Jerome

Welcome to Jerome AZ, a copper mining town – partially founded by winston Churchill’s wife’s grandfather …. at least he invested a lot of cash towards the founding of the mine.

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The streets here are crazy steep but the views are stupendous.

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It was a typical mining town of the time with a bunch of miners and and prostitutes. According to the museum, the term red light district was started either here or another similar mining town. The lower class prostitutes each worked from a ‘crib’. When a miner went in, he left a lantern shaded with red glass outside the door so he could be found quickly in case of an emergency. Who knew? There were also some higher class brothels purportedly sponsored by The Company for managers etc.

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This brothel is called The House of Joy.

Apparently in 1920 there were 15K folks living there but by 1953 it was declared a ghost town. A group of ‘hippies’ moved in during the 60’s and 70’s and then more artisans and finally the historic preservation society went into full swing. (Hopefully I got all this right – my next door neighbor is from Jerome and may have words with me when I get home! )
They have stairs between levels and I did use them going up since I wanted to have lunch at the Haunted Hamburger.

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Their hamburgers are delish and I had a crisp THAT strawberry blonde with it. I walked the rest of the way up to the Grand Jerome Hotel before heading back down.

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It is quite the artist community and in addition to the usual Tshirts and shot glasses their was lots of jewelry and local pottery and paintings and stuff to peruse. I walked the four or five switchbacks back down only buying a book and a sweatshirt.
Again the weather was perfect. As is obvious by the photos more our blue sky and since Jerome is a mile high the weather did not exceed 72.
Four hours of browsing shops is about my limit so I headed back down the mountain to Cottonwood.

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Of course the further down the mountain I got, the hotter it got until I reached the bottom and it was mid eighties. It seemed like it might be better to take a scenic drive than to walk around in Old Town. Lo and behold! As I went around a round-about  (have I mentioned I love my car …. i ‘m often tempted to take multiple laps aroundround-abouts ) there was an exit fortuitously labeled as ‘scenic route’, so off I swerved. I now can only

now assume that the street name was

“scenic route” as I was dead ended into a subdivision with ‘model homes available’. Not my first choice for a drive.
I ended up back at my motel and now I am all caught up on this travelogue.
Now that it has cooled down I plan to explore the river walk that starts in old town.
Tomorrow I head to Sedona to buy crystals and find the source of all mystic powers…. ommmmmm

The Quest for Rte 66

After saying goodbye to London Bridge following the lake/river as long as it was viable. Turned off on a side road advertising Crystal Lake and found myself going up and down a series of hills that would make San Francisco jealous. Based on the tracks it is a popular destination for off road toys. They did have an interesting animal crossing sign… which I thought I had a photo of but sadly do not. It is a reminder of the mining history of AZ. It was a burro crossing sign.

Anyway it was time to find Rte 66. I switched out my tunes … no more Bastille, One Republic or American Authors….. Rte 66 needs oldies. There is even a radio station out of Kingman AZ that advertises as rte 66’s oldies station. There was a preponderance of Beatles tunes in deference to the passing of George Martin, but that works for me…. I know most of the words so I can sing along – a favorite road trip pasttime.
I cruised along I-40 until I found the first opportunity to jump off and land on rte 66. The road is in great shape and during this time not much different than other 2-lane roads in AZ. Most of the time the speed limit was 65. There was a section of road that looked to be passing through an Ocotillo farm but I assume that it was just their natural spot. Horses and cows in the fields and once I am sure I saw a pair of antelope!

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Straight and mostly empty. Since I-40 parallels it, anyone in a hurry would obviously choose an interstate, but I found rte 66 to be glorious! The weather was perfect … between 62 & 72 depending on the elevation … and of course the AZ trademark of blue, blue skies. It was almost chilly as I went through the mountains and entered the Hulapai Indian reservation. I stopped in Peach Springs on the reservation and bought a sandwich at a market so I could enjoy the outdoors while I ate.

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After leaving the reservation I did start seeing more signs of rte 66 tourism being alive and well.

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I have to admit, I do not get how that café name attracts anyone to eat there.

I stayed on 66 as long as I could before needing to turn south and head for the Verde Valley.

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So from here I am back to running up and down hills and mountains. Scenery begins to look more like az mountains.

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Not a very exciting stretch of road followed for a while so I occupied myself with singing loudly and pounding the steering  wheel ( as usual, I expect I was a half beat off … but really no one was listening ).
I finally got to a stretch where there was a warning for big trucks to turn back…. ah glorious, glorious mountain road…. switchbacks and S- curves. Have I mentioned that I love my car? (2005 Subaru Legacy with a turbo charger ). I am sure it is easier to blast a path through a mountain, but roads like this just make me feel alive! Maybe more so in my motorcycle days, but my Subaru handled the curves perfectly! I love my ‘ru!

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This picture was taken on the way down into the Verde Valley. I passed through Jerome (tomorrow’s adventure) and arrived in the town of Cottonwood.  This time my reservation was found without effort however when they ran my card it was declined… augh. I called the company and apparently my payment for the huge balance of $35 was late. Yeesh … thank goodness for us IT folks, I payed online and all was well.
After cleaning up I headed down to Old Town Cottonwood to Bocce’s restaurant…. thanks for the tip, Mark. The tables were full but as well as the regular bar they have a pizza bar and I took a seat at the pizza bar. The only problem with that was watching and smelling them make all of this yummy food less than 2 feet away! I had awesome Bocce Balls (meatballs in marinara sauce) and an incredible salad. And of course, as you all know by now, local craft beer … this time THAT Roadrash IPA. Also great service … thanks Zack!
And so ended a travel day.

Lake Havasu

Informational content first … Lake Havasu is on the Colorado river just south of I-40. I pulled into lakehavasu city shortly before dusk and found my motel easily … if only my pre-paid reservation had been found as easily. After nearly a half hour on the phone with Travelocity the front desk person hung up on them, looked at me and said “screw it, I believe you” and I was in. 
After a day in the car I was more than ready to hoof it somewhere. I had been directed to a restaurant district no more thana half mile away so off I went. So… I had not really researched this tripother than knowing I had not been here before so I was partially surprised to round a corner and discover…

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London Bridge in all its reconstructed glory! It actually looks quite nice there. So this whole resort town was constructed  around the bridge.  When the bridge was reconstructed it was on dry land but a place where it jutted out into the lake so after construction the channel you see was dredged turning the land on the west into an island. The town grew from there.
As resort towns go, I quite liked it. There are some very nice parks and walking trail

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Oh yes, let us not forget Brew pubs. The first night I ate at Barley Brothers where I indulged in their IPA. The second night I went to the Mudshark brewery and had their Spring Training ale.
Like any good resort they got totally caught up in their theme and constructed a little British-like village, complete with foun

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tain.

They even had a fake Ben chiming out the time.
The lake is truly beautiful in spite of the rv’s in Parker and the resort. The next pic shows part of the lake from the state park just North of Lake Havasu City.

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And so I wrapped up my visit to the river and set out to find US Rte 66.

Day 1 – way too much of I-10

As normal for this type of z-personality it took forever to get on the road but eventually my left arm was slathered in sunscreen , suitcase in the trunk, cooler in the backseat and my fav driving tunes queued up and I was on my way. I-10 is incredibly boring for anyone that has driven it more than once so my primary explorations for this portion of the ride was into the nooks &crannies of my mind…. when was the last time I went to Picacho peak (20 yrs ago – awk) … what might be the objects in the road that the sign is warning about (never saw a thing) … what exactly is that emblem on the TEFSUA bus up ahead ( deer head dancer).
The scenery improved once west of Phoenix – mainly because its not as familiar but it was still I-10 so I was back to my imagination but there was little to entertain until I was about 40 miles west of Phoenix and traversed an underpass claiming it was 411 Avenue! In the middle of the desert! I finally decided that if you had one avenue every tenth of a mile then that would be 411 avenue west of Phoenix …. I am so glad I took so many college math classes…. no doubt number theory should receive credit for my efforts. I could include more of my brains meanderings but I think enough is enough …until finally….
Off of the freeway at last and down to state roads. They are only 2 lanes wide but much more interesting. These were AZ state roads but wandered through small towns that barely look like they have changed since the forties and fifties. For a while I was parallel to a railroad and when it passed over gullies I could see that there wood trestles…. wood! Of course that took my brain off to old movies of the first interconti etal railroad and brawny men swinging hammers to drive the spikes in and more mental perambulations.
At last I swung north on AZ95 in Parker ( home of Parker dam on the CO river ) and more rv’s than I ever hope to see again. Mile upon mile of rvs along the rivers edge. Along that stretch I finally ran into the bane of all road trip afficiandos … road construction! This can be fortuitous if there is a side road offering rural exploration but not so in this case …. the only side roads as I inched along were more rv parks.
I am going to save discussion of Lake Havasu for my next post but will at least add one photo taken just before I entered the town.
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Welcome

Welcome to my travelogue/blog. First to explain my site name. I am the z half of azgals14. azgals14 head off on road trip adventures every other year. Our first was in 2012 where we had a Rocky Mountain adventure passing through Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Teton National Park, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore – and my personal favorite Devils Tower.[ http://tishandmonicafabulousvacation.blogspot.com ] In 2014 we toured New England – starting in New Jersey then to Niagra Falls, then on to upstate NY, VT Ft Ticonderoga, over to Maine and then down through NH,RI,CT and a ferry to Long Island wrapping up the adventure in NYC. In 2015 we went solo with Monica – the type A personality spending her time fishing in South Dakota, while I (of the type Z personality) went to Scotland. Later on this year 2016 we are planning on a road trip in Alaska but in the meantime I am learning to embrace retirement and so am setting out on a solo road trip.

First stop is to be Lake Havasu, AZ. Its a popular spring break spot so I hope to get in and get out before the college kids arrive. Here is what I want to avoid….

Spring Break

If it looks like the above I will be moving on to stop 2 of my trip, Jerome AZ. Can’t wait to upload a photo of early March in Lake Havasu tomorrow.

 

The other side of a Software Engineer