August in Arizona

After a great time with all our family together in Durango, Colorado, we packed up all the leftover food and headed back to our “home” in the beautiful Bayfield Riverside RV Park. But on the way, we decided to walk around a little lake near the rental house.

A beautiful place for a morning walk looking for interesting birds!

The park really was pretty, with beautiful lawns and exquisite flower beds everywhere.

We celebrated our birthdays (again) playing our new game – “Wingspan.” Our friends Jeff and Marilyn introduced us to this fascinating, very complicated game. The game components are really pretty, and you can learn a lot about different birds, all in a challenging game format. Great fun!

Leaving Colorado, we headed towards southern Arizona… first stop was Holbrook. This was a frontier town long before Route 66 came through.


Route 66 is what really put Holbrook on the map… and when that highway died, it seems to have taken a lot of Holbrook with it.

I am fascinated by the history of Route 66 – all the buildings and services that sprang up to cater to newfound automobile traffic… and then died away slowly when that traffic stream dried up.

There are many derelict buildings in Holbrook, like this ice cream parlor, the motel with rows of cubicle sized rooms, or the muffler shop and garage. My favorite is the Wigwam Hotel – “Have you slept in a Wigwam lately?” The hotel is still standing, with individual teepee rooms, and old cars scattered all over.

Even though most of these cars are in terrible shape, it was fun to see models that were popular when I was a small boy. Did you know that the Chevy Suburban is the longest continuously used model name – they have been building them for 88 years! But originally the name “Suburban” was just a type of vehicle, like “station wagon” or “pickup.” At least seven companies used the name Suburban on some models. By 1988 all the other companies had stopped using the name, and GM was able to get a trademark on it. All this is to explain why I think it’s fun to see a DeSoto Suburban in this mix of rotting cars!

An interesting VW camper van…

Long before Route 66 came through, there was a gunfight in front of a saloon in town. Supposedly the aftermath was so bloody that the saloon changed its name to “Bucket of Blood.” The saloon is still there, all boarded up, but the street still bears that name.

Makes me wonder what this sign used to say…

Our campsite of flat gravel was nothing to get excited about, especially after the flower filled park in Bayfield. But it looked great compared to all the rotting structures in town!

Around the campground were dirt roads to get some exercise, and beautiful skies to do it under!

Four Corners is the only place where four states touch. I remember as a kid, we stood on the little “X” where the borders meet. Last week we decided not to drive here with all the grandkids, because we doubted it would be worth the extra 3 hours of driving tacked on to an already long Mesa Verde trip. We were right. It wasn’t far out of our Arizona route, so we stopped by. Lots of folks waited in line, to take their pictures on “The Spot.” As did we. It was extremely hot, and we didn’t feel like buying from the few Indian trinket shops that were open. So our whole Four Corners adventure didn’t last more that 10 minutes more than the time we spent in line.

From Four Corners we headed south, and were really surprised how green everything is! Middle of August in Arizona! Who’d have guessed?

Camp Verde sounds like a campground, but it’s really a town. Verde Ranch RV Park is the campground. We stayed here last fall when we were moving Nazario’s trailer cross country, [see story here] and wished we could have stayed longer. So we spent a few days here this time. We elected to stay in a covered site, to try and beat the heat. Very clever – those are solar panels, so they make electricity while charging more for a shady site. Well worth it!!

In the town of Camp Verde is a cute little diner, transformed from an old gas station. Again, some interesting cars around. A fun place for dinner.

Tuzigoot is an ancient pueblo, built by Sinagua peoples between 1125 and 1400 AD. Built on top of a hill, it affords great views of where they probably had crops growing in the fields below. It looks odd, since most of the rooms seemed to have no doors. Rooms were accessed by openings in the roofs. I remembered the name Tuzigoot from when our family travelled through here when I was a kid. Such a cool name… how could we resist checking it out again?

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