mountain itself and open to the public. The views from the chapel were awe inspiring.

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Apparently a water source keeps this vegetation growing.

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The interior of the Chapel.

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Next door to the Chapel are homes with breathtaking views.

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A Doctor’s home As seen from the Chapel. A caretaker states that a Doctor from New Jersey owns the home and visits once or twice a year.

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Forgotten Historical Route 66 10 May 2016

May 10, 2016

I’m sleeping next to the southern entrance to the Petrified National Forest. There is no humidity, I have all the windows open as the air is crisp and clear of pollution. At 2 am I hear the coyotes call across the distance in a long lonely howl. This is the way life has been lived in this area of Arizona for centuries. Of course different coyotes but the Indians and early settlers of this region had the same experience.

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I depart the Petrified National Forest and Painted Desert on my way to Holbrook. In celebration of the many finds of dinosaurs the town is decorated with Dinosaurs and petrified wood is EVERYWHERE!

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According to the host at the Old Trails Museum in Winslow, AZ there is a tremendous amount of petrified wood all across northern Arizona on both public and private lands. The sheer weight of the petrified wood keeps it in its place.

Holbrook had its own interesting highlights but I couldn’t capture them all. This is a statue on a corner as I turned toward town.

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Notice the Buffalo and murals.

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Holbrook is also home to the WigWam Motel. The motel is frozen in time as there are vintage cars and trucks parked at the individual WigWam accommodations.

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Next on the list of places seen is the Geronimo Trading Post. This is one of those attractions where you see the signs for miles in advance. I can just hear all of us kids in the car asking daddy to please stop and let us see Geronimo.

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Geronimo is boasted on the sign as being the ‘World’s Largest Petrified Tree’. Geronimo is 87 tons of petrified tree with 9 foot still underground. All the like colored logs and pieces you see laying around Geronimo is part of Geronimo. Can you only imagine the size of the tree before it crumbled in upon itself?

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As I walked into the store I captured the large piece of pottery and windmill and cactus in bloom.

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Most Petrified Wood for sale has been polished on one side to show the beauty of the stone. There were many large pieces for sale and if you had a way to move a 700 pound object that costs almost $2,000 then you should plan a visit.

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Joseph City had a most unusual sign and historical marker greeting me as I entered town. The Historical Marker is made of Petrified Wood with a bronze plaque.

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Arizona has a different Route 66 sign.

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Another of those annoying signs that you see on the highway that builds excitement and curiosity in those traveling down the highway is the ‘Jackrabbit’.

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A nice inlay as you enter the gift shop.

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I spoke for some time with the young woman working in the gift shop. This attraction is celebrating its 67th year in operation. If you would want to go into the back room and sit on the giant Jackrabbit and get your photo taken, pull out your wallet.

As I again hit the road I kept seeing the snowcapped mountain in the distance. (San Francisco Peak)

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As I left I40 to trace the old route 66 I find this all but abandoned trading post. At least it is at an offramp from the freeway so maybe during the height of the tourist season it might have more visitors.

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Just around the corner and I’m on my way to Winslow!

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And of course this corner in Winslow, Arizona was made famous by the ‘70’s song by the Eagles.

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The town of Winslow, Arizona has kept current the spirit of the Eagle’s song alive. Notice the murals painted in the windows, both upstairs and downstairs. There is a red Ford Flatbed truck sitting outside and the murals depict the reflection of that truck and a frozen view of the store’s interior.

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Across the street is a gift shop that has the Eagle’s song on a continuous loop as many tourists visit this corner.

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I’m not sure that this truck is operational but it was parked on 3rd street near where I parked my RV/Jeep.

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Quite a swap meet! Back in the day swap meets (flea markets) were common along Route 66.

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More adventures on the route included the meteor crater, Two Guns and Twin Arrows. The twin arrows were just off the road from an entrance to an Indian casino. I guess the Indians are getting even with the population that took their land and culture by having Casinos throughout the land!

I made a diversion off of my Route 66 trip so I can do a few side trips here in Arizona. Thousand Trails has a RV park called Verde Valley south of Flagstaff. On my way there I stopped for a picnic lunch and this is the view from the ‘Scenic Point’ where I stopped.

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At the turnoff to the Verde Valley RV Resort and Campground I saw old RV’s mixed with newer ones just parked willy nilly and wondered if this is what I could expect. Out of curiosity I continued on down the road even though my GPS told me I had arrived at my destination. Thank goodness I wasn’t going to be boondocking on BLM land like those at the turnoff.

This is the view on the way to my RV sight.

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Just before I pulled into the park I see a sign directing me to a local winery. How cool that there is a Vineyard so close and there is even a river that runs through it. As I was there a group of Kayakers were celebrating the completion of their 2 hour ride down the river.

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I will admit that the prices were too high for me! Samples were $10 a glass and bottles started at $24.78.  So I went shopping in Clarkdale before settling into the RV for the evening. Thanks to Jeff and Berenika I have fresh Asparagus to compliment my veggies.