We are currently at Rio Verde Campground in Cottonwood, Arizona. The drive from Holbrook was an easy 153 miles. Our site is a pull-thru, sort of. The Big Rig barely fits. Oh well. We’ve gotten good at making it work. And the people are friendly. Check out the Asian totem poles at the campground office.
We are staying for a week. Our plan is to continue to get our tourist on. This area has lots to offer. We started with the town of Jerome.
Jerome is located on top of Cleopatra Hill in the Black Hills. It overlooks the Verde Valley. Cottonwood is located in the Verde Valley. The drive from Cottonwood is along State Route 89A, a curvy mountain road. It’s a beautiful drive, for the passenger. The driver – Other Half – can’t exactly gawk.
Jerome is known as “America’s Most Vertical City.” That’s not an exaggeration. The town is nestled into a steep mountainside. The 30-degree incline of the mountainside has given gravity the edge.
A number of the town’s buildings have slid down the slope, including the jail.
Jerome was once a thriving copper mining town. At its peak the population was 15,000. Today their are about 450 people living there. The barista at a local coffee shop described the residents as “old hippies and artists.” My kind of people.
The town is also know as “The Largest Ghost Town in America.” We looked for ghosts at The Haunted Hamburger over lunch. Our waitress grew up in Jerome and had lots of stories of sightings. She’d never seen a ghost herself – but she’s a believer. Good enough for me.
Jerome has a nice array of shops and galleries. It’s refreshing not to have tons of touristy crap for sale. The day gave me another opportunity to practice my appreciate without buying skills.
The Grand Canyon
The next day we took the 6-hour round trip to the Grand Canyon. Once again Other Half’s National Park Senior Pass came through for us. The last time we were at the canyon we were on a motorcycle and way underage for the senior pass.
The canyon is beyond words and photos don’t cut it either. To get an idea of how gigantic the Grand Canyon is – here are the stats: 1 mile deep, 277 river miles long and up to 18 miles across. If you ask me, the 1-mile deep is the most unnerving part.
We got to the park when there were still available parking spots. We started at the Visitor Center and walked the South Rim Trail.
Mother Nature has outdone herself with the Grand Canyon. We were both awe-struck. The Canyon is spectacular but it also messes with your equilibrium. Other Half is not a fan of having his equilibrium messed with.
Happy to say, he came through like a champ.
On the drive out of the park we spotted a sign for a Mountain Lion crossing. Yes, a Mountain Lion crossing. Now that would be something to see.
After a couple days of downtime, consisting of football, pizza and beer, we got back in tourist mode and headed to Sedona. Sedona is nestled in the red rocks of the Upper Sonoran Desert. It’s about 20 minutes from Cottonwood.
The red rocks are glow-in-the-dark sandstone formations. Technically they don’t glow-in-the-dark, but they do glow a brilliant orange and red when the sun hits them.
Sedona is a small town with a population just above 10,000. The town is known for its stunning landscapes and its vibrant arts community. We enjoyed both.
In the FYI category, Sedona was named after the wife of the town’s first Postmaster. Who knew. And one more thing, my appreciate without buying skills were put to the test. Sometimes a girl’s gotta shop.