Wow, what a culture shock. Sedona sits within an absolutely stunning environment: Red rock mesas, pinion pines, earth’s energy abounds. Vegas abounds in artificial opulence with energy supplied by the Hoover dam. My head is spinning. Not unlike a roulette wheel. Today’s route followed State Route 89A out of Sedona. In Cottonwood, I cut over to Historic Route 89A which took me through historic downtown Cottonwood and Clarkdale on my way to Jerome, AZ.
Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community, incorporating in 1899. Jerome was once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory. The population peaked at 15,000 in the 1920’s. The Great Depression slowed the mining operation and the claim went to Phelps Dodge, who still holds the claim today. Phelps Dodge Mine closed in 1953. The remaining residents promoted the town as a historic ghost town and in 1967 Jerome was designated a National Historic District by the federal government. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist and artist community with a population of about 450.
From Jerome I headed west, back on State Route 89A, through the Prescott National Forest on my way to Prescott Valley and the town of Prescott. The storms from the previous day had left a dusting of snow at the summit (7,026 ft). It was a winter wonderland. Whilst winding my way across the mountaintop, I couldn’t help but think of what a prefect route this would be for a motorcycle ride.
In Prescott, I programmed the GPS to take me to Las Vegas, my destination for the evening. As usual, the GPS routed me to the interstate. As usual, I over ruled Carmen to follow secondary roads. I’ve named the GPS Carmen. The unit is a Garmin and I’m using it in the car so: Garmin + Car = Carmen. I never cease to amuse myself.
Again, the route was the perfect motorcycle route. Well, up until approximately 10 miles east of Skull Valley, AZ. Yes, that is the actual name. They even have a US Post Office. The 10 miles of roadway prior to Skull Valley has been removed for repaving. This left a gravel/dirt/mud road to travel on. It’s a good thing I hadn’t had the car washed in Sedona. From Skull Valley, back on tarmac, I headed to Congress, AZ and joined Route 93 north to Las Vegas. Carmen hasn’t been updated since her purchase in 2009 so the new bypass around Hoover Dam didn’t show up on her maps which thoroughly confused her. I muted her constant whining of “Recalculating!” Wanting to include a picture of Hoover Dam in this blog, I followed the exit and drove down to the dam. After a brief security inspection of the car, I entered the parking garage. It was there that I was asked if I had a pet with me. I advised the attendant that yes, indeed, I had a dog with me. I was then informed that pets were not allowed in the parking structure; I would have to park on the open lot east of the dam. Pets were also not allowed on the dam and they could not be left unattended in the vehicle per State of Nevada law. Given the summer heat in Las Vegas, I can fully understand the law. This left me with the option of walking the dog on the east parking lot (only) or leaving. I left. I did snap a shot of the dam from a less than optimal vantage point.
This also left me in a quandary as to what to do for dinner. Originally, I had planned to hit one of the named restaurants on the strip whilst Morgan slept in the car. Given the state law, I had to reassess my options. Final plan: I drove down the Las Vegas strip since, to the best of my knowledge, Morgan had never seen it. She still hasn’t. She slept through the entire event. Dinner consisted of drive thru at a local Taco Bell and consumed in my room at the La Quinta Inn & Suites, South Airport. Living on the edge. I am the definition of that phrase.