After my friend and I had our last breakfast at Williams at the Grand Canyon Railroad facility we headed off first to Flagstaff and then down the I-17 freeway to the Verde Valley. It had been pretty cloudy in Flag but was broken clouds when we got to Cottonwood. We left her car at our motel with permission since we were registered for that night but it was too early to check in. From there I showed her old Cottonwood, many buildings I still recall, some almost as they were and others redone, probably several times!
The old highway between Cottonwood and Clarkdale seems so short now. It used to take me about thirty minutes to ride the distance so there is a big difference between maybe 5-6 MPH and 45, even if one drives the speed limit! I showed her my old home and where my two best friends lived, along the same street, Lower Main. We even drove over to the depot, once a simple frame building painted an icky yellow but now a stylish and fancy place because it is the terminal for the Verde Valley Scenic Railroad. That line uses the old Santa Fe track but does not go all the way to the old junction at Drake, stopping and swapping ends with the locomotives at Perkinsville. I have ridden it and hope to do so again but we did not have time this trip.
From there we went over to Tuzigoot, a partially restored hilltop village of the Sinagua people, who were probably related to the tribes who became the Hopi and Zuni. It is ironic that I rode around the south end of that hill along the Verde River frequently for quite a few years but did not visit the ruin or Natioanl Monument until 2006 when I took some time to revisit my old home area! We had just hiked up onto the ruins when a storm started to sweep down off Mingus Mountain. I thought it might go north but no such luck. We dashed for my truck in pelting, stinging, wind-driven rain!
After that I decided to drive up to Jerome, still a spectacular town perched on the side of a red mountain. It was a mining town and the first home town I can recall. My friend was a bit intimidated by the winding and narrow mountain road leading up from Clarkdale but I assured her I was a very experienced mountain driver and we had no mishaps. I showed her where my house once stood and then we went down to the Douglas Mansion, now a museum to the mining and area history. "Rawhide Jimmy" Douglas was an early mining entrepreneur and his mother was a cousin of Winston Churchill on his mothers side, In face Jerome commemorates her family name of Jerome! It was still raining and blowing like crazy even though we were there for over an hour. Finally we dashed out and headed down the hill, stopping at a favorite Mexican cafe in Clarkdale where my brother and I both stop whenever we pass that way. We were between the lunch and dinner rushes so it was perfect.
That evening I showed my friend a bunch of old photos on my little travel computer and we shared another late night chat. The next morning we made a quick trip back to Tuzigoot for some photos and then she followed me back to I-17 where she went west and south and I crossed over to go through Camp Verde and across on some older and narrower highways over part of the Mogollon Rim to finally end up passing Roosevelt Lake and crossing some desert mountains to another mining town, Globe, where one of my old school friends now lives. I had a great visit with her and her husband, who was also from Jerome at one time and was a grade behind me in school.
The next day I drove on down to Oracle Junction and on to Tucson where I crossed over to I-10 and then to my granddaughter's home in Marana. I had a pleasant visit with Julie, her mom Shari who is my eldest step son's ex, and Julie's two kids. Of course they are bigger and more mature every time I see them. I got to see their Halloween outfits and took a photo or two! The next day I paid a long delayed visit to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. I lived in Cochise County for twenty four years and never got there! It was quite fascinating and well worth the time. In one area they had many samples of desert plants to include two that were identified by and named for a man my parents were friends with, Leslie N Goodding, a world-renowned expert on desert flora. That was pretty cool!
I spent that evening at another friend's home in a Tucson suburb and had a great visit with her and her husband, who is a super guy in his own right.It was hard to leave the next morning but I had to get home. I took one more detour, up the road once called 666 to Safford and then down on highway 80 to Duncan. That was the last place my parents lived and they are buried there so I visited their graves and realized I need to go back and do some work and also get my baby brother's ashes interred there with them. That is for another time, though. I got home at dusk, my eyes going very fuzzy with allergies and exhaustion so the final quarter of the journey was a bit tense but I made it home safely.
I'll post a few photos on a separate page since this is getting very long! I am too gabby <smile>. It was a very rewarding trip and I truly enjoyed it very much; you cannot go home again but sometimes a few memories are good to revisit.
Welcome to my World
Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!