Phoenix - Wild West & Deserts.

Trip Start Apr 01, 1990
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Trip End Aug 21, 2002


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Sunday, July 16, 1995

Phoenix is definitely the centre of the Wild West, with Tucson to the south, Silver City to the SE, Fort Apache to the east and Flagstaff to the North. And if that hasn't convinced you then this is also home of the tall two armed cactus of western movies fame and the beep beep roadrunner. Arizona is hot and dry and the locals have an equally dry sense of humour. On passing the huge prison when approaching Phoenix there is a sign advising motorists not to pick up hitchhikers!! We stayed the night at a park just out of Phoenix and when they found out we were Aussie we were invited to join them on a progressive meal, which went from van to van. As we were visitors, we were not expected to contribute. We had a great night of fun and laughter.
The next day was prove to be amazing, we set off early as we planned to make it to the Grand Canyon. Our first surprise was near Black Canyon when a roadrunner came out of the mesa and crossed in front of us. No beep beep, no wily coyote and no falling rocks or devious traps but as fans we were impressed. The roadrunner was considerably smaller than envisaged, but rewarding just the same.

Our next stop was Montezuma castle, we had not heard of this prior, and in my opinion it should be better promoted. It was right up there with other great man made tourist attractions. It is thought to have been built by the Sinagua Indians who were farmers, but mystery surrounds as to where they got the technology and what happened to them. Tourists are not permitted to enter the castle, but it is still impressive from the ground view. A larger castle ( 6 story, 45 rooms) existed nearby, but was not as well protected and today is a badly deteriorated ruin.  

About 50 miles to the North we passed though Flagstaff and onto route 89. To our left rose the snow capped Humphreys Peak at 12633 feet, which surprised us, as we did not think of snow and desert in the same place. We stopped at the Little Colorado Canyon and this was impressive, so much so we were excited to see the Grand Canyon given it's status. We locked the car and wandered around the canyon and the Indian stalls, set up to trap tourists. This was Navajo Indian Reservation who control much of the Grand Canyon area in the Painted Desert. Further to the West the Havasupai and Hualapai Indians also have reservations bordering the Grand Canyon. When we returned to the car we were dismayed to find we had locked our keys in and to make matters worse two Indians in a pickup were taking video us. Avan went searching and came back with some wire, and with the camera still on him, picked the lock. We took off feeling somewhat strange, but nothing came of it.
Next stop the biggy, the grand daddy of tourist spots.
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