Saturday, April 25, 2009

Red Rocks

Hilltop view of Sedona.
More Red Rocks
Bell Rock
We liked this little house.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
At an outdoor art gallery we found this chair that made me feel like Barney Rubble but it sold for more than $10 a pound so it was both too costly and too heavy for the motorhome.
Montezuma Castle
Jerome, Arizona
The homes on each side of the ridge road are built down over the hill.
Connor Hotel
View from the Haunted Hamburger.

We are slowly moving north and are now staying in Camp Verde, AZ at the Krazy K RV Park located near Sedona. We drove to Sedona through Red Rock Country in the Coconino National Forest where every turn offers a new and more beautiful view. We did a couple of short walks to the high rims overlooking the valley. These red rock walls are the southwestern extent of the vast Colorado Plateau that extends into four states and includes the Grand Canyon and the national parks we visited in Utah last spring. In Sedona, there are art galleries, shops and restaurants occupying buildings that blend well with the surrounding countryside. There are many fabulous homes packed into the town. Among the art galleries we visited was the Sedona Arts Center where we stopped to see two paintings our friend Sharon Frey had on display and also enjoyed the work of other pastel artists in the show. Sedona, nestled among this red rock splendor, is well worth the visit and offers something for everyone.

We toured Montezuma National Monument near Camp Verde, one of the country's best preserved cliff dwellings with 90% being original. The view of the 19 room structure, built under a huge alcove, is quite impressive. It was built by the Sinagua people who occupied it until around 1380 when, for unknown reasons, it was abandoned. It was built with masonry walls and sycamore beams to support a roof of reeds, grass and clay. Ladders were used to climb from the valley floor and the entrances were in the roof. It is believed that 35 to 50 people were housed here. Another structure nearby, Castle-A, once had 45 to 50 rooms but it is in almost total disrepair with only a few low walls remaining. The inhabitants of these cliff side homes relied on the water from Beaver Creek for crops and to attract animals for hunting. This is an interesting site, but, even though we understand why, we were disappointed we could not get an up close look.

We also drove to Jerome, a mile high old mining town that is now a major tourist destination. This was at the suggestion of Sharon and Allan, who told us not to miss a visit to Jerome and we are certainly glad we took their advice. There was a large copper mine here from the 1880's until 1953. It was once the fourth largest city in Arizona with a population of 15,000 in 1920. In its heyday there were many bars and bordellos to entertain the miners. After the mine closed, the few (50-100) remaining residents promoted it as a ghost town. Today the population of about 450 consists of artists, craftsmen, hermits, musicians and B & B owners who operate a variety of galleries and shops. The town is built on a 30 degree slope and a few buildings have fallen from years of neglect. One street runs across the ridge of one of the hills and all the houses are built down over each side. The other streets in town are switchbacks working there way up the mountain. The ghost theme is still used today in the Spirit Room at the Hotel Connor, an old bar were we stopped to listen to the band Cadillac Angels playing great music. We also stopped at a restaurant called the Haunted Hamburger where we dined and enjoyed a beautiful view. This is an interesting little town with wonderful shops and galleries and great views of the valley below and the mountains in the distance.

As we often say when we visit an area, we did not know there was so much to do here and we should have stayed longer. Oh well, hopefully we will make it back here some day to enjoy the area at a more leisurely pace. One thing we did notice in New Mexico and Arizona is that there are a lot of Steeler fans. We have not seen a single car with a Cardinals logo but we have seen many with the Steeler's. This area is definitely part of Steeler Nation.

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