Yesterday me and my better half went on a road trip to nowhereland in Southern Arizona. Our original plans were to go to the Grand Canyon and stay overnight, but a winter storm put the kabash on that idea.
We ate at a restaurant and instead followed another path on the State Route 77 and then looped back onto 79 back to Tucson. This was an incredibly beautiful drive and a "must see" for people.
One of the things that shocked me was the tiny village of Winkelman. We drove into the city and it felt like we were entering the fantastical world from Lord of the Rings. The pic above shows the tower in Mordor(okay maybe it's just a HUGE chimney for copper refinement but one can imagine:).
Cold, misty, and rainy.....we found random plants all mixed together at this park. This above pic shows the color tone for most of the day. The state right now is this brown, washed, grey color. I am really looking forward to seeing green again in about a month.
I don't know who plays in this scary looking park, but it's really interesting. There is a river....and yes, I said river, not a wash, that runs through these little villages along this mountain range. We took this beautiful roadtrip through Tonto National Park and found these tiny villages that were collapsing, or already collapsed like the village of Mustang. I believe we saw an operating Circle K and Medical Clinic. A lot of homes off the highway were boarded up....many buildings had broken windows and wooden paneling over the doors. I forgot that there are people in our own country fighting to survive. There were some really nice homes here and there, but for the most part, this was poverty outside of Tucson. I cannot believe that I have never taken this route before. So what you'll see on this road trip is Mother Nature at her finest with human settlements adding a scratch here and there. There's also a lot of history in these villages and I am going back again on nicer days to explore them over the summer. A beautiful forest of trees runs as far as the eye can see along this river area and I want to explore this more. Simply put....I'm hooked. People who love riding motorcyles....you need to take this route! Go from Tucson on Oracle all the way until you reach Globe. Spend a night anywhere along the route....do some hiking.....and head over to route 79 from Globe back to Tucson OR continue the magic from Globe to the White Mountains. Arizona is amazing, but you'll have to leave our cities to see the great natural artwork. One more thing, on route 60/79, I discovered a world famous arboretum near Globe called the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. It was closed by the time we got there, but I'll be back there soon.
We stopped at Winkelman to gas up at $3.45 cents a gallon and found some locals shopping at this gas station. It was really wonderful outside and I snapped a lot of shots from this cool little town. However, walking inside for a soda, I noticed an older man hitting on a younger man filling up his tea. I'm sorry.....I can't help it. I admit....I'm fascinated by people. The clerk looked annoyed and we enjoyed the free entertainment. There definitely is a unique culture in this part of the desert and I am extremely fascinated and want to know more. Why are the villages falling apart? Who lives in this beautiful region? How do people view Tucsonans? I'm imagining "annoying" as their final answer:) I don't know why I've never gone this route but it requires further investigation. Winkelman has about 2500 people and they must be spread out over this larger area. This town is first and the best kept from the other villages that follow. We drove past Oracle and San Manuel.....all situated in some amazing and breathtaking scenery.
So while I didn't take pictures of the landscape......I will in future investigations and reports. There were too many clouds all over the place.
On the way back home, I snapped this shot as the sky cleared up a bit. If you visit, have some fun and explore our Arizona Highways:) Until next time.....