Tucson is situated at the north end of a 500-square-mile (1,295-square-kilometer) valley bordered by the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Boboquivari Mountains to the west. The area was inhabited by American Indians of the Tohono O'odham tribe starting about 12,000 years ago, making Tucson one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the United States.
Europeans first arrived in 1692 when Father Eusebio Francisco Kino founded the San Xavier del Bac Mission south of present-day Tucson. The Spanish military established a presidio in 1775, and Spanish settlers began arriving in 1776. They called their new town Tucson, after the Tohono O'odham word stjukshon (pronounced chuk-son), meaning "water at the foot of the black mountain."
In 1854 Arizona became part of the United States when much of the Southwest was transferred to the United States pursuant to the Gadsden Purchase, which was part of the treaty ending the Mexican-American War. After that, the town became a frontier outpost for the American army. In 1880, the Southern Pacific Railroad passed through the town, which became a railroad hub and shipping center. Tucson also served for a period as the capital of the Arizona Territory, from 1867 to 1877.
Nowadays, Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona, with about 1,020,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area. Like Phoenix, it is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States
Arizona's capital and largest city, Phoenix is known for its hot, sunny, desert climate. It sits in a wide valley known as the Valley of the Sun, which is well named, since Phoenix experiences over 300 days of sunshine per year, and summer temperatures routinely top 100 degrees Farenheit (38 degrees Celcius).
The area was first settled by the Hohokam tribe of American Indians in about 300 B.C. They constructed an elaborate system of canals to bring water from the Salt River to their crops. The Hohokam culture mysteriously disappeared, and the Valley of the Sun remained empty until 1865, when Camp McDowell was established as a military outpost.
In 1870, a settlement was established by Jack Swilling, a Confederate soldier, when he built a mill along the Salt River. One of the town's early settlers, Phillip Darrel Duppa, named the settlement Phoenix, because like the mythological bird which rose from its own ashes, it rose from the ashes of the Hohokam irrigation system. In 1889, the city's fortunes were guaranteed when the territorial capital was moved from Prescott to Phoenix.
Throughout its history, Phoenix grew slowly. However, within the last few decades, the population has exploded as people have moved into the area for the warm sunny climate and an increasingly diverse economy. Nowadays, Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and is the center of a metropolitan area with about 4,310,000 inhabitants.
You should have no trouble that time of year to find hotels in Tucson. All though you can never tell on the weekends. You may want to book a little ahead for friday and saturday night stays.
There are wonderful day hikes in the Tucson Ntns, Santa Catalina's and Saguaro National Park. The Dragoon Mtns, are a little bit of a drive but well worth it to hike Cochise Stronghold. A great time of year for hiking in AZ.
Sedona is a different story as far as hotels. Easier to find in February but March could be tricky for short notice bookings. If you have trouble, drive about 20 minutes SW on 89a to Cottonwood and you are sure to find something there. Hiking in Sedona is wonderful that time of year. I go nearly every March. A must do hike is Doe mtn, late afternoon. Amazing sunsets from the top of the mesa. Bring a headlamp for the hike out just in case. Another great place to watch the sunset is from Cathedral Rock. It's a little steep in areas but well marked and worth the effort.
If you have time Prescott is another great town with a lot of history and nice day hike trails.
“Get your kicks
On Route 66”
Rarely does a highway become an iconic symbol of a country in the way that Route 66 has come to symbolise many of the characteristics (real or imagined) of the American Dream – wide open spaces, the freedom of the open road, a desire to explore and make something of your life. In the days before we knew the climate-destroying price we would pay for such freedom, many dreamt of following the “Mother Road” to a better life out west, or simply as a route to see something of this amazing country. And now we know more about the impact of the car on our environment, many of us, me included, still would love to make this journey ...
The brainchild of two entrepreneurs, Cyrus Avery of Tulsa, Oklahoma and John Woodruff of Springfield, Missouri, Route 66 was conceived to join Chicago to Los Angeles, not by the most direct route, but by one that would connect rural communities too, linking small town U.S.A. with its metropolitan capitals. Work began in the summer of 1926 but the Depression came almost immediately, halting progress. However in 1933, thousands of unemployed men were put back to work and road gangs paved the final stretches of the road. By 1938 the 2,300 mile highway was continuously paved from Chicago to Los Angeles.
I first encountered Route 66 in song, as did so many of us, and later in one of my favourite novels, John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”. It was Steinbeck who first called it the “Mother Road” and immortalised it as the road out of the depression of the Midwest’s Dustbowl to the promised land of plenty, California:
” ...and they come into 66 from the tributary side roads, from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads, 66 is the mother road, the road of flight.”
But from the 1960s onwards Route 66 became increasingly unable to cope with the volume of motor traffic and new multi-lane highways were built that, by 1984, joined East Coast to West Coast without interruption. Route 66 was completely bypassed, its crumbling surfaces allowed to decline yet further, and the small businesses and communities that relied on the passing trade it had brought left to mourn its demise. But enough interest remains, as well as enough of the road, for something of an alternative tourist opportunity to thrive. Historical markers indicate where the route lies, now often on renumbered roads; businesses promote their connections (there are numerous Route 66 bars, for instance); and souvenirs are sold in specialist shops such as this one in Flagstaff.
One day I hope I will follow Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles – for now this small stretch in Arizona must satisfy me ...
Located in the southwestern region of the United States, with Phoenix as its capital and largest city.
ARIZONA is known for its desert climate, hot summers and mild winters. Many "Snowbirds" winter here, esp around Preston and Scottsdale, where there are many retirement communities.
In addition to the Grand Canyon, many other Parks, National Forests, Monuments and Indian Reservations are located in Arizona. The Grand Canyon is a colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved the the Colorado River and is located in Northern Arizona. The Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world.
On our "Road Trip 2009", Hans and I covered quite a bit of Arizona, entering the State from the I-40 travelling west to Flagstaff, then south on the Hwy 17 to Phoenix (stayed here one night), up the #60 to Wickenburg and the #93, hooking up with the I-40 again to Kingman and then the #93 to Las Vegas (stayed here two nights).
After Las Vegas, we got on #93 again south to hook up with the I-40 back to Flagstaff (stayed here one night). Then the #180 and #64 to Tusayan and Grand Canyon. Then #64 to Cameron. North on #89 to the #160 and Tuba City (stayed here one night). And finally to Kayenta where we hooked up to the #163 to Monument Valley in Utah. So we basically criss-crossed the state and saw such wonderful landscape in this great State of Arizona
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Hans and I last visited Grand Canyon thirteen years ago, in 1996, when we did a road trip with Hans' sister Nel and husband Jean.
We made a return visit to GRAND CANYON on our "Road Trip 2009".
Starting out from our motel in Flagstaff, we made our way along highway 180 and then on to Hwy 64 and the Park's south entrance station. We paid our $25.00 US entry fee (good for seven days). Our receipt recorded us as arriving at 9:54 a.m.
First stop was the "Grand Canyon Visitor Center" which is also the location of the IMAX Theater ($12.00 US admittance fee).
Our first stop was Mather Point (7120 feet elevation). We backtracked west to Yavapai Point and then continued on Desert View Drive to Grandview Point.
As it was now past 1:30 p.m. and we were getting hungry, it was lunch time. We looked for a Picnic Area and found a lovely spot with a table sitting in the bright sunshine. It was such a quiet and peaceful spot. The only sound you heard was the soft wind blowing through the trees. Not even sight or sound of any little critters scurrying about. I thought I would at least see a squirrel or little chipmunk.
After our Picnic lunch, we headed for Moran Point (7160 feet elevation) which in my opinion is the most beautiful view, with the sight of the mighty Colorado River winding its way through the Canyon below.
Next was Lipan Point (7360 feet elevation) and finally Desert View (7438 feet elevation). We finished our day at about 6:00 p.m. A full day indeed and such a wonderful experience.
The picturesque town of SEDONA lies at the mouth of beautiful Oak Creek Canyon, a breathtaking chasm. Sedona is surrounded by red-rock monoliths named Coffeepot, Cathedral, Bell and even Snoopy, because their massive shapes resemble these distinctive objects. Rising high above Sedona and its hallmark canyon is the Mogollon Rim, a 2,000-foot escarpment formed from ancient deposits of limestone, mudstone and sandstone. The rim serves as the southwestern boundary of the vast Colorado Plateau and is home to the largest contiguous stand of ponderosa pine trees in the world. The 1.8 million acre Cociano National Forest essentially engulfs this city.
Sedona visitors can spend their time here Hiking, horse-back riding, bouncing in a Jeep on the trails and dirt roads that crisscross the area or enjoy its many shops, art galleries and fine restaurants.
Hans and I were here many years ago, but I do remember some things esp in Old Town Sedona. I was simply amazed though by how much it has grown, with so many new hotels, condos and shopping areas. I was almost a little sad though that it has grown so much. I don't think it's as charming and compact as it used to be. It's so much more commercialized.
I have always been fascinated with the JOSHUA TREE. The Joshua Tree, or Yucca Brevifolia, is tree-like in form and is native to southwestern USA in the states of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. It thrives in the open grasslands, between 400-1800 metres / 2000 - 6000 feet elevation. Whenever I see them, I always take note of when the trees begin and when they start to fade away. Its amazes me that they only grow at a specific elevation. We saw plenty of them on the 93 Hwy North towards the I-40.
Joshua Trees are fast growers in the desert. New seedlings may grow at an average rate of 3 inches per year in their first ten years, then grow about 1.5 inches per year after. The trunk is made of thousands of small fibres and lacks annual growth rings, making it difficult to determine a tree's age. The tree has a deep and extensive root system and if it survives the rigors of the desert, it can live for hundreds of years.
The tallest trees reach about 15 metres tall and its leaves are dark green, linear and bayonet -shaped, tapering to a sharp point.
The creamy-white flowers produce in spring from February to late April. Its fruit is green/brown and contain many flat seeds.
A large, tree-like Cactus, the SAGUARO CACTUS is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. The Saguaro blossom is the state flower of Arizona. Saguaros have a long life span and may live for more than 150 years. It takes as long as 75 years to develop a side arm. The growth rate is dependent on precipitation. Saguaros in drier western Arizona grow slower that those in and around Tucson.
Night blooming flowers appear April through May and the ruby-colored fruit matures by late June. Each fruit can contain as many as 2,000 seeds.
Damaging a Saguaro is illegal in Arizona, so look at them, enjoy them but do not touch or harm them.
Hans and I saw many Saguaros as we drove along Highway 60 north. Of course, I had Hans pull over the side of the road, so I could take some pics.
That very morning, we were taking some photos in Saguaro National Park, about 330 miles and five and a half hours of normal driving. We had a nice breakfast at the campground but didn't dilly dally as we had laundry to do and the car was in need of an oil change. Tuscon seemed as good a place as any to do the chores and we figured we didn't have so far to go that day. We efficiently got everything done by splitting up and were soon enough on the road to Sedona.
This red rock spa town never much interested me but I had read about a brewpub there and it was a logical place for a break, maybe even something to eat. The surroundings were prettier than I had envisioned and it was my wife's first glimpse of red ala the American Southwest and she was rightly impressed. Though not a National Park, the town charges $5 to park anywhere with a decent view of their commodity which we found a bit extortionate. We snapped a few photos and headed to the brewpub to consider our options over a beer. It was an upscale place but the bartender was quite friendly. I had specifically come to try their Gold Medal winning Hefeweizen but it was not on that day in favor of a seasonal Saison which was quite good. The bartender gave us some tips on places to camp as well as telling us the actual brewery from which the brewpub got their beer would open at 4 PM, and that they had the elusive Hefeweizen on tap. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
It was a lot less fancy than the brewpub had been and you could see it was mostly local's enjoying it. The beer I had waited for was quite good though lacking a bit in carbonation for the style and a second one, a Marzen, was very disappointing. My wife was her usual gracious self and didn't needle me with “I told you so's,” but we both knew it was time to high tail it and that we did.
Now, it was a race against time and we sped our way in hopes of getting to the Grand Canyon before dark. The roads were empty but we had a considerable distance to go. My wife had to drive as she was the designated driver and her German prowess came in handy when handling the winding roads at faster than allowed speeds. We got there in record time but parking in the park right at sunset is a notorious problem. We managed to get one and rushed over to one of the overlooks, already bulging with spectators. It sure looked like it was glowing red and my wife's face showed not one ounce of disappointment, which can be the case when expectations of the Canyon are factored in. Later investigation of the photos I took that evening show that indeed it was less than ideal a time for that purpose. It was darker than we remembered but we'd driven like maniacs to get there and maybe, just maybe had been caught up what we viewed the victory. But photos are not everything and we would get many great ones in perfect light over the next week. Perfect light is not all that fairy tales are made of. The victory for me was not just the look in her eyes when she first saw it but in my further realization that I had found the perfect person with which to go on this journey. She was sitting right beside me and that was a better view than anything the Grand Canyon could ever provide.
Fondest memory: We looked into camping but it too was quite pricey and quite crowded. Though it would have been nice to stay for a day or two and get some practice hikes in before tackling the Grand Canyon, it didn't seem worth what was being charged and overall the town just felt a bit too swank for our tastes. If you like to hike on groomed trails, not get your Vasque boots dirty, and get a facial and massage before a four-star meal, then Sedona is for you. So, we knew it was time to move on but the brewery opening was nagging at me. Not it's opening but it's opening in an hour. It didn't make any sense to remain in town for an hour, basically wasting valuable driving time so I searched for the Hefeweizen in the super market in vain. It wasn't entirely in vain as before we knew it the brewery was opening and we were waiting at the door. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory: It wasn't perfect like in a fairy tale but it was pretty damn good. The Grand Canyon was below us and the last few moments of what was surely a glowing amber hue were quickly fading. I'd been here before but my wife was happily soaking it all in despite the hundred people we were sharing it with. It was her first time and she had been lucky to have her very first glimpse of the icon of the American National Park system in a flattering sun low-on the-horizon light. Ok, it was a bit lower on the horizon than I had planned and luck had very little to do with it. But it was better than mid afternoon washed out and plans made by me can go astray due to my being easily swayed by the things to cross my path. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
This is a favorite retirement community now or maybe a second home for vacations for some -- but the place is booming and they even already have a Costco in Prescott now! Sometimes, I do get job offers in this area in the medical specialty I am in and unfortunately I have not accepted any locum tenens assignement since I am already too busy in the Phoenix Metro Area.
So Prescott is a natural beauty, also known for it's golfing areas - Antelope Hills which is at a 500 elevation. They have the Granite Dells which are sculptural works of art by nature. Rock climbers enjoy scaling up the rugged gritty walls that surround Watson Lake...
Truly a wonderful growing community in Arizona, and much much cooler temperature-wise than Phoenix...
Jumping around Bisbee!
The main reason we decided to go to this town was because I saw it was only 20 minutes from the cowboy town of Tombstone – so why not go and visit?
This is a charming mountainside town which is truly historical and very artsy. It reminds me of a small European town and kinda misplaced after driving from Tombstone.It has quaint Bed and breakfast inns, and surprisingly has a lot of activities which include a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, a Queen Mine tour, art galleries and nearby birding and outdoor recreation spots.
Bisbee does have a Visitor Center at #2 Copper Queen Plaza.
El Tovar Hotel was built in 1905 and designed by Charles Whittlesey who was the Chief Architect for...more
We stayed here for the first 4 days of January 2009. The hotel is beatuifully layed out and blends...more
My boyfriend and I stayed here last weekend, off season so the rate for a cabin was $250.00. It was...more