Day 29-32 Camp Verde, AZ   Leave a comment

Arriving in Camp Verde, our last stop, we fed our guests pulled pork and chili.

Finishing up the evening with bingo and rock races.

Rock #5 wasn’t doing so well, so Mr. Phil had to coax it a little.

AND he had to point out to his wife, Sue, that she was in the wrong room!

We toured the Tuzigood Indian Ruins, Montezuma Castle, and museum. As we walked up to the ruins (Tuzigood), it was dejevue for Bill and I. In 2001 we visited the ruins with Robby. Tuzigoot (Apache for “crooked water”) is the remnant of a Southern Sinagua village built between 1125 and 1400. It crowns the summit of a long ridge that rises 120 feet above the Verde Valley. The original pueblo was 2 stories high in places, with 77 ground-floor rooms.

Southern Sinagua farmers began building this five-story, 20 room dwelling early in the 1100s. It stands in a cliff recess 100 feet above the valley.

The limestone at Montezuma Castle is fairly soft and splits unevenly. Yet the Castle was so well built that it has stood for over 600 years and is one of the best-preserved prehistoric structures in the Southwest.

Tuzigood and Montezuma Castle villages reached their maximum size in the 1300s and were occupied for another century. No one knows why they abandoned their pueblos by the early 1400s.

We made it to the once booming copper mining town of Jerome in time for lunch. It was the largest copper mine in Arizona, producing 3 million pounds of copper per month! Jerome, founded in 1876, once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory, is now considered a ghost town with a little over 300 population, whereas in 1920s they had 15,000 and dropping to less than 5,000 in the 1930s.

Jerome is a really unique town. It is so full of history and memories, which I’ll talk about later, for so many people. A walk up and down Main Street will find you in a lot of unique shops.

The last time we were in Jerome (2009), we ran into one of the locals, Rosalie Palacios (age 88), who was born in Jerome and was back visiting and reminiscing with her cousin who also was born in Jerome. We first met her at one of the shops and then later found her looking at one of the older houses, which we thought was her grandmother’s, but found out it was the bordello that was across the street from her grandmothers.

She told us of the mine collapse which destroyed some of the town, including her grandmother’s house. It was a great feeling to watch as she looked on to where the steps of her grandmother’s house still stand remembering how her grandmother used to sit on the steps.

She had a 3 bedroom house and raised I think it was 15 kids. She talked about how hard she worked running a boarding house. Next door was the bowling alley, across the street was the swimming pool, and up the street was a grocery store. The family that owned the store lived upstairs, where you see the 3 big windows. What a view they must have had.

In 1936 an enormous charge of dynamite (260,000 pounds) was set off – equal to 6 freight car loads – and the surface began to shift. Tunnels under the town, some as deep as 4,800 feet below the surface, began to crack. The shifting, combined with the 30 degree incline of the mountainside, pulled a number of buildings down the slope, and entire sections of the business district collapsed or slid downhill. Jerome’s famous “Sliding Jail” moved downhill 225 feet and sat in the middle of Hull Avenue until a bulldozer moved it to its final resting place across the road from its original site, with one of the beds still intact. There are still 88 miles of tunnels under the town, and there are four geological faults in the area.

Rosalie told us that her grandmother spent the night in the jail one time and when asked why, she told us that she used to grow beautiful pots of plants. Not only did she think her plants were pretty, but she used them for medicinal purposes. Well, it turned out that those beautiful plants were marijuana, unbeknownst to her.

She also pointed out what they call the “ammo house,” which is a building made from dynamite cases from the mining operations. It started out as a church, then someone bought it as a residence, and now I believe it is empty.

We found that this town used to thrive on prostitution because there were so many single men who worked in the mines. Rosalie said that Jerome was a very happy, happy city. As we walked up past the shops, we stumbled across “husband alley.” This was the back entrance of the “cribs” so that the patrons could come and go without being noticed. The girls who worked in the “cribs” were one step above a “street walker.” Below is what the cribs looked like.

We visited the Mining Museum, which was very interesting and gave us a lot of history about the town. There was even a Chinese washing machine.

Crank and gear mechanisms were used to agitate and spin the laundry.

As we drove out of town, we passed the Jerome Grand Hotel. The building was built in 1926 as a hospital and operated until 1950. The building was vacant for almost 45 years and opened as the Grand Hotel in 1996. At a one mile elevation, the panoramic views of the Verde Valley and Sedona Red Rocks are breathtaking


At the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook we were able to enjoy the view as well as check out the Native American’s selling their jewelry and artwork.

We headed off to the beautiful town of Sedona, where we saw the Bell Tower

We drove up to the airport mesa overlook


On our free day, we headed to Sedona,

stopping at the V-V Petroglyph Site, which consisted of 3 HUGE rocks full of petroglyphs. There were more petroglyphs on these rocks than we have seen in all the trips combined this summer. These were a little different though. The drawings all seemed to be connected. I think the author was writing in cursive.

We also stopped at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, built in 1956, known for the unique architecture, which was considered quite bold and daring in the 1950s. Just across the street from the chapel is this HUGE estate, so of course we took a lot of photos of it.

We later found that we think it may be owned by Nicholas Cage, but no one is really sure. They have been building it for 4 years, it still is not complete and in 2009 had been for sale for the last 2 years.

On our way out of Sedona, we saw a unique looking truck, so we stopped to take a picture. We found out it was used in the movie,“Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.”

Our farewell dinner was held at the Cliff Castle Casino Lodge. We had a nice private room and great food. The service could not have been better. At our farewell dinners, each couple is responsible for telling the funniest and most memorable story from the trip. We always enjoy hearing what everyone has to say and most of the time, a lot of things, which have been forgotten are remembered. We were surprised that most of the guests enjoyed the dome train ride to the South Rim. We were in 2 dome trains. We had a blast in our car, but it seems that the guests in the “other” car had just as much fun, if not more.

We held our hitch up breakfast the next morning so that we could say our goodbyes and send them off with a well-rounded meal. Boy the goodbyes are difficult. Every group is special, but this was one was extra special because it was our first trip as wagonmasters and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Bill and I want to especially thank Phil & Sue, who are seasoned wagonmasters, for choosing to be our tailgunners and making our job sooooo much easier. They are the best teachers we’ve ever had. We would also like to thank Ted and Linda for all their help as trainees and know that they will be an asset to Adventure Caravans.


Posted September 30, 2013 by carolnbill in Travel

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