Last Town Bypassed

I had never been to Williams, AZ. At least I don’t think I had. Maybe I went through it as a kid with my parents, or drove past it on the I-40, not buckled up in the back of the big Ford van with my siblings sipping on cans of Big K soda and eating generic brand cookies from the grocery store.

It’s a cool looking little town. One of those postcard towns. One of those built in the late 1800s, Old West, railroad kind of towns. The kind of place I like to visit now.

Williams is a last pit stop of reliable lodging and amenities before heading up to the Grand Canyon. The launching point of the Grand Canyon Railroad tours. The last town on historical Route 66 bypassed by the Interstate 40. This is where they get the tourists. This is where almost all of the stores on the main drag celebrate and capitalize on the nostalgia of 1950s America with knick knacks and signs and memorabilia and magnets of the Route 66 Highway sign, or Marilyn Monroe, or Elvis, or John Wayne, or Coca-Cola.

I spent the night there with my friend Eric and his family in a little Route 66 motel. He, his dad, and I went out that night after we got back from the Grand Canyon and had dinner and beer at the Historic Brewing location there. One of the few places that takes advantage of the location and old architecture without being a tourist trap. Plus they have damn good beer, and if you’re ever there, or in Flagstaff, you should stop in.

Walking around that night, everything looked so neat and photogenic. But I didn’t have my camera on me, so I stayed a little longer the next morning to explore and take photos after I said goodbye to Eric and his family after we had breakfast. Mind you, exploring was just walking down and up the main drag and over to the railroad station, soaking in the two industries that keep the town hanging on a little better than some of the other Route 66 stops. It didn’t take long, but Williams is a cool place worth seeing.



Views From the Rim

Here are some photos from when I accompanied my friend Eric and his family to the Grand Canyon back in April. I know, I’m very timely with my posts.

If I remember correctly, which I probably don’t, these photos were taken from Mather Point, Grandview Point, Moran Point, and Desert View.

It was a wonderful day hanging out with good people and sight seeing at one of my favorite places. We saw many haggardly looking Elk in the process of shedding their winter coats and felt from their antlers. I didn’t get any pictures of those since I was sitting in the back. Just thought I’d share that we saw them and not provide any proof.

Salt River Canyon Day Trip

Last week I tried going to Cibecue Falls. I didn’t know anything about it except that it looked amazing from a picture I saw on instagram. I looked up one blog about it from a site called Outbound Collective. It looked amazing. People said it was amazing. So I put it in Google Maps and drove there.Ā Well, I should have done a little more research on it, because it’s actually on the Apache Indian Reservation, and they require you have a permit to hike to the site. That permit is $30. Cash or check.Ā Of course I didn’t have a check because I’m not 70 years old, and I didn’t have any cash on me. So I drove three hours just to turn around and go back to Globe.

Seriously, $30 a person? Kind of steep and a bit ridiculous. I probably would have paid it if I had the cash on me. Afterall, I just drove three hours specifically to see this waterfall. I reread the blog on Outbound Collective, and whoever wrote it failed to say anything about needing a permit, except at the end where there is a link to get one online, which is broken. I didn’t see it the first time anyway. But rereading it, I see that a lot of people left comments about getting a permit, and they said their permits were only $15. Which was six months ago. Why the drastic increase?

I digress.

I had stopped at the Salt River Canyon Rest stop there before you turn off the 60 to the dirt road to the falls. It has some wonderful views of the Salt River Canyon and the two parallel bridges that cross over it. One of the bridges is decommissioned. You can walk over it, but can’t drive. I had actually been here when I was about 11 years old on the way back from a camping trip in the White Mountains with an old childhood friend. His dad pulled over at the rest stop and my friend and I climbed down the stairs to the river and explored.

By that time it was noon. I figured, maybe I could get back to Globe and get some cash and then come back, hike the two miles to the falls, hang out for a bit, and head home. Well, on the way back to Globe, I pulled over to let Eko out because he was whining. He did his business, and then I gave him water, of which he drank quite a bit. So, now I needed to get cash, and more water. Not a problem. So we jump back in the Jeep and drive back to Globe.

Looking down on Salt River Canyon from a pullout.

The drive was longer than expected, and by the time I got back to Globe, I needed more fuel. So I refilled, bought some water at the gas station, and tried to get cash back. They don’t do none of that here fancy cash backs in these parts. But they did have an ATM. I could have used the ATM, but then I had a great idea of driving further into town and finding the Safeway so I wouldn’t have to pay the ATM fee. That shouldn’t take too long, right?

I should have just paid the ATM fee, because apparently, in the Safeway at Globe, the employees don’t know how to cashier. Or suspend a transaction after their card reader freezes. Or get someone who knows how to fix it. Or give cash back. I had to go to the customer service desk and catch the lady just before she was going on break and I bought a bag of jerky and got my cash back. Yee Hah!

After all of that, it was almost 2 o’clock. By the time I would have made it back to the trailhead and down to the falls, I would only be able to spend maybe two hours there before I had to leave to get back to the Jeep before dark. So halfway there, along the stretch that parallels the Old Highway 60, I saw a turnoff to a dirt road and decided I should just take it and do some exploring. I only saw signs that said 304, but it was Chrysatile Mine Road.

I drove down Chrysatile Mine Road for a while and eventually pulled off the dirt road and parked. I let Eko out, who was having anxiety from all of this new stuff, and took some pics. I left the car there and hiked down the hill until the road came to a stop at a gate. It was access to private property. Left from the road was a trail that looked like it it would go down into a deep draw that had access to what must have been the Chrysatile mining shafts, but after about 30 yards, it was fenced off.

We hiked back up to the Jeep. I ate a banana and a PB&J sandwich, then we drove back up the road from where we came. I turned off another side road and followed it along the edge of the mountain. It was a very narrow road and I thought, if another car comes up this way, we’re going to be in trouble. Sure enough, another car came up the road. There was a wall of mountain to my left and a sharp drop to death to my right, but I wasn’t going in reverse all the way back up this hill. Nothing bad happened. We squeezed by each other, but it was enough to get the adrenaline going.

I reached the bottom of the hill and crossed a dry creek bed that was pretty gnarly. I then took a sharp left and followed the road until it came to an end at a grassy camp site. Next to the campsite was the creek bed. It was solid rock with a few puddles of stagnant water in its recesses, and the whole scene was walled in by the rock wall of the mountain I just descended.

I parked the Jeep near the campsite and let Eko out. We then walked further past the campsite into the woods. The Jeep trail grew more faint the further in we walked. Eko ran back and forth sniffing at all the new things he discovered, and peed on them. I came across a very old, rusted out car door riddled with bullet holes. A little further ahead of me was the rest of the old car. Not sure the year, make and model, but maybe something from the late 40s/early 50s. It’s motor was gone, along with the doors and windows. The insides rotted out or stripped away. It was also riddled with bullet holes and the roof was crushed in with rocks. Kind of cool to find out in the wilderness.

Anyone know what car this is by any chance?

We explored this area a bit longer, then we returned to the Jeep and headed out. As I got to the highway 60, I turned left and headed up toward Salt River Canyon again. I wanted to get some pictures of the abandoned Seneca Lake Trading Post before the sun went down. Further up the 60, within the Reservation boundaries, is the remnants of a lake resort business venture gone belly up. It was really spooky looking, so I had to see it.

When you first drive in, there is what used to be a gas station near the highway. The lamp posts are still there, but the building is covered in grafitti, the windows and doors are gone, and trash and debris cover the floor. I drove past it and further onto the property. The roads around the site are rustic at this point, grown over with vegetation and washed away, making for a slow, bumpy ride. There were sleeping cots underneath some trees and it almost looked like there might have been people squatting in what was left of the few buildings out there.

The old Seneca Lake gas station.

I drove slowly towards the lake when I saw a blue, Chevy truck heading towards me. It was slowly following me for a minute, so I pulled aside and turned around to leave not knowing if this was private property, or if the Reservation didn’t want trespassers. As I passed the truck, there was a Native woman driving and she smiled at me as she passed and there were a group of kids sitting in the bed. They called out “Puppy” when they saw Eko and were happy to see him. They were just heading to the lake. I continued on towards the rest of the dilapidated buildings and circled the property and took some pictures.

I didn’t get out of the car to explore any of these old buildings. They were too creepy, and I didn’t want Eko getting hurt on any broken glass or debris. I just snapped the photos from my car and then we left.

The drive home was uneventful. I made a quick stop in Miami to take a picture of a politically charged statement someone painted on the side of their building. I just found it amusing that someone felt so strongly this way, they took the time to paint this, but once she lost, they just left it their anyway. Anything to spruce up Miami, I guess. Place looked like it never recovered from the Great Depression. The drive between Miami and Superior is beautiful, however. It’s a National Scenic drive of spires of red rocks and canyons. Very beautiful.

Kind of an odd day full of surprises. You have your heart set on one thing and your day going one way, and it throws you a curve ball and it still ends up being eventful.

Absence of Posts

Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and kind of embarrassing that I’m posting my first blog of the year in February. I’ve been incredibly busy since my last post. I’ve been going through some stuff, some good and some bad, but mostly just trying to balance daily life.

The last thing I posted was about the NaNoWriMo Challenge, which I did attempt. Unfortunately, I did not complete the challenge (I was about 19,000 words short), but I accomplished sparking a fire for a story I think has the potential of being a great novel. So I have been working on and will continue to complete and polish that work.

I also attended the Phoenix Comic Con Fan Fest back in December. So look forward to seeing a blurb and some pictures for that. Just in time for Amazing Arizona Comic Con!

I’m so on top of things.

NaNoWriMo: Yolo, MoFo!

“Write drunk; Edit sober.”Ā  -Ernest Hemingway

I may be inebriated more often than usual this November.

I’ve decided to do the National Novel Writing Month challenge: Write a novel (50,000 words) in the month of November. That starts tomorrow. I’ll have to commit myself to write approximately 1666 words or more a day to meet that goal. I’m going to do it. I’m sure it will be crap, but I’ll do it. It’s more of an exercise in discipline than being able to write a well crafted story. It will be a good way to get the kinks out and get the creative juices flowing. Something good might come from it or not. I’ll be sure to post any excerpts I think are worthy.

Here’s to me writing a whole book, start to finish.