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S: Arizona 2011

1: We landed in Phoenix, Arizona September 28, 2011. It was around 90F! From there we had a 2 hour drive north to Jerome. Pictured is the Saguaro cactus. It is the largest cactus in the USA. We saw many of these in the Phoenix area.

2: Jerome. Located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff, it 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. Once a thriving mining camp between the late-1880s and early 1950s, Jerome is now a bustling tourist magnet and artistic community with a population of about 450. 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.

3: We stayed at a The Ghost City Inn. Built around 1890 as a boarding house for lodging middle mine management. It was also a restaurant for some years and then it was made into a B&B in 1994. Our room is the 2nd floor to the far right. It was called the Verde View Room.

4: View of the beautiful Verde Valley 2000 vertical feet below and the distant red rocks of Sedona from our veranda. | As the 20th century grew older, Jerome became an around the clock, three shift town boasting 13 hotels, 21 bars, and 8 houses of prostitution. All on 1 square mile of land. Although prostitution eventually was illegal, enforcement was inconsistent, so prostitution remained an integral part of life in Jerome until the 1940s. There are 88 miles of tunnel under Jerome and the deepest shaft is 1 mile!

6: Left, a former hotel which is now shops and apartments. Right, a former brothel now a vintage era collector's store.

8: Above right, dubbed the 'sliding' jail. In the 1920's, due to the dynamite explosions underground and a fault line in the hill, the jail slowly moved downhill 225 feet and rested upright. Above left, a former brothel. Below right, a former boarding house from the mining days, now a multi million dollar private residence.

10: On Friday we left Jerome and headed to our condo in Sedona. What amazing beauty the closer you get to the majestic red rocks! Our condo was just outside the main part of Sedona which made for quiet surroundings. It was a beautiful studio flat!

12: We went on a 2 hour jeep tour on an early stagecoach route along Schnebly Hill Road through Bear Wallow Canyon just below the Mogollon Rim to enjoy STUNNING VIEWS of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon 2000 Feet below.

16: Along the trail there was a rock engraved from the 1920's with names on it. A couple on the way to Flagstaff to get married had engraved it!

17: The mountain in the middle is called Thunder Mountain, Walt Disney's inspiration to his ride 'Thunder Mountain" at Walt Disney World.

19: On Monday, we took a bus tour to the great Grand Canyon!! We stood in awe of God's beautiful handiwork! It was a 2 hour drive north of Sedona. We drove through Flagstaff and the beautiful Ponderosa Pine forest.

21: One of the great 7 wonders of the world is the Grand Canyon! Not only is its size amazing, so is its beauty. It is no wonder that four million people visit it each year. There is no other place like it in the world where the views will leave you breathless for days! * The Grand Canyon National Park encompassed 1,218,375 acres on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. * The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and 5000 feet deep. * The Grand Canyon cuts through the Colorado Plateau that is between 5000 and 9000 feet above sea level. * The Grand Canyon has been created in general because of the downward cutting of the Colorado River which flows through the canyon. * The Grand Canyon contains several major ecosystems. * The Grand Canyon hosts five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types in North America. If you were to travel from Mexico to Canada you would see the same five life zones represented in the Grand Canyon. * The five life zones represented are the Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian. * Over 1,500 plant, 355 bird, 89 mammalian, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian, and 17 fish species are found in the park. * Since the entire canyon has little soil, very little vegetation is seen except on parts of the rims. The northern rim is partly forested with evergreens. In the depths of the valley, very little grows except desert plants and Spanish bayonet.

24: My dear...why do you always have to go to the edge??

25: Right on the edge is where we found these engravings from 1921!

28: The Desert View Watchtower, constructed in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower, commands a magnificent view of the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert to the east and the San Fransico Peaks to the south. This 70 foot (21 meter) tower is the highest point on the South Rim.

29: After leaving the Canyon, we stopped at the historic Cameron Trading Post, once used by Navajo & Hopi locals to barter their wool, blankets, & live-stock for dry goods. Pictured below was our guide, JR. | Wupatki National Monument. For its time and place, there was no other pueblo like Wupatki. Less than 800 years ago, it was the tallest, largest, and perhaps the richest and most influential pueblo around. It was home to 85-100 people, and several thousand more lived within a days walk. And it was built in one of the lowest, warmest, and driest places on the Colorado Plateau.

31: The Painted Desert. It is an expanse of badland hills, flat-topped mesas and buttes. It is an arid land, sparsely vegetated and heavily eroded. The name Painted Desert refers to the rainbow of colorful sedimentary layers exposed in the austere landscape.

34: Just north of Sedona, along Oak Creek Canyon, we went for a walk. These are the remains of a small lodge (which operated from 1925-1968), clientele included Walt Disney, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart. Zane Grey also wrote "Call of the Canyon" here. In 1922 the movie version was filmed in the area.

36: Lucille Ball's former house overlooking Sedona. See her on the balcony? She can often be seen waving.

37: On our way to another ghost town! Oatman, Arizona is located along historic Route 66 in the Mojave Desert close to the Nevada border.

39: Gunfights! Bank robbers! | Wooden sidewalks! Wild burros roam the streets!

40: Wild Burros range through a wide variety of desert habitats as long as they are within 10 miles of drinking water. The Wild Burro was first introduced into the Desert Southwest by Spaniards in the 1500s. Originally from Africa (where they were called the Wild Ass), these pack animals were prized for their hardiness in arid country. They played a major role in opening up the Western United States as they were originally brought in by miners as pack animals to carry gold and everything else as well.

42: Oatman was named in honor of Olive Oatman, who as a young girl, was kidnapped by an Apache tribe, sold to Mojave Indians and later rescued in a trade in 1857 near the current site of the town.

43: The Oatman Hotel...Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent a honeymoon night here, after marrying in Kingman, in 1939 The Hotel was built in 1902 and survived a devastating fire that burned most of the town's other buildings in 1921. It's the oldest two-story adobe building in Mojave County.

45: In Nevada, traveling north along the Colorado River towards Hoover Dam.

46: The scenery was always changing....

49: HOOVER DAM A few reasons for building Hoover Dam: flooding along the Colorado River as it made its way to the Gulf of California had to be controlled, so the water-flow had to be harnessed to provide much needed water to the fertile, yet arid agricultural areas of California and Arizona. Also, hydroelectric energy was to satisfy the requirements of millions and millions of people in adjacent regions.

50: This signature bridge spans the Black Canyon (about 1,500 feet south of the Hoover Dam), connecting the Arizona and Nevada Approach highways nearly 900-feet above the Colorado River. The 1,900-foot-long structure, which reroutes traffic off of the two-lane road atop the dam, will improve traffic in the region and help protect the dam from terrorist threats. The bridge is the 7th highest in the world!

51: Construction began in 1931 and Hoover Dam was completed in 1936. It still stands tall as an engineering marvel high above the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada. Hoover Dam attracts over 7 million visitors a year! It's 726 feet tall and 1,244 feet long. At its base, Hoover Dam is 660 feet thick which is 60 feet longer than two football fields laying end-to-end. Combined with its top thickness of 45 feet, there is enough concrete (4.5 million cubic yards) in Hoover Dam to build a two-lane highway from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida!

52: One of Sedona's earliest landmarks juts out of two red mounds on a spur of rock that is 200 feet above the ground--the Chapel of the Holy Cross, originally a Catholic church until they outgrew it. Now people of all denominations come to offer their prayers and supplications. The groundbreaking for the chapel took place in April 1955. The construction was arduous and sometimes complicated, requiring not only skill but also ingenuity and tremendous commitment. It took 18 months to complete the Chapel of the Holy Cross at a cost of $300,000, which was a modest sum even in those days; everyone associated with the project generously cut their costs. The chapel was dedicated in the spring of 1957.

54: Taking a desert stroll.

55: The official state plant of Texas is the edible prickly pear cactus. This vegetable is popular in Mexico and other Central American countries, parts of Europe, the Middle East, India, North Africa and Australia. Its popularity is increasing in the United States where it can be found at Mexican grocery stores, specialty produce markets and farmer’s markets. This edible cactus has fleshy oval leaves (typically called pads or paddles) with a soft but crunchy texture that also becomes a bit sticky (not unlike okra) when cooked. Prickly pear cactus tastes similar to a slightly tart green bean, asparagus, or green pepper.

56: On Friday October 7th we flew out of Phoenix to go home. It was quite a vacation in desert country as our holidays usually involve water! Someday I would like to go back and stay in the historic El Tovar hotel at Grand Canyon and watch the sunrise and the sun go down over the beautiful Canyon.....

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  • By: Jennifer D.
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