Going "mining" in Jerome & riding the Verde RR

Trip Start May 26, 2005
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Trip End Jun 07, 2005


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's only 20 miles to Jerome, but with the curvy roads, it takes almost double that. It's a scenic ride, but once you are out of the "red rock" nothing compares. Jerome was Johns choice. We've never been here, before. The first stop is the Museum.  

James Douglas purchased two top producing copper mines. With part of his fortune, he built a mansion made of adobe bricks. This house is now an Arizona State Park Museum and  a museum devoted to the Jerome area, its mining history and the Douglas family. In 1965, the Douglas Mansion became an Arizona State Park Museum.

Before we entered the "house" we checked out an assortment of mining equipment. Start the tour with the short movie highlighting Jerome's history. Great photrography exibits, along with family and mining mementos. Up on the hillside is the Little Daisy hotel, another adobe structure which housed the miners, dorimatory style.

The archeticture is worth a "look-see." Next, its' the the switchback road to the town of Jerome. Knows as both  America's Most Vertical City and the Largest Ghost Town in America. It's located on top of Cleopatra Hill. Elevation, 5200 feet, and slope - a 30 degree incline is the key to why many of the buildings have or are in the process of tumbling down the mountainside. 

This is hippie haven., but with a materialist twist. Shops, a cafe that  "hangs" suspended over the hillside, with a full glass wall view. crafts stores, small souvineer shops and even an intown winery that offers tours (but was closed when we were there - something about their license to operate). 

We walked in the small Powder Box church, went up to the Grand Hotel, which uses to be a hospital (I'd stay here the next time, or maybe in one of the B&B's in town). There are also carriage rides thru town. This is a place for a fun weekend, couples or families. 

Back down the steep, curvy road and on to the Verde Canyon Rail Road. We decided to eat at the railroads dining area, just in case we hit "traffic" or someother minor problem. The train leaves at 1pm and if we aren't on it, we don't go. The trains have eagle artwork on the engines. Very catchy. It's a 4 hour ride thru Verde Canyon, and the only access to the canyon. Two types of seating, coach and first class. We opted for the first class, with larger seats, and a comp snack and beverage service. Each train car is decorated differently. Kary and John were in another car, and the first class passengers can walk from car to car.

There are viewing platforms with overhead canopies. A guide explains what you are seeing - Native American cave dwellings, an eagle flying, rock formation, information on the areas you are traveling thru. It's a pleasant way to relax, kick back and see some beautiful scenery.

After the train it's on to Tuzigoot National Monument. This is very much a "ruin" except for one reconstructed room. But it's not hard to visualize what the village of over 150 people would have been like. Lots of cactus growing here. On to the winery... which once we made it down the old dirt road and found it was closed...was a bummer. We decided to eat and walk around the shops at Tlaquepaque.  
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