Rosemary Santana Cooney, Patrick Louis Cooney with Ceferino Santana



Monday, May 18, 2009.

From Phoenix to Globe.


Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Itís a dry, hot day.

US 10 heading east.


Route 60 heading east.

Stopped by Montesa. See sign for Mt. Brook Road.

The mountains here are a dull brownish color.

Superstition Mountains.

We are past mile 201 on Route 60 by the fire house.

Stopped at Walgreens for a drink.

Stopped just beyond Walgreens for photos of plants. There is a small tree with pink flowers that are just a bit beyond their prime.

Yellow racemes of the mesquite trees.

Mile 203. Best Western Adobe Motel with Superstition Mountain in the background.

Cactus blooming.

Mile 205. Took photos of Saguaro cactus in bloom across from the Renaissance Festival.

Mile 206. Sign saying Globe 42 miles ahead.

Mile 214. Queen Valley.

Past mile 216. Pretty pink flowered bushes and yellow flowered ones with the backdrop of the mountains. Good landscape views.

Past mile 217. Tonto National Forest.

Past mile 218. Climbing. There is a sign for Gonzales Pass.

Near mile 219 stopped for mountain shots.

Past mile 219. There is a mountain straight ahead of us.

Past mile 221. Picketpost Mountain on the right. Thereís a sign for Picketpost Trailhead.

Mile 222. Dry Queen Creek.

Just past mile 223. Boyce-Thompson Arboretum.

Palo Verde trees are in boom. They have very green bark which is interesting and different. Itís probably a member of the Pea family of plants. The fellow in the gift store tells us that their busy season has just ended. It seems we have missed the big desert plants flowering time.  I walked the Sonoran Desert Trail.  Then with Rosemary we walked a number of other trails. 

There is an historical marker one-quarter of a mile down the road from the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum about Picketpost Mountain. It says:  "A landmark and lookout point during the Indian Wars, site of the outpost of Camp Pinal which was located at the head of Stoneman Grade to the east.  Soldiers protected Pinal City and the Silver King Mine from Apache raiders.  It was the home of Colonel William Boyce Thompson, mining magnate and founder of the Southwest Arboretum at the foot of the mountain."   Arizona Development Board, 1900.

Mile 224. Stopped for photos of the mountains just before a sign for Superior City Limits.

Stop a little farther east.

Just beyond mile 225 take pictures of Superior.

Past mile 227. Take a photo of the Queen Creek Bridge.

Stopped after the bridge. Take photos of an agave flower and the bridge.

Mile 228. Queen Creek Tunnel, built 1952.

Stopped on the other side of the tunnel too to take photos of the other side of the quarter-mile long tunnel.

Mile 229. Narrow gorge. Some hoodoos here.

Right after mile 230 there is a sign for Tonto National Forest.

Just before mile 232. We go down and then up again on the highway.

Mile 233. Devilís Canyon with more hoodoos.

Mile 234. Enter private land. Hoodoos at least up to mile 234.

Just after mile 236. Entering Gila County. There is a big open mining pit here and a lake.

Before mile 241. There is another open mine pit.

We are descending for quite a while.

Mile 242. See the town of Miami. See another open pit mine.

Miami City Limits. Copper capital.

Mile 243. Sign for Entering Miami.

Past mile 243 in Miami. On the hills on the right are buildings related to the copper industry. Rosemary tells me that the town looks deserted. "It looks dead."

Past mile 244. Took another mining picture.

Just before mile 246. A sign for the town of Claypool.

Entering Globe.

Typical strip development. Walmart, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Judyís Cook House, Subway.

We stay at the Travel Lodge in Globe. We eat at Judyís Cook House. Our waitress was either getting sick or recovering from a sickness with a very runny nose. Thank goodness we didnít get sick.

Route 60 East From Phoenix

Boyce Thompson Arboretum to Superior

Queen Creek Bridge to Globe



Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

Globe to Eagar.

The Travel Lodge has a good location. Itís up on a hill and there are good views of the surrounding area. There are lots of mountains around the motel. Just west of the motel there is the terraced landscape indicating a mining area.

Still on Route 60 heading east.

Mile 249. Gila County Historical Museum. White buildings set in front of big hills. Stopped at K to get bottle of water to combat the heat. Itís supposed to be cooler than the 105 degree day we had yesterday.

Mile 251. Followed the sign for the Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park in Globe, Arizona. The ruins are of a 700 year old Salado Culture pueblo. The place once had about 400 rooms.

Past mile 253. Took a photo of a mountain between two hills.

Mile 254. Wheeler Lane.

Mile 255. Arizona State Prison.

Mile 258. Another sign for Tonto National Forest.

Mile 262. There is a sign says 73 miles to Show Low and 122 miles to Springerville. The elevation here is 5,000 feet.

Mile 266. Take a shot forward and then back on Route 60/77.

Mile 268. Jones Water Campground.

Mile 269. On a winding road snap a photo of the mountains ahead of us. Also took a photo behind us.

Mile 271. Stop and take a photo looking behind us.

Before mile 276. Photo of a mountain top with orangish rock exposed on the side. Also took more back shots.

After mile 277 the road climbs upwards.

Mile 278. Nice look backwards to see the winding road. There is a 190 degree view. Can see for a long distance.

Mile 284. Stop at a sign for leaving Tonto National Forest.

Before mile 285. A sign says Entering San Carlos Apache Reservation.

Mile 286. Think we can see Seneca Lake in the distance.

Mile 287. Seneca.

Mile 288. Entering Salt River Canyon. This is a very scenic area that we all enjoyed. The Salt River runs into the Gila River.

Mile 289. Can see into the canyon from here. Another stop and this time we can see the water of the river.

Just past mile 290. We can see three roads from here; two of them heading down into the canyon and one of a road heading out of the canyon.

Another stop. More views of the river.

Go around a horseshoe turn.

Mile 291. The river makes a horseshoe bend here. The stream widens out and slows. The water looks green here.

The rest area here is closed. So we have to go over the bridge and stop along the road on the left. From here a dirt road goes down to the river, but you need permission from the White Mountain Apache Reservation government in order to use the dirt road.

Heading up on the road that leaves the canyon we stop to take photos of the bridge. There are some beautiful white Yucca flowers here. To the left we get some photos of a small waterfall on the river. Here there is a flight of stars heading down to a viewing platform.

Mile 294. Great overviews of the area. Took some photos around the bed, but there is not much river to see from here.

Mile 296. There is a long stretch of the Salt River viewable from here. On the left side there is another horseshoe bend of the river.

Mile 297. A side canyon with no water.

By mile 298. We are well out of the Salt River Canyon area.

Mile 309. There is a hug open area view here. There is red earth on the left side.

Mile 311. Cibecue.

Mile 312. Pass horses and cow.

Mile 315. Carrizon Creek.

Mile 316. Carizzo.

Enter Navajo County.

Mile 323. Cedar Canyon.

Mile 328. Corduroy Creek.

Just before mile 337, Show Low City Limits.

Mile 340. Junction with Route 260 east.

Route 260 east.

Mile 346. Walmart.

Pinetop-Lakeside City Limits.

Mile 356. Hoh-Dah Casino of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation on Route 73. The area is mostly pine forest.

We drive down Route 73 to see a bit of Fort Apache. There was a one time a military fort here called Fort Apache. We go through the seat of government, White River. There are a lot of small houses here. We then go on to the remains of Fort Apache itself. There is a visitorís center here. You can take a walking tour of some of the buildings of the old fort.

Mile 358. We return to Route260.

Mile 360. The town of McNary.

Entering Apache County.

White Mountain Scenic Road.

Mile 361. There is a marsh here.

Mile 368. Junction with Route 473.

Before mile 373. Quaking Aspen mix in with the pine trees.

Mile 375. A-1 Lake on the right.

Before mile 377. Route 273.

Mile 378. Leaving the White Mountain Apache Reservation.

Mile 379. Apache National Forest.

Mile 380. There are some big meadows here with a little bit of snow.

Before mile 381. A sign says that here is Pine Bunch Grass vegetation.

Mile 383. Pole Knoll Recreation Area.

Mile 385. Big Cienaga.

Mile 386. Big Cienaga Mountain. This is a really interesting area. It is a huge, huge area just covered with the Pine Bunch Grass. It goes on forever and look like a light green carpet spread out over the area. The light green vegetation even goes up and over the former volcano cones. This is a big open space that travels to the horizon.

A sign says Leaving Apache National Forest.

Just before mile 387. There is another cinder cone covered with the light green grass.

Run into a cinder cone that exposes sections of chocolate-colored rock on two sides. A sign says that the land is owned by the National Land Trust.

Mile 388. Stop on the other side of the chocolate cone.

Mile 389. Another cinder cone.

Mile 391. Another cinder cone.

Mile 392. Enter the town of Eagar.

Mile 393. Junction with Route 261.

Mile 394. Sign saying Welcome to Eagar.

Before mile 395. Little Colorado River.

Mile 396. In the town of Eagar, which is closely tied to Springerville.

Get to the Best Western Sunrise Inn at 4:15 p.m. It is located next to Bashaís Bakery-Deli-Spirits-Floral store.

We ate at a restaurant in Springerville called Dos Molinos. The food was good and the people friendly. The place is known for its hot, spicy food, but we didnít find it all that hot. I had two tacos with rice and beans and ate all of it. We had a different dessert than we are used to. It was a raspberry burro. It was good. Itís a sweet shell filled with raspberry filling with chocolate sauce poured over it.

Besh-Ba-Gowah & Road to Salt River Canyon

Salt River Canyon

Pine Bunch Grass & Cinder Cones



Wednesday. May 20, 2009.

Eagar to Clifton.


Route 191 South.

Mile 401. First mileage marker we see.

Mil3 403. Alpine National Forest.

Pass a sign saying Coronado Scenic Road.

Mile 404. Views of Pine Bunch Grass areas.

Before mile 405. Sign White Mountain Wilderness Area.

Just before mile 407. Stopped at a pull-off.

Mile 408. We are in a valley.

Mile 409. Nelson Reservoir. A narrow lake by the right (west) side of the road.

Mile 410. End of Nelson Reservoir.

Mile 411. Bright green markings of vegetation on parts of a black-looking mountain.

Mile 413. The valley is wider here.

Mile 415. The town of Nutrioso.

Mile 416. Pass by a left turn for Nutrioso.

Nutrioso Creek.

Mile 419. Sign saying Alpine 9 miles. The valley is narrow again with pine tees on both sides.

Mile 422. Alpine Divide Campground. Apache Forest.

Mile 424. Big lake here.

Mile 426. Town of Alpine.

Route 191 splits off from Route 180.

Change in numbering system.

Mile 253. We are on Route 191.

Mile 251. Nothing but forest.

Below mile 250. Took a picture of the road.

Before mile 247. Entering Greenlee County.

Mile 246. The road is very winding.

Mile 244. Campbell Blue River.

Mile 239. Horse Ridge Trail.

Mile 237. Fire remnants.

After mile 237. Hannagan Creek.

Before mile 231. Hannagan Meadow, Hannagan Meadow Campground.

Mile 227. KP Cienaga Campground.

Mile 225. Blue Lo Trail.

Blue Vista Viewpoint. There are views on three sides. There are six spots for cars and four for trucks and vans.

Before mile 224. Stop a little below the Blue Vista Viewpoint. The road below the Viewpoint is very winding and is a switchback down the Mongollon Rim (i.e., the rim of the Colorado Plateau approximately centered around the meeting place of the four states Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico).

Before mile 220. Stray horse Work Center.

Mile 216. Haagen Trailhead.

Mile 213. Straight section of road.

Mile 210. Robinson Mesa Trail.

Mile 209. Climbing upwards.

After mile 208. Rose Peak Trails. There is a overlook area on the trail to Rose Peak.

Mile 207. Pull-off with great views of a big valley.

Mile 203. Descending again.

Mile 201. Red Mountain Fire Interpretation Overlook. From here, from left to right, one can see Red Mountain, Red Mountain Trail, Mongollon Rim, Blue Lookout, Indian Peak, Raspberry Peak, Rousensock Creek, site of the Thomas Fire, site of the Yerra Fire, Brigham Peak and Blue River.

Before mile 194. Now we are at the bottom . We are soon going to be shooting right back up.

Mile 193. Stop at the other end of a grass valley and take photos backwards, left and right.

Just past mile 189. Juan Miller Campground. National Forest Rt. 475.

Just before mile 188. Upper Eagle Creed Road. Ascend another mountain. Winding road for the next 11 miles.

After mile 184. Tile Spring Rand Road.

Just before mile 183. Overview shots.

Mile 183. H L Saddle overlook.

After mile 182. Sardine Saddle.

Mile 179. Descending again.

Before mile 179. Granville Circle and Campground.

Before mile 177. Leaving Apache National Forest.

Before mile 176. Mining operation and roads over which we soon will travel.

Before mile 175. Switchback, convoluted roadway.

Below mile 175. Hoodoos on the left.

Mile 174. Reddish mountains.

Just below 173. Morenci mine. Huge.

Change in highway numbering system.

Just before mile 179. Huge open pit mine. The mine goes on and on and on. It is quite the sight.

Just after mile 173. Mine goes on.

Mile 171. Entering Morenci.

Mile 170. Tunnel through the rock. And still the mine is here.

Mile 169. The mine still going. (The mine goes on a way from the road to the San Francisco River in the town of Clifton).

Below mile 169. Took a photo of the town of Clifton in the valley below.

Past mile 168. Route 191 turns left. Descending to Clifton.

Mile 167. Still descending.

Mile 166. Entering Clifton.

Mile 165. Start of the buildings of Clifton.

Pass over the San Francisco River.

Ate at PJís Cafť Mexican-American Restaurant. The food was good. I had cheese enchiladas and rice and beans. (Two towns people had recommended it.)

We shopped at the Chase Creek Marketplace (Hand Crafted Gift Gallery) on Chase Creek Street. We bought a few gifts for people back home. Only the end nearest Route 191 is open on Chase Creek Street. Almost all the rest is closed down. The town has been negatively affected by the many lay-offs at the copper mine.

Since we had more time in Clifton we took more pictures of this particular town. We took photos of the old jail that was carved directly into the mountain cliff next to Route 191. Next to the jail is a small locomotive.

Stayed at Rode Inn Quality Lodging in town.

Route 191 First Half

Route 191 With Morenci Mine

Views of Clifton


Thursday, May 21, 2009.

Clifton to Willcox.

Leave Clifton.

Route 191.

Mile 163. Go over Ward Canyon. Sign for Stafford, 42 miles to go.

Mile 161. Desert topography.

Mile 160. Gila Box Conservation Area.

Just before mile 158. Black and green mountain on the right. The desert here is on rolling land.

Just before mile 158. Five mountains can be seen.

Before mile 157. Rattlesnake Canyon.

Pass Guthrie.

Buzzardís Roost Canyon.

Below mile 155. Junction with Routes 75/78.

Mile 150. Black Hills area.

Mile 146. Four peaks on the right. Going through a valley.

Mile 144. Entering Graham County.

Mile 142. Sign for the Black Hills.

Mile 139. Black Hills Back Country Byway.

Wide open spaces. No more hills nearby.

Before mile 137. Mountains to the left and right.

Mile 136. Flat land.

Mile 135. Lots of dying plants. Very brown area.

Mile 132. Still miles of flat desert.

Junction with Route 70 coming northwest out of New Mexico.

Mile 131. Right turn onto Routes 191/70. Stafford 10 miles away.

Route 70 mileage markers.

Mile 348. The Old West Highway.

After mile 347. Right turn. Arizona State Prison is here.

Mile 345. Solomon.

Gila Box Conservation Area at Sanchez Road.

Farming area.

Past mile 344. San Simon River.

Entering Stafford. Elevation 2920. Founded 1874.

Mile 340. Lots of hotels.

Ate lunch at McDonalds. Since it was raining we stopped at Walgreens for umbrellas.

Route 191 south turns left.

Route 191 south.

Mile 119. Stopped for photos of the Pinaleno Mountains. The highest peak is Mount Graham.

Mile 118. Willcox is 42 miles away. The mountains are hidden by rain clouds.

Mile 116. Roper Lake State Park.

Mile 114. Junction with Route 336.

Mile 113. Dankworth State Park. We are getting away from the houses now.

Before mile 111. Stockton Wash.

Mile 110. Wide open desert flat land.

Mile 107. Still desert.

Mile 105. Tangue Road.

Junction with Rt. 266.

Mile 99. Small hills.

Before mile 92. Enter Cochise County.

Mile 88. Pick up US 10 west around mile 352. The speed limit is 75 mph. The traffic is light.

Mile 345. Get off at Exit 344. Now on Business Loop off US 10. This takes us through the old part of Willcox. The more modern part is along US 10. The older part seems a little run down.

Turn left onto Route 186 south.

Chiricahua National Monument is 35 miles away.

Mile 341. Lots of dead bushes.

Mile 342. Town of Dos Cabezas. There is not much cacti here. Mostly bushes and grasses.

Mile 348. Wide open space. Traffic very light.

Before 351. Fort Bowie National Historic Site. (Nine miles of dirt road takes the traveler to the Fort Bowie Site. The site can be also be approached from the north off of US 10. Here the Apache Pass Road is all paved except for the last half mile heading to the Fort Bowie site.)   In the Apache Wars, General Miles used the fort as his headquarters to direct the pursuit of Geronimo. 

Before mile 358. We stop for a photo of the Chiricahua National Monument area.

Mile 359. Last mileage marker on Route 186.

Route 186.

Four miles to the Chiricahua National Monument.

Mile 62. Another stop for mountain photos.

Just past Mile 63. More mountain photos.

Coronado National Forest Recreation Ares goes off to the right.

Turn left for the Chiricahua National Monument.

Just before mile 64. Pinery Canyon off to the right.

Chiricahua National Monument.

Pioneer burial ground on the right.

Bonita Creek area. To see the Faraway Ranch it is a round-trip walk of one-half mile.

Horse Trailer Parking.

Nice gift shop.

Took photos of hoodoos just before the sign for the Bonita Canyon Campsites.

Just beyond the campsites are hoodoos covered with green lichens.

Take photos along the road up to the top of the Chiricahua National Monument. It is an eight mile drive up there.

Up top at Massai Point. It rains so we have to sit in the car waiting for it to let up. After the rain stops, we take a short walk down the side to the viewing areas. There are massive amounts of hoodoos on the sides of the mountains. The clouds were very low and they gave an eerie look to the hoodoos.

On the way out we took pictures of the deer alongside the road. One was pulling down tree branches to get at the leaves.

On Route 186 we drove back to mile 351 to take the nine mile dirt road to Fort Bowie. Around mile eight there is a stop for an overlook of the Fort Bowie area. A very short walk from the dirt parking area brings one to an historical marker. It tells where to look to see the adobe remains of Fort Bowie number one and the site of Fort Bowie number two. It also points out the location of Apache Springs. I had binoculars but never found the sites. There are a lot of hills there. I should have been looking at the flat land areas out there.

One more mile brings us to the trailhead for the one and a half mile walk passing Fort Bowie number one and Fort Bowie number two. There is a gift shop at Fort Bowie number two.

To leave Fort Bowie we just kept going north on Fort Apache Road. After one-half mile the road is paved all the way up to Bowie. (Go under US 10 and then turn left in Bowie for the road to the next exit/entrance for US 10.)

We got off US 10 west at Exit 340. We stayed at the Best Western motel there.

Routes 191 & 186 From Clifton to Chiricahua NM

Chiricahua National Monument

Fort Bowie Historic Site



Friday, May 22, 2009.

Willcox to Benson & down to Tombstone.



We take US 10 to Benson. Route 191 goes along US 10 west for a short ways before it heads south down to near the border with Mexico.

Winchester Mountains are on the right and the Dragoon Mountains are on the left. (The Dragoon Mountains were the favorite hide-out place for Cochise of the Chiricahua Apache tribe.)

Mile 331. Route 1291 south break off from US 10.

Before mile 328. Large mountains on the right (north side).

Just past mile 327. Bigger mountains off to the left.

Just past mile 322. Pretty mountain scene of a mountain side close to the road. Entering Texas Canyon.

Mile 321. Rest area. Pretty setting with sand-colored mountains and rocks.

Before mile 310. Took a shot of the town of Benson from the car.

Mile 307. Get off US 10 to get onto Business Loop US 10 in order to catch Route 80 south to Tombstone. Go over the San Pedro River and catch Route 80.

Route 80 south.

Mile 295. Tombstone is 22 miles away.

Mile 299. The San Pedro River is mostly dry.

Before mile 300. Enter small town of St. David.

Before mile 307. Lots of little mounds in the area.

We see our first border patrol person.

On the right (west) are the Whetstone Mountains. On the left (east) are the Dragoon Mountains.

Mile 314. Junction with Route 82 that goes to Nogales. There are lots of border patrol vans here.

Past mile 315 we reach the City Limits of Tombstone. The Historic District is a Registered National Historic Landmark.

Our first stop was at the Cochise County Courthouse, built in 1882, after the October 26, 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The gallows are just outside of the Courthouse.

I enjoyed touring the very broad main street of Tombstone which is a pedestrian mall. The first building that caught our attention was the O.K. Corral. The stables building is pretty small. You canít see the side alley where the gunfight took place unless you pay to see it. The town is a mixture of historic buildings and modern buildings. The town has some historical markers along the street, which I enjoyed reading.

There are a lot of people dressed in cowboy/cowgirl and dance hall girl outfits. Tourists have their pictures taken with the actors. Many of the people in costume are there to direct you to their attractions. I thought there was a little too much of that, but it is bearable.

A hawker did direct us to a good restaurant. We walked about four blocks down to the Lamplight Room Restaurant, which has good Mexican food. The one waitress was overworked so the service was a bit slow, but the food was good and we were not in a hurry. Rosemary liked the flan and the cheesecake for desert.

We stayed at the Best Western Quail Hollow Inn at 699 N. Ocotillo Road in Benson.

Route 10 West to Benson

Tombstone Historic District

Boothill Graveyard & Route 80 North to Benson



Saturday, May 23, 2009.

Benson to Valley View (just south of Oro Valley north of Tucson).



Back on US 10 west.

Before mile 296. Enter Pima County.

Before mile 288. Cienaga Creek.

Exit 281. Scenic Route 83 south to Sonoita. From Sonoita Route 82 goes southwest to Patagonia and Nogales.

We get off at Exit 279. We get onto Colossal Cave Road. Drive past the sign for Tucson City Limits.

Cross over Pantano Wash.

Stopped at 2.9 miles along the Colossal Cave Road for views of the mountains.

At four miles, turn left onto Old Spanish Trail.

At 6.4 miles go over Rincon Creek.

At 7.2 miles is Jeremy Wash.

At 9.7 miles we enter the Saguaro National Park (east side).

There is a nice Visitorís Center here. One of the rangers pointed out two javelinas (aka collared peccaries) sleeping in the shade provided by the Visitorís Center Building. Rosemary took pictures of one of them.

We took the eight mile circular ride through the park. There are, of course, a lot of Saguaro cacti in the park Historical photos show how the number of Saguaro cacti has declined over the recent decades.

We leave the Saguaro National Park (east side) to head up the Santa Catalina Mountains to Mount Lemmon. We take the Old Spanish Trail to Houghton Road. Houghton Road then takes us to the Catalina Highway, which in turn takes us to Mount Lemmon.

Pass a sign saying Summerhaven (the town on Mount Lemmon) is 25 miles away.

Stop at a sign for the Coronado National Forest.

Stop before mile 1 marker. The outskirts of Tucson lie below us. Itís not that great of a view because itís just one suburban tract of houses after another on very flat land.

Just before mile 3 is the Babadoga Scenic View.

Elevation 4000 feet.

Past mile 4. Molino Canyon Vista.

Mile 5. Pay Station.

Elevation 5000 feet.

Past mile 8. Thimble Peak Vista.

After mile 11. Elevation 6000 feet.

Before mile 13. Manzanita overlook looking towards Tucson suburbs.

Windy Point.

After mile 15 there is Hoodoo Vista.

Palisade Visitor Center. Has a nice gift shop.

After mile 21. Elevation 8000 feet.

After mile 24. Stopped. Can see a long way across a broad valley.

At mile 25. Mt. Lemmon General Store and Gift Shop

If you keep going you reach the ski area.

Stopped at Mt. Lemmon Community Center for the bathrooms. There were no parking spaces left so I had to sit in the car while Rosemary and her brother Cefe went inside. It was almost empty. There was very little inside.

In 2003 they had a big fire at Mount Lemon and they lost some 300 houses. Some of the houses have been rebuilt.

Heading back down the mountain.

Alpine Vista Point. Small town in the distance on flat land.

We go straight down Houghton Street until we get back to US 10. Get off at Exit 263. Head west on Route 86.

After mile 167. Continue to Kinney Road and turn right.

Go through Tucson Mountain Park.

Stop at Old Tucson Studios amusement park. I had no idea this studio made so many movies. There is also a gift shop next to the Studio.

Behind the amusement park is Gates Pass Road constructed by a Mr. Gates.

We turn left to head to the Saguaro National Park (west side).

We pass by the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

Leaving the Tucson Mountain Park we enter the Saguaro National Park. We visit the visitorís center.

We drove to our motel, Best Western Inn Suites, Tucson Foothills, 6201 N. Oracle Road (Route 77) in Valley View.

Ate at El Charro Cafť in Oro Valley. The manager told us that "charro" mean "elegant cowboy". The margaritas were really great. The food was good too.

Saguaro National Park East

The Drive to Mount Lemmon

Tucson Mountain Park & Gates Pass




Sunday, May 23, 2009.

Oro Valley to Phoenix.

Route 77.

Drive to Oro Valley to the Catalina State Park. This is primarily a trailhead for various hiking trails. The Park is located at the base of the western slope of the Santa Catalina Mountains. There are trail here that connect to the Mount Lemmon Trail that takes the hiker up to Mount Lemmon.


Mile 83. Couple of miles past Catalina State Park.

Mile 86. The town of Catalina.

Mile 90. Junction with Route 79.

We turn left onto Route 79.

Mile 92. Enter Pinal Pioneer Parkway. Prickly pear cactus is very common hear and appears in big bunches.

Mile 102. Cadillac Wash.

Mile 103. Forman Wash.

Mile 104. Olsen Wash.

Mile 105. Bunyan Wash.

Mile 106. Durham Wash.

Mile 108. Bogard Wash. Now cholla cactus becomes more common.

Mile 111. Brady Wash.

Mile 114. Tom Mix Wash.

Mile 115. Tom Mix Monument. The cowboy silent films era movie star was killed at this point. What became the Tom Mix Wash area was washed out and there were some construction barriers up. Mix could not stop his car in time and landed in a ditch. An unsecured aluminum suitcase behind him hit Mix in the back of the head killing him.

Mile 121. Leaving Pinal Pioneer Parkway.

After mile 131. At Florence we get off at business Rt. 79 to catch Route 286 west to go see the Casa Grande ruins.

Route 287.

Mile 142. Farming land.

Mile 135. Turn left to go to Casa Grande National Monument. In 0.4 of a mile we turn right into the National Monument.

The ruins reveal a very sophisticated housing settlement area.

Get back on Route 287 heading to Florence. Then get back on Route 79 heading northwest to Phoenix.

Route 79.

Mile 134. McFarland State Historical Park.

Mile 136. Go over the Gila River which is all dried up.

Mile 136. There is an historical marker across from the River Bottom Saloon.

Left turn onto Route 60 at Florence Junction. This finishes the circular circuit: Florence Junction back to Florence Junction.

Take Exit 199 putting us on the Old West Highway.

In Apache Junction, after a drive of 3.1 miles, we pick up Route 88 heading northeast.

A drive of 3.3 miles brings us to the Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum. The Museum has a collection of artifacts of the Superstition Mountains, Apache Junction and the surrounding region. The mine was made famous by Jacob Waltz, known as "the Dutchman", who in 1891 took the secret of "his mine" to his grave. There is also a gift shop here. The lady in the museum told us that the chapel was originally at Gold Canyon, an old movie set.  A fire broke out destroying all the buildings but two.  The building was dismantled board by board and move to this location.  One of these is "Elvis Presley Chapel" named after Elvis who starred in a movie filmed at the original location.

We head back to Phoenix to stay at the Best Western Airport Inn near the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. .

Catalina State Park & Tom Mix Monument

Casa Grande National Monument & Superstition Mountain Museum

The next day, we flew home to Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

My Favorite Southeastern Arizona Photos

My Favorites.  This is our third trip to the Southwest.  While Southeastern Arizona has a charm of its own, my own preference is for the almost nonstop spectacular colors and textures of the Colorado plateau as seen in Southern Utah.



Return to Trips out West

Return to the Main Menu for the Vernon Johns Organization