Verde Valley, Arizona  -  February, 1999

One of our favorite sites is Montezuma's Castle.  An 800 year old native American "apartment" complex.  They estimate that there was a community here of about 200 people, with about 35 residents living in this cliff-side structure. It is the only one that is left now.

No historic importance here, but the lunch we had at this very "un-fancy" restaurant was so good that we had to put their picture on our website.
They had some really old horse carriages and wagons.  If you're in the area of Camp Verde it's worth stopping at Babe's Roundup for some green chili burritos or BBQ ribs.



After lunch we toured Camp Verde.  It's an old calvary fort built in the late 1800's.  As the story goes, the settlers dammed the river to irrigate their crops.  The Native Americans that lived in the area were unable to gather and hunt as they always had done in the past, so they took corn from the settler's fields to feed their families.  The settlers requested protection from the government so Camp Verde was built. 
The end result was that the Native Americans were rounded up or killed if they resisted.  They were marched to a reservation where many died along the way.  Editorially speaking, I find these places to be a sad reminder of the injustices suffered by Native Americans.  While reading the placards describing the history of the fort, the local tribes are still referred to as "insurgents", as if they were the ones in the wrong.
All that is left of Camp Verde is four buildings and the central field.  The remaining buildings include three of the five living quarters (at the bottom) and the main command post in the lower left hand corner of the model shown above.
The next picture was taken at Slide Rock State Park.  The river has cut through the red rocks.  In the summer when it's warmer swimmers slide and flow down the rocks and through the troughs.  The kids had a blast here.  It looks like it would be easy to cross the river.  But when we went to jump across, it always looked just a little too far.
 In some of the most narrow places the river was ten feet deep and flowing faster.  This made even the four foot jumps seem a little risky.  Mitch and Max walked up the river on one side and we walked up the other side.  It always looked like there would be a place to cross just a little further up stream.  But when we got there it seemed just a little too far to jump.
Mitch and Max came to a spot on their side of the river where the ledge they were walking on went only one way, into the river. Their other option was to go up.  Ed had gone up stream a little farther and found a place to cross, came back, and was able to get these pictures of the boys.
We spent most of an hour hopping and jumping, crossing back and forth across the river.  In the later picture Mitch can be seen jumping across a four foot span.
Max said he had a lot of fun and he really liked the challenge. The beauty of this place can be seen in the background.  The spring and fall must add ever more color to this spectacular area.  Slide Rock is located just a few miles north of Sedona Arizona in the heart of Oak Creek. 
The area surrounding Sedona is mostly red rock and red dirt.  If you're interested in a jeep tour of the cliffs, hills and Indian ruins, this is the place for you.  There is no shortage of jeep tour companies in Sedona.
In between the site seeing tours we have our daily jobs like school work, cleaning and maintenance on our truck and trailer and web page maintenance.  We also have Cheryl's regular computer work which Ed is now a major part of.  Here Mitch is seen working on some school work.  We have two maps posted on the wall in our trailer. The bottom one is used to trace our route and the places we stop. 
  The top one shows the major highways and all of the National Parks and National Monuments so that we can see and plan where we are going and talk about where we have been.
We visited unique little town named Jerome.  It's close to the campground we've been staying in, about 90 miles north of Phoenix.  The closest community to our campground is Cottonwood.  Sedona is 15 miles to the northeast, Camp Verde is 5 miles to the southeast and Jerome is 5 miles to the west and darn near straight up.  Jerome is an old copper mining town.  It is built smack on the side of a steep hill.
 We visited unique little town named Jerome.  It's close to the campground we've been staying in, about 90 miles north of Phoenix.  The closest community to our campground is Cottonwood.  Sedona is 15 miles to the northeast, Camp Verde is 5 miles to the southeast and Jerome is 5 miles to the west and darn near straight up.
  Jerome is an old copper mining town.  It is built smack on the side of a steep hill.  Eventually the buildings were cracking and sliding down the hill, (the old jail slid over 200 feet from its original location).  After the copper boom was over, the Jerome practically turned into a ghost town with only a few residents, until the 1970's when several artists moved into the community. 
 The little town is now filled with art galleries and touristy shops. The view from this place is spectacular.  If you look into the background you'll see the red rocks that surround Sedona. The valley floor is about 3500 feet elevation and Jerome is about 5000 feet.
The town itself has a lot of personality.  Most of the buildings are original and all seem to have their fascinating story from the past.  There are three main streets, each about two blocks long.  The streets sort of switchback along the hill side.  Cheryl commented that there is nothing in this town that is level, not a sidewalk or a building floor.
 Here you can see one of the two major intersections in town and some more of the shops.
  We had lunch at what was billed as "oldest restaurant in the state of Arizona", (the deck where we're eating is a new addition, but like everything else in town, is slanted).  Lunch was great and the homemade pie and ice cream dessert was even better.  The view from the deck at 5,000 feet is worth the drive.
Ed stacked up ten pennies and stuck them under one of the table legs.  It did keep the table from wobbling even though the table was now at quite a slant. 

Here's a picture of the oldest Safeway grocery store we've ever seen.   It's no longer in business and definitely smaller than today's markets.  You can see the Safeway name in the upper left corner of the sign.

After lunch we visited the mining museum.   It was getting late so we just walked around the outside and looked over some of the heavier equipment.  Mitch and Max are standing next to a little mining car that is equipped with a loader scoop.
We also looked at some of the ways that were user to crush the ore to extract the cooper.  Mitch is seen in this picture standing next to a "arrastra" , Spanish for, 'to pull'.  A mule was hooked to the longer, horizontal pole. As the mule walked around in a circle, several large stones were drug in the center of the pit, crushing the ore into smaller pieces.
A more modern way to crush the ore was with this stream powered stamp.  This machine has five larger shafts that move up and down as the wheel and the crank turn around.  It looks just like the one you see in a good 'ol Chip and Dale cartoon.

Another day we drove past Jerome to the top of the mountain.  We went just over 7,500 feet high.  It's cold here and there was some snow on the ground.

The boys and Cocoa really enjoyed running and sliding in the snow.  Max wants to know if we can travel to Canada in the winter instead of waiting for summer.  Yeah, right.  We didn't come prepared to walk in the snow, (the boys were wearing sandals).

Ed wanted to see the overlook so he got on his bike and rode a mile up the road to the over look.  Far off in the distance you can barely see the red rocks around Sedona.  Cottonwood is down below and Jerome is on the hillside just over the hill in the foreground.  After this stop we continued on over the pass going southwest to Prescott Arizona.

We  had lunch at the Prescott Brewery.  Again, great food and a good Montezuma Red to wash it down with. They claim to be the most awarded brewery in the state of Arizona.

So now it's about time to hitch up the trailer and head out.  Who knows what's next.
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