The Greatest Road Trip USA? - Our Round USA Road Tour.
The State of Arizona, USA
Part of a year long trip from Sept ’94 - Sept ’95 through 36 USA States and 2 Canadian Provinces by Jean and Graham Beven in ‘Serendipity’ their 30 foot Winnebago Chieftain.
Arizona : Round Trip USA
We spent 38 days the state of Arizona, USA as there was plenty on our must see list of places to visit.
There are eight National Wildlife Refuges, twenty Bureau of Land Management areas, nineteen National Parks and State Parks in the state of Arizona.
The State Tourist Office for the state of Arizona, USA is: Arizona Office of Tourism - 1100 W Washington St. Phoenix AZ 85007
17/18 January 1995 - Left New Mexico – Entered the state of Arizona. Crossed the continental divide and passed by the town of Bisbee, Arizona and visited the historic town of Tombstone, Arizona.
Graham had always wanted to visit Tombstone, Arizona since he was a cowboy comic reading kid! (Not much change there then.) Stories about the OK Corral, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, as well as Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson and Johnny Ringo - All real people, real stories, real history of the real wild west.
Tombstone Arizona! - 'the town too tough to die'. Truly an American landmark. The main street - Allen Street (business by day - bedlam at night) has many original 1880's buildings.
Silver is what brought the early pioneers to this Apache infested area of the states! It was said in 1880 by Attorney Spicer - 'Tombstone has two dance halls, a dozen gambling places and more than twenty saloons. Still there is hope, for I know of two Bibles in town!'
Paid a visit to the Tombstone Court House and The Museum. Cochise County's first courthouse.
We had a 'sarsaparilla' in Big Nose Kate's Saloon and walked passed the Bird Cage Theatre, which was the most famous honkey-tonk in the new America between 1881 and 1889! The Bird Cage was named after the 14 bird cage compartments that are suspended from the ceiling where in these compartments 'ladies of the night' would ply their trade!
Later we watched a series of 'Shoot 'em up' sketches acted out by a local Wild West group. Camped at the Wells Fargo RV Park, Tombstone, AZ, located in the historic district of Tombstone.
Next we visited the OK Corral. We walked where they fell on 26th October 1881. There are mannequins positioned around the OK Corral to give some perspective to the actual gunfight.
Visited the indoor 'Historama' next door to the OK Corral, where 'life like' figures moved about on a revolving stage tell the exiting story of Tombstone.
Then came the offices of the "Tombstone Epitaph" newspaper - with the original 1880 printing equipment. Received a copy of the October 1881 Tombstone Epitaph containing the testimonies of the surviving participants and witnesses to the gunfight at the OK Corral.
19 Jan - On the way out of town we visited ‘Boot hill’ cemetery.
Boot hill graveyard was laid out as a burial plot in 1878 as a burial place for early pioneers and was used up to 1884. There are over 250 graves on Boothill - Some of the colourful grave markers beggar belief!
Tom Waters - Shot - 1880. Killed because of the colour of his shirt!
James Hickey - Shot - 1881. Killed by William Clayborne for his over insistence that they drank together!
Dan Dowd, Red Sample, Tex Howard, Bill Delaney and Dan Kelly - Legally hanged 8th March 1884 - Found guilty of killing several people during a store robbery in Bisbee. All five were hanged from one scaffold in Court House yard.
We had a bit of a mishap once we left Tombstone; on the first bend the food cupboard door opened, the food, tins, jars, packets etc hit the entrance door and that flew open – depositing our groceries along the highway! The only actual breakages were a bottle of Tabasco sauce and a jar of coffee! A few miles down the road Graham had to change the fuel filter as we started to kangaroo down the road. The engine took ages to get restarted and the battery only just held out to get us on the way. Camped at Wal-Mart, Tucson AZ
20th - Visited the Saguaro National Monument. Spent the best part of the day looking for a 'Monument', didn't realise that the Americans would call an area where something existed a Monument - The whole area IS the Saguaro National Monument. In fact there are two areas - the area we visited was the less popular eastern area on the about 15 miles east of Tucson on the foothills of the Tankque Verde mountains. With winding dirt roads through mile after mile of these strange cacti - up to about 13metres - forty feet - high. They are treated as trees by woodpeckers who nest in holes they create in the stems. The other more popular area of the Monument is on the northern slopes of Tucson Mountain, west of Tucson.
21s - From Tucson Arizona to Picacho Peak RV Resort ($12 for 4 nights! Coast to Coast). Took some time out to soak up the sun, swim and take a hot tub or two! We called in at Fiesta RV Park where people we had met earlier in the trip were staying. A couple and there poodle from Wisconsin. A very pleasant day in all!
22nd - Stayed and played at Picacho Peak.
23rd - Moved to Phoenix, Arizona. and stayed until 25th. The reason for our extended visit was purely down to obtaining and fitting some solar panels to our home! We needed more power when boon docking! We spent lazy days in South Mountain Parkland Reserve, Phoenix. This is a vast and rugged, desert mountain preserve of nearly 17,000 acres. Taking the 'Ranger Trail' to the top of the hill and across the ridge on part of the 'National Trail' one afternoon to see Phoenix ‘from the air’! Tough on the calf muscles but well worth the climb. We heard coyotes calling, but didn’t see them – spooky sound, if ever there was! Coming down at dusk - seeing the lights of the city below. Overnighted at two different Wal-Mart's during our stay. The one in north Phoenix had a McDonalds on the front apron and this was ‘held up’ and we heard shots fired whilst we were getting ready for bed! We were in the ‘Wild West’! Our bit of excitement for the day. Yahoo!
26th - Moved out of Phoenix, AZ (before we got shot!)and headed up to the Tonto National Forest about 80 miles away. Travelling in a loop through Showlow, Springfield, Holbrook and Wilmslow, AZ. to eventually see the ‘Petrified Forest’ Did not stop anywhere today Camped in Tonto Forest – Free!
27th Travelled through some amazing scenery today – In particular the Salt River Canyon. We had intended to camp at Wal-Mart in Showlow, AZ. but there was a considerable amount of snow, so we decided to go to lower ground. Camped at The Ranch, a Coast to Coast Resort at White Mountain. It was snowing when we arrived – a very cold night. The resort would be great in the summer.
28th - Left The Ranch and headed to the Petrified Forest only 90 odd miles away. As we were leaving we saw our first Bald Eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Elevation 7550’ above sea level according to a nearby sign). Arrived at the Petrified Forest National Park about 3.30pm. Too late to start going through the park! Free camping available at the south end of the park, right by where we were! A nice sunny day and the new solar panels are working well – we seemed to have unlimited 12 volt power now!
28th - The trip through the Petrified Forest National Park was great. We travelled through south to north. This is not a standing forest of trees, but area of fossilised tree remains. The whole park was awe inspiring, the colours brilliant. The high dry flat area was once a low flood plain. The rock fossil logs you can see are as a result of silica bearing groundwater impregnating the fallen trees that were washed downstream and deposited in the flood plain. The silica crystallised into the quartz present in the logs to this day. The rest was up to time and the weathering of the sediments to expose these wonders of nature. There are areas of interest at: Agate House, The Flattops, Crystal Forest, Jasper Forest, Agate Bridge, Blue Mesa, The Tepees, Newspaper Rock, Puerco Indian Ruin.
Newspaper Rock is a pictographic rock. These rocks occur throughout the park.
The distinct whitish layer by the base of the Tepees interrupts the reddish sandstone, stained by iron oxide, in the lower half of the exposed faces. The dark red stripe is hematite an oxide of iron. The cap is a clay darkened with a high concentration of carbon.
Saw several Rock Squirrels - Spermophilus variegatus running wild in the petrified forest. Also saw over a dozen Pronghorn Antelope - Antilocapra americana basking in the sun near the ‘Flat Tops’. Walked the trail at the rear of the Museum – fascinating how nature can produce such wonders. The whole park was an amazing phenomenon. Saw a Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos – rare in these parts this time of year. Possibly just passing through. Camped at Wal-Mart, Wilmslow, Arizona .
30th Travelled from Wilmslow, AZ. to Flagstaff, Arizona. on I-40 via Meteor Crater, 20 miles from Wilmslow, AZ. On Meteor Crater Road.
Meteor Crater is a privately owned natural wonder – was quite expensive to enter and Jean was not all that interested so Graham went in photographed and videoed the experience. The crater was formed about 50,000 years ago when a giant meteoric mass weighing millions of tonnes hit the earths atmosphere, part of that meteoric mass impacted here at an estimated speed of 45,000 mph. The crater was created in less than 10 seconds! Over 300 million tonnes of rock were displaced.
The crater is used by NASA for training astronauts as the topographical terrain closely resembles that of our moon and other planets in our solar system. The NASA buildings can be seen to the right of the central area of the crater in picture 2.
There was a terrific view of the San Francisco Mountains out across the desert from the rim of the Meteor Crater. Our motor home is the one in the car park.
We also visited the Cliff Dwellings at Walnut Canyon National Monument on route – This was another awesome experience.
Picture of Walnut Canyon, Arizona - Visitor centre top of escarpment - cliff dwellings below.
The trail was not always secure and the canyon was very deep. To top this off: the trail was quite icy in places. The rock dwellings were quite something. The area was chosen by the natives, called Sinagua by the Spanish. Because the cliff overhangs meant less building, the distance between a dwelling door and a sheer drop into the canyon below was no more than 1.5 meters. Life must have been stressful. The cliff dwellings were deserted over 600 years ago. The visitor centre has a full history of Walnut Canyon and is a good place to start before going out onto the trail that is over a kilometre long and requires some stamina to negotiate as there are a number of steep inclines including one of 55 metres!
Overnight at Wal-Mart, Flagstaff , AZ.
31st - Today we drove a round trip to the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. We don’t know how many times in one week a person is lost for words. This must be the most spectacular experience possible on Earth!
There has been nothing, and we are sure there could be nothing, to beat that first glance into the Grand Canyon! The view is absolutely awesome. We spent the best part of the day driving the ‘West Rim Drive’. We were allowed to take 'Dippy' as there are fewer visitors and no buses running at this time of year - visiting the ‘Yavapai Point’, 'Hopi Point', 'Pima Point' and the Grand Canyon Museum. We took a Ranger led walk to the rim and picked up on the fact that the canyon was over a mile deep! It is hard to believe that the Colorado River and the weather created such a natural wonder.
Then with only a little more time left, we drove the South Rim from the Grand Canyon Village towards the ‘Desert View’, arriving there just after watching the sunset at ‘Lipan Point’ and now unable to see the desert view!
Took lots of pics and video and returned to Flagstaff, AZ. via the Hwy 89, Exhausted!
1st Feb.. 1995 Today planned yet another round trip to the Grand Canyon! Having missed the ‘Desert View’ due to diminished natural light we decided to make a second visit to the Grand Canyon.
We travelled the same loop but in reverse stopping off at Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monument.
Sunset Crater Volcano, Arizona was amazing. A 300mtr - 1,000 foot high volcanic cinder cone. We walked on the Bonito Lava Flow, a flow from an eruption in about 1100 AD. We saw the different types of lava flow and the remaining evidence of lava tunnels. There were 'pit houses' of the Sinagua people that were covered by the ash and lava from the volcano eruption. Plant life and animal life was abundant as volcanic ash is high in nutrients. The self guided tour is about a mile long loop. There was also a display near the end of the trail about volcanic forecasting. An interesting place all round.
Wupatki National Monument, Arizona about 24 miles north of Sunset Crater – Again a very interesting site. A natural (air)
blow hole close to the ball court provided us with some light entertainment - when you place a hat over the hole the air blows it a couple of metres into the air. The blowholes are small openings in the rock layer which emit and take in large volumes of air at speeds up to 35 mph. Another interesting thing we found out - It snows here in winter!
The prehistoric buildings on the site have been unoccupied since before 1851 when they were found, empty. There are a number of interesting buildings on the site, the ball court and amphitheatre are of particular note. The area round the site was arid but there is evidence that the prehistoric people managed to raise corn, beans, squash and pumpkins. The average annual rainfall is only 16.5cm (6.5 inches).
Rejoined the Hwy 89 north bound and got back to the Grand Canyon passing the Little Colorado Canyon in the Native American Reservation. There were small roadside market stalls selling 'Indian' jewellery. There were also some rest areas with great views of the Colorado River far below.
Arrived at the 'Watch Tower' at The Desert View – WOW! We arrived just before the park closed, managed to visit the exhibition centre and watched our second Grand Canyon sunset, again another amazing experience! We had a very surreal moment when we spied a lone gentleman was sitting on a rock on the rim playing a flute. There wasn't another sole about and we didn't let on we were there in case he stopped playing.
Returned to Flagstaff, AZ again and camped on Wal-Mart car park again.
2nd - Travelled from Flagstaff, AZ to Camp Verde, Tonto National Monument, Arizona. We drove by Western Horizons Camp Verde which looked nice but we ended up camping at American Adventure, Verde River Resort. We met a couple from Oregon. He was a rockhound and took Graham out '‘hounding' for the day.
3rd - We all went out site seeing in the local area for two days taking in Montezuma’s Castle, Arizona. The cliff dwellings were begun by Sinagua farmers in the 12th century. The main 20 room, five story building stands a hundred feet above the valley floor. There are other buildings and ruins around the visitor centre that have loads of interesting information and exhibits.
We also visited Sedona, Arizona . A great day.
4th & 5th - Rested!
6th - Too much rest now! Time to move on again.
7th - Camp Verde, AZ. to Phoenix, Arizona . The video camera had been playing up over the last few days – found a service centre and took it in for a check. Whilst waiting we shopped, laundered etc. then camped at Wal-Mart.
8th - Picked up video camera – fixed. Chilled out for the rest of the day and camped at Wal-Mart again
9th - Travelled from Phoenix, AZ to Bullhead City, Arizona via Kingman, Arizona on ‘Route 66’ part of the way. Route 66 must be one of the most famous routes in the world! The history of Route 66 across Arizona has been a natural progression of roads, from prehistoric native American trails to a modern highway.The road was named route 66 in 1926 and extended 2,200 miles. Places in Arizona the route passes through, or nearby, are East to West: Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, Ashfork, Seligman, Grand Canyon Caverns, Peach Springs, Truxton, Valentine, Hackberry, Valle Vista, Kingman, Oatman, Golden shores and Topock. We drove the section from Kingman to Oatman.
Camped at Riverside Casino until the 12th, on their overflow car park. Some relaxation and a gambling flutter in the Riverside Casino. Saw big fish (suspect they were well fed trout - about 10 or 12 pounders!) in the river and there was not a moment when there wasn’t an RV on the bridge over the Colorado River. We ate at the Casino and had an all you can eat carvery for $7.99 which was to die for! There was a free dump station at the back of the Casino.
Picture of Colorado Belle Casino, Bullhead City, Arizona.
13th - February Bullhead City, AZ to Las Vegas, Nevada - 102 miles.
14th February to 8th March – Nevada
9th - March re-entered Arizona heading for Lake Havasu City, arriving PM. Camped at CRA Lake Havasu RV Park. Lazed around the pool the rest of the day!
10th - Sightseeing around Lake Havasu. Visited 'the famous' London Bridge and the 'British Village’. London Bridge was moved here in 1967 and re-dedicated in 1971. (They thought they were buying Tower Bridge - we think!)
Picture of 'The English Village', Lake Havasu, Arizona.
11th - Bought an inflateabe boat today so we could get out on the lake!
12th - Spent the day on Lake Havasu - in the boat sun bathing.
13th - Spent the day again in the boat on Lake Havasu, sun bathing and fishing. A wonderful investment! Tanning well now!
14th - From Lake Havasu City, AZ to Earp, Arizona, arriving at Emerald Grove Resort (CtoC) in the morning having only travelled 38 miles. Great pool and Jacuzzi – guess where we spent the day?
15th - Moved 50 miles or so today to Quartzsite, Arizona. Found a nice quiet spot just north of Quartzsite, in the desert, about three miles off Hwy 95 to park up. We were here to give the metal detectors we bought in Texas an outing and sweep the area of desert around us for gold. Quartzsite is surrounded by Bureau of Land Management land which was predominantly a mining and prospecting area. Who knows what treasures we would find hereabouts?
16th - Quartzsite is home to an international gem and mineral show between 10th Jan and 15th Feb. every year. Thousands of dealers sell rocks, gems and minerals. Nearly everything to do with the same can be bought from someone there! A million or more people visit during that period. The area around Quartzsite is also the winter 'home' for RV Snowbirds on the BLM Areas.
17th and 18th Boondocking in the desert – The night sky is another wonder to behold. With zero light pollution you can see every star of the millions (billions?) of stars in the Milky Way!
19th - Went back through town and moved down to Crystal Hill, just ten miles south of Quartzsite, AZ. Not only a prominent mining area but also a wild life reserve. Temperatures in the high 80’s. Graham went rockhounding and came bach a couple of hours later with some nice clear quartz crystals and what looked like a smoky yellow topaz. Didn't see any ground dwelling wildlife but plenty of different bird species.
Crystal Hill is part of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge - Took our 30 foot long motor home down a jeep trail! That rattled everything off the shelved and out of the cupboards - It was fun though! Not sure we haven't twisted the chassis though!
20th - Left our bit of heaven (above - without finding any gold!) and headed off towards Joshua Tree National Monument. California via Blythe. - California.
1st April, arrived back in Quartzsite, AZ. Parking up in the BLM area north of the town. Graham spent some time metal detecting with the ‘new’ equipment. Still no gold!
2nd - Took our daughter (who we had collected from LAX in California) to see ‘London Bridge’ at Lake Havasu, AZ. After seeing the sights went down to the ‘slipway’ and watched a redneck trying to recover his pickup from the lake! Watched by us and cheered on by some drunks! Camped at Wal-Mart again.
3rd - Spent the morning on the lake in the boat! From Lake Havasu City, AZ. Travelled to the historic ‘Route 66’ at Kingman, Arizona. Through Oatman, Arizona the historic gold mining town, and the old ‘Gold Mine Road’. Wild donkeys everywhere! Some piebald. Arrived in Kingman, AZ. about 5pm.
Discovered we had a stowaway – a mouse. Jean said if it wasn’t gone by bed time she was off! Bought a mouse trap at Wal-Mart and camped up and waited for the mouse! Mouse humanly caught and set free.
4th - Moved up to Las Vegas, NV. via Chloride, Arizona. Chloride is located between Kingman off US 93 four miles east of Grasshopper Junction. The town was founded in 1862 when silver was discovered in the area. Today the village is peaceful - the mines are quiet, the residents are mainly artists, writers, musicians and craftsmen. Graham just had to go there to say he had been. Chloride was mentioned in books and comics he had read as a boy.
On our way to the Hoover Dam, NV - Nevada
|A partner site to
|Back to Top|