Mostly a travelling day today, but thanks to a timely comment on this site just as we were packing up to leave (thanks, Gilles!), we made a final stop in Red Rock Country in the little mountain-top town of Jerome. Once a copper mining town, then a ghost town, many of its original buildings from the mid 1800s have been restored and the town has become home to artists and collectors—and a small downtown committed to peddling their wares. We particularly enjoyed the artists’ co-op (and left almost $100 poorer).
I’ve been trying to think why Jerome—just as much a tourist attraction as Sedona– appealed to me so much more than Sedona. I guess it was the quirkiness and individuality of the various shops, cafes, etc. Clearly out to appeal to tourists, but somehow more “real” than the upscale, architecturally coordinated business centre of Sedona. Cheaper, too.
After an early lunch in Jerome, we headed generally west. California, here we come. Jack was in California once as a child; I have never been there and for some reason it is a milestone, more than Arizona or Utah, where I’d also never been before.
We climbed sharply after Jerome, then dropped to a high plateau and into Prescott. The landscape changed as we went—the hills and the colours less dramatic, the foliage sparse. We passed through a couple of National Forests that called into question the usual definition of a forest. Anyone know what kind of pines these are – if they are pines at all?
Still some interesting landscape.
After Prescott, we decided to travel on Route 66 for about a hundred miles—expecting it to be a nostalgia experience. It wasn’t, really. A few little towns featuring early 20th century storefronts and lots of old cars and old (non functional) gas pumps with obsolete gas station signs.
And Burma Shave signs. Now THAT was a bit of nostalgia that hit home. Did they have those in Canada? Both Jack and I remember them from road trips with our families…
We stopped at the Highway 66 Museum in Kingman—just as they were about to close, so we got in free. The most impressive thing, for me, were the references to Steinbeck–a reminder that this is the highway of The Grapes of Wrath, the highway that carried so many victims of the Great Depression to California in hopes of a better life. Most of them returned home, disillusioned.
We crossed the Colorado River a sunset—and changed our watches yet again, now three hours earlier than home. For some reason, all vehicles entering California had to go through a check point. We don’t know what they were looking for, but it’s obviously a permanent setup. Jack thought maybe they were checking for citrus fruits—and I worried about the half lemon we have in our cooler—but they just waved us on.
We are now in Needles, California. Tomorrow, the Mojave Desert.