Day 1: Sep. 10, 2005
Return to Jerome



It's been a long time since I've pointed a camera out an airplane window so I thought I'd try it as we descended into Phoenix over some rugged terrain. Then I realized that, despite visiting Phoenix on several occasions, I had never been to the state capitol. So, I quickly took care of that. My planned route was US-60 to Wickenburg then AZ-89 & 89A to Jerome. That took me right through Sun City where I stopped for a visit with Cousins Tanya, Penny, & Jacob and Aunt Donna.

US-60 is divided four lane all the way to Wickenburg but the two lanes of US-93 show promise and lead quickly to AZ-89. It passes through several small towns with Congress and Yarnell being the most noticeable. Both Buford's Buzzards Roost and the Lil' Mtn Inn are in Yarnell. I'm not sure what the Inn's current status is but the Roost is going strong. It includes a faux western town and rows of outside tables hint at the crowds that show up when the big cooker gets going.

The road leading to Yarnell is spectacular but I hadn't yet figured out that I could take pictures with the camera held out the window and pull offs are less than scarce.

This is Nowhere, AZ. At least it's the only business in Nowhere. A small collection of trailers houses Nowhere's residents. Of course I had to stop and I was told that Nowhere is bounded by the cattle guard I had just crossed and another on up the road. The impression I got was that it was nearby but the first cattle guard I saw was about four and a half miles away. Maybe I missed a guard but that's not easy to do. More likely I misunderstood the fellow at the Burro Inn and Nowhere really is nearly five miles of nearly nothing.

The road continues to provide interesting turns and views and I grabbed a couple of shots out of the window.

There was a detour in Prescott but it was for a good cause. The car show was just starting to breakup when I got there but I still got to look over some pretty nice hot rods. A pretty good warm-up for that Rendezvous coming up in San Bernardino.

Just beyond Prescott AZ-89A splits off and heads for Jerome. More curves, drop-offs, and great views and, near Jerome, a large pull-off and scenic overlook. The third photo was taken from the overlook. The green sign in the last picture reads "Entering Jerome". Nice entrance, eh?

To reach my hotel, I had to go downtown and turn round since the street it is on is an acute reverse angle to north bound AZ-89A. But that was simple enough and I was soon following a horse drawn carriage up Hill Street to the Jerome Grand Hotel. This was originally United Verde Hospital; Built in the late 1920s when Jerome was in its prime. At that time, some 15,000 people lived in the thriving mining town but, barely two decades later, the population had dropped to less than 100. The hospital closed in 1950 and more or less sat idle until the Altherrs bought it in 1994 and began its conversion to a hotel. A highlight is the 1926 Otis elevator which guests use to get themselves between floors. Really good eyes may be able to tell that the face of that telephone on the nightstand is completely bare. No buttons or dials. All dialing is done through a switchboard at the front desk. That should help explain why today's journal was not posted from Jerome.

I don't usually make advance reservations on road trips but, as I've mentioned elsewhere, this trip is an exception. When I called the Grand about two weeks ago, I got the last room available. Some of the room have showers; Mine doesn't; Just a tub. Some of the rooms have scenic views of Verde Valley; Mine doesn't; Just a view of the side of Cleopatra Hill a few yards away. Some of the rooms have ghosts; Mine doesn't; Guess I did OK.

It's a fairly short walk down hill to the center of town. As I passed through the park overlooking Main Street, I could hear a very loud but not particularly good rendition of Born To Be Wild coming from the Spirit Room in the old Conner Hotel. That reinforced my plans to visit Paul & Jerry's first and that was a good thing. I caught the last half-dozen songs from the Silver Shadows. The gal on the right has a great voice and the other handled both the fiddle and mandolin quite well while I was there. There was a bass and guitar behind her so I imagine she could handle those, too. Across the street is a set of steps where a couple of different guitarists played during my time downtown. Sometimes other folks sitting on the steps would sing along. Once upon a time this could have been called a hootenanny but I have no idea what this group would call itself.

I did make it over to the Spirit Room after the music ended at P & J's. And I walked around town a bit before heading back up the hill. I stopped at the Haunted Hamburger for dinner and ended the night by paying way too much for a drink in the hotel bar.

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