Panama to Alaska 2008 travel blog

Yucca flowers beside the road

Cacti beside the road

Copper mining

Roosevelt Lake

The Tonto natural bidge

The scenery near Sedona

06 08 Tucson to Sedona

We had really enjoyed our visit to the giant cactus reserve yesterday – but after an hour’s driving this morning wondered whether it was worth the detour! It seems that each hill is covered with the things and every bend brings a new cry of ‘wow – look at that one!’ The scenery here is very attractive too and much more varied than I had thought. Everywhere you are you can see the next range of hills / mountains and with strong sunlight they look rugged and striking against the blue sky.

We drove past some vast copper mines – each with its own man made mountain of varying colour. Stopping at a level crossing to let the train go by, you definitely switch your engine off – 57 wagons of ore plus the two engines at each end.

Our fabulous drive along very well prepared and maintained roads took us through the Tonto Indian country where we stopped first at a museum beneath caves in the cliff just above the Roosevelt dam lakeside. The Indians had lived in the caves in the 13th and 14th centuries and the museum explained how they had made the most of the desert plants in their life. They also farmed and there were pieces of plaid fabric that they had woven. You could buy a soft drink but no coffee, so our morning coffee stop was along the way behind a gas station where the attendant was amazed that I could get $100 worth of petrol in my tank ... easy for most people back home!

We climbed and descended quite a lot, but on good roads with even gradients progress was effortless compared to Central America. Shortly we arrived at the Tonto Natural bridge and descended into the valley to find the trail through it. The trail involved climbing over wet boulders under the bridge and it was spectacular. This was exactly the sort of trail that I had brought my walking shoes for ... so what was I wearing? Sandals. A great fun stop and we were travelling with Rick and Di, Stuart and Angela and Roger all of whom are good company. We then all moved a few miles up the road to Strawberry where a festival was going on and mixed with the locals – a good Sunday afternoon atmosphere.

Sedona, our destination is surrounded by spectacular mountains which are bright orange in the evening sun.

We have a rest day here and I have decided to replace the front servo on the car with the spare that has arrived from England with David Thomas. While the others were enjoying welcome drinks from our very posh hotel, I had my shoulders under the bonnet – but they did bring me a glass of wine or two and I completed the mechanical installation by 7.30 – in time to walk up the hill to the main street for dinner with Nikki and Paul. Paul and I will fill and bleed the brake system tomorrow morning.

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