Day 2: Sep 6, 2003
Sedona & Neighbors



I was briefly on "The Mother Road" yesterday and this sign appeared soon after the day started but today was not to be a major Route 66 experience. I did follow all of the old road available and stopped by the landmark Jack Rabbit Trading Post. I was hoping for coffee but that's something you just can't get at the Rabbit. As I had already learned form an on-line news group, neither could you get the cherry cider that was once a post mainstay. The cider was plentiful when I was here in June but the supply was reported to have dried up just a few weeks later. Its return is possible but seems very unlikely.

On previous passes I felt that I just didn't have any time to spend on this one of a kind attraction. Today was different and I headed the half dozen miles south of I-40 (Rt. 66 is pretty spotty between Holbrook & Flagstaff) to Meteor Crater. Signs along the approach have a somewhat side show flavor and some of that flavor remains at the site. I had read comments that entry fees had been increased frequently but did not know where they currently stood. $12 seemed pretty high (particularly after yesterday's free gazing at Salt River Canyon) but I justified it by considering 1/3 a reasonable fee, 1/3 as a "drove all that way so you might as well" charge, and the last 1/3 as the price of being reminded that "if it sounds like a side show...". But, despite being overpriced, the crater is impressive. 4000 feet across and 700 feet deep, the size became meaningful when I looked through a fixed telescope at a six-foot cutout of an astronaut on the crater floor. Without the telescope, the cutout would not even be noticeable and, after I knew it was there, it appeared only as a white dot to the naked eye. A museum and film are included in the fee and the museum provides information on meteors in general as well as details on this one in particular. The movie is repeated every 30 minutes and, with better planning, I could have included it but didn't. If nothing else, I now know exactly what a hole in the ground looks like and may now be able to make a certain distinction that some have claimed I am incapable of.

Another stop I've skipped in the past is this closed bridge near Winona. I'm guessing that it was once part of a Route 66 alignment but do not actually know.

Just past where old 66 meets current 89 near Flagstaff, this active archeological dig drew me in. Known as the Elden Pueblo, it was home to 200-300 people who today are called Sinagua.  Some of the pueblo's 70 rooms were excavated by Smithsonian archaeologist Jesse Fewkes in 1926. Today, the site is part of the Coconino National Forest which is responsible for the current excavation.

Finally, at the edge of Flagstaff, I found what I had been looking far all morning. I enjoy eating breakfast at "mom & pop" style restaurants and this was the first morning of this trip that did not have job related time constraints. I wanted to get on the road and left Holbrook without even looking, searched unsuccessfully in Winslow, and saw nothing promising elsewhere. Mary's Cafe was just right and I joined a full house of locals enjoying good food. In Flagstaff, I stopped briefly at the visitors center and snapped a couple of pictures. The train depot served Flagstaff from 1889 until 1926 and has been restored to its 1911 appearance. The elevated motel sign is one of several similarly mounted signs in Flagstaff and dates from a time when a five spot would buy a room for the night.

South of Flagstaff, I was soon in the midst of more incredible scenery. This is Oak Creek Canyon, also part of the Coconino National Forest. There are certainly more trees in evidence here than in Tonto, but I did not see a single oak in the bunch. The white spot in the middle picture is one of three climbers working their way out of the canyon. Before I left, this climber (magnification included in larger view) had given up on this particular route and was looking for another place to climb. A number of vendors had stands offering some fine Native American pottery, jewelry, and other items.

Sedona is definitely a popular place. I did make a couple of passes through what I took to be the epicenter of activity without finding a place to park but was not all that disappointed. There are plenty of tourist oriented businesses and lots of very impressive art work. Even the psychic readings and massages are, apparently, of high quality. I imagine that there are people who enjoy being in Sedona more than getting there and some who would rather go there than be there. I'm in the latter group. The surroundings are beautiful.

After being officially declared a ghost town in 1953, Jerome has become a tourist attraction in its own right. This is an old mining town whose population ran out right after the copper did. There is little art work in evidence but parking spots are easier to find than in Sedona and I enjoyed my brief stop. The two buildings in the center picture were once joined as the towns largest saloon and the one on the right continues in that capacity. The one on the left in now the town's museum. That is where I learned about the building's past life and the fact that 88 miles of mine tunnels lie under the town. The right hand building houses Paul & Jerry's which is "the oldest continuously operating family saloon in Arizona". Inside P & J's, Mark, Dave, & Bob, calling themselves The Road Conditions, offered up some music that I also enjoyed.

ADDENDUM: At the Phoenix airport, a display of picture postcards included some of Jerome. I snapped pictures of a couple enlargements that show all three of the buildings pictured here in 1908 and 1910.

There were more switchbacks and overlooks south of Jerome but here I found some available land. It's a bit too far from home for me but please talk it up. I'm sure I'll get a finder's fee if it sells from this web site. Spotty rain also continued and that resulted in a rainbow.

At one point, the road splits and this rock framed overlook is only accessible from the south bound lane. The road is actually headed almost directly west at this point and the sun was occasionally blinding at the time of day I drove it. That, along with the fact that widening the road would have been next to impossible, may have been a reason for splitting the road here. A plaque at the overlook says that it was erected in honor of Charles Churchill Small who it calls "The Father of Arizona Highways".

[Prev] [Site Home] [Home] [Next]