Brad & Barb Wright - Southwest Trip 2009/2010 travel blog

Montezuma's Castle

Mock up of interior of Montezuma's Castle

Arizona Sycamore Tree

Barb in front of poster of how Fort Verde looked in the...

Fort Verde today

Sign for trail that goes along the Mogollon Rim (Route 60 today)

Downtown Jerome

Looking up at Jerome


Chapel of the Holy Cross from Bell Rock

Bell Rock

Barb & Brad at Chapel of the Holy Cross

Brad outside Chapel of the Holy Cross

Chapel of the Holy Cross

View from Airport Butte. Coffee Pot Rock on right and organ pipe...

Barb on Airport Butte

Cross erected by the Mason at the Masonic Temple on Airport Butte

We are getting ready to leave this area today. The weather forecast for this afternoon and the next couple of days looks good so as long as the highway (Route 40) is OK then we will leave here around noon and head to Williams. Monday we did a lot of running around sightseeing. Our first stop was Montezuma's Castle (which is 6 minutes from our RV Park). This is an Indian Village (5 stories high) set in the side of a mountain built by the Northern Sinegua Indians around 1100a.d. Because it resembled the Aztec style it was named after Montezuma but later research reveals that Montezuma never made it this far north. The name stuck though. In speaking with one of the rangers Brad asked her if anyone ever went in it and she told us that all of the rangers have been up there. Also Archaeologists go up regularly checking the conditions. The condition is excellent - she told us there is a jack holding up one room but other than that everything is as they left it in the 1400's. Some of the rooms have 9 1/2 foot ceilings some 3 1/2. The Indians made ladders to get up to it and ladders to get between floors. They carved some port holes to look out and get sunlight in. All this was done with very primitive tools. It is mind boggling to see the resourcefulness of these Indians for the time they lived. From there we headed over to Fort Verde State Park. This fort dates back to the mid 1800's. Four of the original buildings are still standing. The docent was very good in explaining the history of the fort. Unfortunately, Arizona has decided to close many of it's state parks and this one will be closing in March. There is great concern as to what will happen not only to the buildings but all the artifacts in these historical treasures. Almost all of the rest areas along the highways are closed and jersey barriers set up so you can't even drive in them to get off the highway. If we want to change drivers we have to actually get off the highway and find a parking lot that is large enough for us to pull through to stop. For a state so dependent on tourism, it's not doing a lot right now to encourage visits to the state. After leaving Fort Verde, we took a ride up through Jerome. Jerome is an old mining town literally built in the side of a mountain. When the copper mine dried out the town was abandoned. My brother-in-law had driven through the town in the 50's and everything was closed and abandoned. He said it was really creepy to drive through. Over the years the artists have discovered it and now the center of town has a lot of quaint artistic shops with all sorts of arts and crafts. Because it was getting late and we still had one more place to visit we didn't stop and browse. I can't imagine living up there like that. When it snows they must just stay put until it melts. The roads are narrow and in horrible condition. Our last stop of the day was Tuzigoot which is another Indian village. It was also built by the Northern Sinaguas although very different from Montezuma's castle. This one you can see all the different rooms where each family lived, common areas and play areas for children. We got there 20 minutes before they closed but did have time to go up there and look around. The museum was one small room so we even got to look through it also. The ranger there told us there were about 400 of these "villages" in the area and it is estimated there were about 50000 Northern Sinaguas in the area. They all left in the 1400's and no one has been able to determine why. On Tuesday we spent the afternoon in Sedona - Red Rock Country. I had been to Sedona two or three times previous, but it was totally new to Brad. He couldn't believe the beauty. He was especially impressed with the Chapel of the Holy Cross which is built in the rock in the side of the mountain (Yes, they do a lot of that up here). We drove all over Sedona, stopped at lookouts and stopped for lunch. Unfortunately, the road up Oak Creek Canyon was closed due to falling rock and mudslides from last week's storm. We tried to go to a restaurant that Jan & Art had taken me a couple of times. Although we were told we could get to it and it was open, when we got there it was closed. We came back down and ate at Dairy Queen! Yesterday we took it easy. It rained on and off all day and I curled up with a book while Brad spent the day on the computer - paying bills and checking RV Parks and areas to stop on the way home.

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