Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sedona and Beyond

When we first started traveling “for real” back in May of 2006, our first trip was to Williams, Arizona, where we explored the Grand Canyon, among other destinations.  On one of our day trips then, we traveled to Sedona for the day.  Actually it was more like a couple of hours, just about the amount of time we spent there yesterday.  The weather was still cloudy, windy, and chilly here yesterday.  We decided to postpone some of our planned explorations for this area in favor of a drive to Sedona, about 20 miles north of here.  I have to say that, in spite of the incredible beauty of the location, it’s not one of my favorite places.  Yes, I know, there are all those vortexes and spiritual places, etc., but all of that is totally overshadowed by the gruesome traffic and tourist traps, expensive, (actually outrageously so) galleries, boutiques and “head” shops.  Since I lived in a tourist town most of my life, I’ve “been there, done that” and it doesn’t especially appeal to me.  However, those rocks are worth a visit now and then!

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Can the flowers on this bush truly be that blue?

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We had lunch and did a little walk/shopping excursion through the main streets before making a stop at a natural foods store on our way back home for a quiet evening at home.

A few days before we left Phoenix, I noticed on Facebook that Mary and Paul  (The Great RV Escape) are staying in an RV park in Camp Verde, just a few miles from here.  We started the e-mail thing to see if we could find a time to get together here.  As it turned out, today was the day for us to ride with them up to Jerome for lunch.  They came by to pick us up and we rode with them to the quirky town on the mountainside.  Jerome is a historic mining town, incorporated in 1898, with a wild west history and stories to go along with it’s reputation.  Some of it’s history relate to the multi-billion dollar copper mining industry, some to the bordellos, gambling, drug abuse, gun fights and so forth.  During the boom years of the 1920’s, the population grew to over 15,000 and the mines were operating 24 hours a day, with businesses scrambling to keep up with the demands of the miners.  The crash of 1929 spelled the end of the boom, however, and the mines closed in 1930.  During World War II, the town experienced a mini-resurgence when the price of copper rose, but again, the mines closed in the early fifties, and never reopened.  Today, the town is a mecca for the tourist trade, with many galleries, shops and restaurants.

A mountain view from Jerome:

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This restaurant, Mile High Grill and Spirits, had been recommended to Mary and Paul, and it is a good one!  As we had our drinks and waited for lunch, we swapped “How we got started fulltiming” stories with Mary and Paul, and discovered many similarities.  It is always so fun to hear about the journey we’ve shared in so many different ways.

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After our delicious lunch, we made sure we checked out all the stores we were interested in along the streets:

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And even found a winery for Mary and Ellie to do a little tasting:

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Jim got to carry the two bottles of wine I purchased:

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I enjoyed our exploration, and especially was fascinated by the photo opportunities, like this doorway/window:


After we’d stopped at several stores, tasted wine, and backtracked (uphill, of course) to the one place in town for ice cream, we declared the day a great success and headed back down the mountain.  We made one important last stop – at a quilt shop where Mary purchased Arizona material for a quilt she is making.  Paul and Jim were very gracious about hanging around for the time Mary and I perused the shop.  It’s probably a good thing we arrived at the store right at their closing time!

What a great day it’s been, and how fun to meet Mary and Paul:

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Our first encounter with Jerome was driving the motorhome slowly through the streets as we accidentally came over Mingus Mountain into the town from the west side. Was worried my mirrors were going to knock people off their porches. We liked Jerome & later did a lot of walking around there while camped at Dead Horse. There's an old cabin visible from the campground that you can walk too plus there are some big fishing ponds at Deadhorse & some great walking trails.

Randy and Pam Warner said...

Looks like some great stuff! Nice pictures and the kind of places we want to see!

We hope to meet all you folks down the road some time...

Speedy said...

We would love to find a home base in any suggestions? We are really getting ready to get the heck out of Dodge in our Dodge! We want to be where we can go north east west and see new places...Arizona is the place!

Sandra said...

Sedona should have been made a National Park. I agree, the traffic is bad and the houses really destroy the views of those beautiful red rocks. But then I have a 'thing' for red rocks.

Evans said...

I love your story, because it is so similar to ours. Our first fulltiming trip was also to the GC, and we also just made a quick trip to Sedona, and up through Jerome.

Found your blog through Donna, aka Miss Froggi, cause I was telling her we were heading out to Colorado Springs. . .was also telling hubby about your site at the state park with your beautiful pic of the castle. . .great job!

Happytrails said...

Looks like a beautiful area! We haven't been very many places yet and this would definitely be on the "to see" list. I do understand the tourist thing. I grew up in Daytona Beach...need I say more?
Hope to meet you guys one day down the road.

Mike & Gerri (happytrails)