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Road Trip Through Arizona in April 2008

April 3rd - We had planned to leave Windsor, after a meeting Diana had to attend, about 6p. About 2p it was found she had ALOT of comp time accumulated so her boss said, "Leave now!" We did leave about 3p, picked up a quick sandwich and Stacy at her apartment and headed south on I-25. We made it to Raton, NM without incident, through some rain and spitting snow, and spent the night at the Motel 6. We've come to like Motel 6 for three major reasons: 1) We can usually park very close to the room's door. 2) They accept cancellations up to 5p or 6p local time so we can make reservations along the route and not decide exactly where we will stay each night. We can make that decision close to 5p and make a cell phone call to cancel all the others. 3) They are the cheapest chain and have much improved their act. We've had no cleanliness problems in the past two years.

April 4th - Up and off by 730a, a quick hot water and bagel at MickeyD's, and on down I-25. Into Sante Fe, NM and a bit of a detour trying to find the right place to drop off Stacy at about 1030a, we soon got stuck in a two hour plus traffic jam, on I-25 near Berlinillo, NM, due to a fatal accident (we found on the Albuquerque newspapers website while still in traffic). After a now late lunch at Red Robin restaurant in Albuquerque and just one other stop in Hatch for Dairy Queen, we found our next Motel 6 in Demming, NM. An early stop for a early start tomorrow.

April 5th - Underway by 730a, we had a full day ahead. We headed west on I-10 into Arizona and the Bowie exit. We headed south on a very rolling road that turned into a very rough dirt road (that made Diana quite sick) and passed the trailhead for Ft. Bowie National Historic Site. Noel had taken the trail several times and we didn't want to take the time this trip to see the ruins. Our next stop is Chiricahua National Monument and we are there by 10a. This is where we buy this year's National Park Pass. ($80 - ouch!) After a stop at the visitors center and purchase of some postcards, we take the road to the top and then a walk a short trail. Very wind and somewhat chilly up here so head back down after a couple of pictures. We also took some on the way down . . . (click on any image to enlarge, then the browsers "BACK" button to return here)

Chiricahua National Park, AZ

Diana looking at Cochise's Head (rock outline lying down on the horizion).

Chiricahua National Park, AZ

Diana and Noel at the road's end parking area.

Chiricahua National Park, AZ

Look for the eye then you'll the the "Sea Captain"

 Upon leaving Chiricahua NM we wind around the slat flat that lies between it and our next stop of Sunsites, AZ. This is the place of Noel's parent's and grandparent's retirement. His parents (Dick and Sally) moved there to take care of Sally's aging parents and moved into there house when they both passed away. He has visited this area for over twenty-five years, at least yearly, and more like five or six times a year in the early '00s before they moved to Loveland. Pictured below is that home and business of the town.

Sunsites, AZ

Along the strip . . .

Sunsites, AZ

. . . more stores . . .

Sunsites, AZ

. . . still more . . .

Sunsites, AZ

More and the new Dollar Store in the background.

Sunsites, AZ

That new store, full face.

Sunsites, AZ

The home of Noel's grandparents and then parents.

The highlight of our trip (lol) is next. We head further west, passing the Old Pearce Store on rough, dirt road toward Tombstone. Our first stop, though is about fifteen miles short of Tombstone, just beyond the ghost town of Gleeson, AZ. It's better marked than Noel had seen and known only as "The Rattlesnake Place" to locals. The sign is painted with white paint on rough wood and says, now, "Rattlesnake Crafts". It is like nothing else we've ever seen . . . Now, see for yourself.

The Rattlesnake Place

The driveway to the Rattlesnake crafts area. About 2 miles from the "main" dirt road.

The Rattlesnake Place

The trailer, across the parking area, with all the Rattlesnake crafts inside.

The Rattlesnake Place

Some of his collection of "junk".

The Rattlesnake Place

No, we did go in the front!

The Rattlesnake Place

An amazing collection . . .

The Rattlesnake Place

The "honor" box had nearly $100 in it.

The Rattlesnake Place

Diana bought a pair of earrings from the rack in the center.

The Rattlesnake Place

Some stuffed examples of western animals - almost.

The Rattlesnake Place

Diana examining some of the wares.

The Rattlesnake Place

Here's the pricetag from Diana's new rattlesnake earrings.

If you wish to find this place, I'd suggest you first travel to Tombstone, AZ (you are on your own :) and proceed south on Hwy 80 and keep your eyes peeled for the sign to Gleeson. It's about fifteen miles along that road to the turn off for the Rattlesnake place. Almost all dirt, but fairly good, road . .

Next is Tombstone, site of the famous shootout at the OK Corral. They re-enact it downtown, on Allen St., daily, in season (not summer :) We didn't see it. Only stop was at the famous BootHill, on the edge of town. We drove around the downtown area and by the courthouse with gallows in the backyard. Here's the pics . . .

Tombstone, AZ

The giftshop at BootHill and opening sign into Tombstone.

Tombstone, AZ

One of the BootHill graves.

Tombstone, AZ

And another . . .

After lunch in the BootHill parking lot, it's north toward Tucson and our first stop, Saguaro National Park. We started with the east unit today. We saw a wedding group before we started the loop drive. Noel thought he'd seen a description of petroglyphs in this unit but the rather insulting Park Ranger told us, in the Visitors Center, we couldn't get to them. She did, however, give us a trail map to some in the west unit. That comes tomorrow. Along the driving trail we found a wonderful, about a one mile trail . . .

Saguaro National Park, AZ

Diana's artistic shot along our trail walk.

Saguaro National Park, AZ

Saguaro cactus on the hills side with Prickly Pear cactus along our mile long trail walk.

Saguaro National Park, AZ

Blooming Prickly Pear cactus.

Saguaro National Park, AZ

Blooming barrel cactus.

Saguaro National Park, AZ

A blooming Ocotillo against a Saguaro cactus.

Saguaro National Park, AZ

A closer look . . .

 

It's great to have Diana's phone with GPS and access to Google Map so we found, easily, our dinner destination of "On the Border". Then the sun has set and we find, with a drive through downtown Tucson, our next Motel 6, along I-19.

April 6th - Not so early a start today. We slept 'til 8a or so, I think! About time :) Another quick bite at MickeyD's and on to the Sonoran Desert Museum. A fantastic place! We spent three hours, until it started getting very hot (90*F?). This is a place we'd like to see again. We only made it through about half of it. Here's some examples.

Sonoran Desert Museum

Entry tickets

Sonoran Desert Museum

Diana and Noel with desert plants in the background.

Sonoran Desert Museum

White-tailed deer in it's habitat.

Sonoran Desert Museum

A snake sticking out of it's hole (behind glass :) Could see it's body in it's lair, too.

About 2p we head to the West Unit of the Saguaro National Park and Signal Hill, the location of the parks petroglyphs.

Saguara National Park

Diana and Noel with desert plants in the background.

Saguara National Park

Trailhead (about 1/4 mile but lots of ups and downs) to top of Signal Hill

Saguara National Park

On the top and lot's of petroglyphs.

Saguara National Park

. . . petroglyphs galore!

Saguara National Park

. . . more . . .

Saguara National Park

. . . still more glyphs . . .

Saguara National Park

Looking back to Signal Hill

Saguara National Park

Wave Bye-Bye!

We now head for Phoenix and the reason we started this trip. We had a wonderful visit and dinner with our friends from BRC, Scott and Jenny, also know as Camp Daddy Scotto and Wildchild. We should have pictures but we don't. :(

Just a few blocks to our Phoenix Motel 6. Not the best area but all went well . . .

April 7th - We head north again toward Flagstaff. We didn't have time for a stop in Sedona but will the first of May when we pass along I-40 again. We saw signs for El Morro NM and for the Ice Caves. We hope to stop there in May. But, for this trip we turn off I-40 at Holbrook and head for Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park. An interesting place, especially given Diana's memories of petrified wood in Bend, OR.

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

Rock shop statues in Holbrook, AZ on way to NP

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

Diana along NP trail.

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

Diana and Noel along the trail.

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

Agate fossil bridge

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

Diana looking over the railing for petroglyphs.

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

The glyphs as seen from the overlook.

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

Another view . . .

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

And another. . .

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

Diana at the Visitor's Center

Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park

Diana and Noel (pic by a helpful bystander :)

We go into Alburquerque for dinner at Macaroni Grill. Then on to our Sante Fe Motel 6. We stop at the "Hollywood Casino" reservation gas station it Noel begins the "shakes". Only about a half-hour to the hotel and Noel gets sicker and sicker. A hot shower to warm up (and another about 3a) he gets some sleep. The drive home is a blurr to him. He stay's sick for about five more day . . . possibly Salmonella.

April 8th - Met Stacy along I-25 and got her home by 330p. We got home by 5p and crashed. Great trip! (except for the sickness . . . )