11 May 2021

RAPEA - Day 26 - Day Trip to Sedona, Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Jerome via Route 89 and I17

The ride from Flagstaff to Sedona is absolutely wondrous! SR89A is a narrow two lane that slowly snakes through the Coconino National Forest. In the beginning it includes a section of twisty turny asphalt that would rival the Tail of the Dragon in Deals Gap NC. The road is thickly forested with pine on one side with a red rock cliff face on the other that occasionally protrudes precariously over the road. We passed by numerous campgrounds which are visible from the road and it's at the top of my bucket list of camping destinations.

Within the Coconino National Forest is the Slide Rock State Park which was originally the Pendley Homestead, a 43-acre historic apple farm located in Oak Creek Canyon. Supposedly, it is world famous for its sandstone rock slide which measures 80 feet in length and 2.5 to 4 feet in width with a 7 degree incline which empties into a half mile area of Oak Creek that's open for sliding, swimming and wading. The area is so beautiful that it has also been the set for many movies including one of my classic favorites "Angel and the Badman" which was filmed in 1946 starring John Wayne.

Sedona AZ, the aridly beautiful Lady in Red from her foundations to her cloth awnings fluttering in the breeze, where (if you take a second mortgage on your house) you can shop til you drop and a shuttle bus will pick you up and deliver you to one of the many spas for rest and relaxation so you can live to shop another day.

Cottonwood AZ, the center of AZ wine country, took its name from a circle of sixteen large cottonwoods growing about one-quarter of a mile away from the Verde River. In the 1920s it was called the 'Biggest Little Town in AZ' due to having so many businesses and only a population of about a thousand.

Clarkdale AZ was Arizona's first "planned community" in the heart of the Verde Valley, and once served to house the miners who worked the copper mines of Jerome and their families. I would have loved to have toured their Arizona Copper Art Museum but sadly we were there on a Monday and they were closed.

Jerome AZ...for all my AZ friends think about a high altitude Bisbee AZ on steroids! For the rest of my readers, Jerome, like Bisbee, was an abandoned mining town until a band of merry hippies adopted it and turned it into an artist enclave. You know those Adopt a Highway signs you see everywhere? Jerome has one that states the area is kept clean by the Psychedelic Mariachi Band. Now that's a band I'd love to hear play.

We took I17 for the return trip and the only place of note I saw was the exit sign for Montezuma Castle National Park which I discovered was erroneously named by settlers of European descent. It neither belongs to Aztec culture nor is it a castle in the traditional sense. The castle is actually a prehistoric high rise apartment structure built into the stone cliffs and abandoned nearly 40 years prior to Montezuma's birth. Several Hopi clans and Yavapai communities trace their ancestries to early immigrants from the Montezuma Castle/Beaver Creek area.

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