Monday, April 30, 2018

Check Out Our Idaho-Utah-Arizona-Nevada Roadtrip!

This one spanned 14 days, 3,154 miles, with 70 hours of drive time!  It was an amazing trip with lots of twists and turns!  ... And I'm not just talking about the road.

I will be updating this trip over the next week. Check back from time to time to see what I have added!

350 Days - 15 Years Visiting Asia Trailer

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Verde Canyon Railroad: Clarkdale, Arizona

The tracks on which the Verde Canyon Railroad runs were opened in 1912 as part of a north–south branch line linking a copper smelter at Clarkdale and the copper mines at Jerome to Santa Fe Railway tracks passing through Drake. The Santa Fe Railway owned and operated the 38-mile (61 km) branch line from 1912 to 1988.

David L. Durbano bought the branch line in 1988.  Passenger service between Clarkdale at milepost 38 and Perkinsville at milepost 18, resumed in 1990 under the name Verde Canyon Railroad.  Milepost 0 of the AZCR is at Drake, where the line meets the BNSF Railway system.  The AZCR track to Drake is still used for hauling freight even though the excursion line stops at Perkinsville.

Excursions involve a 4-hour, 40-mile (64 km) round trip from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back.  Scenes from How the West Was Won were filmed at Perkinsville in 1960s.  The route follows the Verde River, crossing bridges and trestles, and passes through a 680-foot-long (210 m) curved tunnel.  Between milepost 30 and Perkinsville, most of the land along the railroad right-of-way is in the Prescott National Forest or the Coconino National Forest (across the river).  The railroad carries about 100,000 passengers per year. In 2005 the Verde Canyon Railroad celebrated its one-millionth passenger,  and the following month was named an "Arizona Treasure" by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.

Jerome, Arizona

Located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community. Four disastrous fires destroyed large sections of the town during its early history, resulting in the incorporation of the City of Jerome in 1899.

Founded in 1876, Jerome was once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory. The population peaked at 15,000 in the 1920’s. The Depression of the 1930’s slowed the mining operation and the claim went to Phelps Dodge, who holds the claim today. World War II brought increased demand for copper, but after the war, demand slowed. Dependent on the copper market, Phelps Dodge Mine closed in 1953. The remaining 50 to 100 hardy souls promoted the town as a historic ghost town. In 1967 Jerome was designated a National Historic District by the federal government. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist and artist community with a population of about 450.

Jerome sits above what was the largest copper mine in Arizona and produced an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper per month. Men and women from all over the world made their way to Arizona to find work and maybe a new way of life. Today the mines are silent, and Jerome has become the largest ghost town in America.

Jerome’s personality has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. Once a thriving mining camp between the late-1880s and early 1950s, Jerome is now a bustling tourist magnet and artistic community. It includes a modicum of artists, craft people, musicians, writers, hermits, bed and breakfast owners, museum caretakers, gift shop proprietors and fallen-down-building landlords.
What is the Town of Jerome like today? Is it worth your time to visit? The answer is a resounding yes! Jerome is an enchanting town, and a photographer’s paradise. From its external appearances it hasn’t changed much in nearly 100 years. Many of the buildings used by present-day business folks are those built after the fires of 1894 and 1899. A number of the buildings have been restored and more are planned for restoration. Due to the 30-degree incline of the mountainside, gravity has pulled a number of buildings down the slope. To the delight of some, one of those buildings was the town’s jail. Those buildings still standing make for interesting visiting and with a little research you can find their historical significance. One notable section is the “Cribs District.” You will find this area across the street from the English Kitchen, in a back alley where all the buildings were are part of Jerome’s ill-famed “prostitution row.”

Gold King Mine & Ghost Town: Haynes, Arizona

In 1890, the Haynes Copper Company sunk a 1200-foot shaft into the middle of one of the richest copper deposits ever discovered. Much to their chagrin, they found no copper. Luckily, they struck gold instead, creating the small boom town of Haynes, the remnants of which are today an intriguing mix of ghost town and mechanical hobbyist’s paradise.

Mile High Grill and Inn: Jerome, Arizona

Red Rock State Park, Arizona

Mather Campground at Grand Canyon National Park

It got cold!  We woke up to 22 degrees!

Highlands Resort at Verde Ridge