Prescott and the Dells . . .

(Sounds like a 60’s singing group, doesn’t it.)

Anyway today was a road-trip day, so we got on the road about 10 am for the 50 mile trip to the Prescott and Prescott Valley area.

With Nick Russell acting as our tour guide, we first headed out to the Granite Dells area.

Granite Dells 1

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Granite Dells 4

Granite Dells 5

Granite Dells 6

The Dells are a 1.4 billion (that’s Billion with B) year old formation that was upthrust from the volcanic magma underneath. It was a mixture of softer rock, along with the harder granite, all bubbling together. Over the past hundreds of millions of years, the softer rock has eroded away, leaving only the ‘bubbles’ of granite.

The granite rocks here also have an unusually high amount of uranium, so any houses in the area must be regularly checked for radon.

After leaving the Granite Dells area, and taking a drive through the local VA Hospital, looking at some of the old buildings left over from when it was Fort Whipple, an Army base, we drove through the downtown area, taking in the sights and checking out some of the many Victorian-styled houses in the downtown historic district.

This one was the home of Barry Goldwater’s parents.

Prescott House 1

By then it was lunchtime, so we headed back out to a Fuddruckers in the Prescott Valley area. Our burgers were great as usual, and although, we didn’t try them, they now have burgers made with Buffalo, Elk, Ostrich, and Wild Boar.

After lunch we took in some of the many shops in the downtown area around the courthouse known as Whiskey Row. Whiskey Row got its name because in the late 1800’s it was home to over 40 saloons. It was also a notorious red-light district until the middle 1950’s. Sounds like a place a guy could have a really good time.

Jan did find a very nice bead and stone Indian-styled necklace at one of the shops that we got a really good deal on since it was the end of the season.

Before leaving the downtown area, we drove around for a while, looking at more of these really beautiful homes.

Prescott House 2

Prescott House 3

I was wondering why you would find so many of these Victorian-styled houses out here in Arizona. It turns out that the area was originally settled by folks from the Northern and Mid-Western states, who brought their favorite architecture with them.

Prescott was the first capital of the Arizona Territory, starting in 1864. It was also the 3rd capital, but that’s another story.

Finally heading for home, we stopped off at the Sam’s Club in Prescott Valley, and then checked out the RV facilities at the local Elk’s Lodge. You can never tell when we might want to stay here.

Our last stop in the area was a very large Ace Hardware that we saw on our way into town.

Getting back into Camp Verde about 6:15, we made a DQ stop for a little frozen refreshment, before dropping Nick and Terry off at their rig and heading home about 7:30.

A long, but very fun day.

Tomorrow it’s another road trip. This time in two vehicles up to Flagstaff. Nick and Terry need to pick up the latest issue of the Gypsy Journal at the printers, and need the backseat to hold them all. Coming home, we’ll probably split up and we’ll come back the longer, scenic route thru Sedona, while they take the Interstate.

I’ve reposted the last leg of 3 day road trip last April to visit the site of the first A-Bomb explosion in New Mexico.


Thought for the Day:

"If you’re getting shot at, you can have a shot."


Petrified Forest and Great Pie…

Originally posted on April 4, 2010

Today, after spending the night in Gallup, NM, we headed back to Las Vegas on the tail end of our road trip.

After having breakfast at the hotel, we headed out about 8am to drive the 65 miles to the Petrified Forest National Park. I had visited here with my parents during our Out West trip during the summer of 1964, and was looking forward to seeing it again.

The Petrified Forest is a 28 mile loop that that also takes you through part of the Painted Desert. So it’s a twofer.

And the Painted Desert certainly lived up to its name. You can click to enlarge any of these pictures.

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Then it was on to the Petrified Forest itself. And the colors of the petrified wood almost matched the Painted Desert.

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This area is known as the Crystal Forest and lives up to its name.

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Below is Old Faithful, the largest, most complete petrified log in the world.

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This the skull of a Phytosaur, a crocodile-like animal that lived in the area when this was a forest during the Late Triassic period 200 million years ago. It was about 17 feet long and weighed 2100 pounds.

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And here’s what it probably looked like.

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And these are some of the other animals roaming here back then.

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And, for what it’s worth, here’s a picture of Albert Einstein and his wife visiting the Petrified Forest. Based on the age of the car, this is his 2nd wife, Elsa. Elsa was Alberta’s first cousin on their mother’s side and second cousin on their father’s side. Talk about the possibility of inbreeding!

Maybe that’s why they never had kids.

Albert Einstein

Leaving the Petrified Forest we passed thru Holbrook, AZ and stopped to get gas. Holbrook used to be a main stop on Route 66, and still seems to be a vibrant tourist town. As we were almost to the Interstate I saw something on the left hand side of the road that brought back a flood of memories.

A Wig Wam Motel. And it’s still in business.

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I had forgotten until I saw the place again, but we stayed here during our trip in 1964. It’s good to see that see that it’s still up and running. I also remember staying at the Wig Wam Motel in Bessemer, AL in the late 50’s, early 60’s.

Coming into Flagstaff, we always enjoy the view of the snow-covered San Francisco Mountains. It’s amazing how much snow is still there this time of the year.

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Passing thru Flagstaff, we got into Williams, AZ about 12:30 pm. Based on the recommendation of our friend’s Nick and Terry Russell, we wanted to eat lunch at the Pine Country Restaurant. They had eaten there and said the food was OK, but the pies were fantastic. The slices were enormous, and they were delicious, too.

Nick and Terry were in Williams too, but they were spending the day taking the Grand Canyon Railway day trip, so we didn’t get to see them. But we did track down their RV in the Railway RV park and leave them a note about how much we enjoyed the pie.

On our way into Kingman, AZ we saw signs saying the route back to Las Vegas over the Hoover Dam was very congested due to Spring Break crowds.

Well, that was just dam inconvenient.

So we decided to come back the slightly-longer way over to Laughlin and then up through Searchlight and home.

Getting back into Las Vegas we decided to stop for supper at the IHOP right down the street from the RV park before heading back to the rig.

Arrived home to find that the rig and the cats were all OK.

Although we enjoyed our trip, it’s good to be home.

More tomorrow…