Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Jerome and Sedona

Odometer 54605
March 24, 2017

New River, AZ

Today our plan is to take a day trip up to Jerome, and if time allows, Sedona, Arizona.  We set out from our home base at our friends house in New River, north of Phoenix.

We select a route that allows us to zoom up Interstate 17 to Camp Verde, where we'll turn west on 260 to Jerome.
As you can see from the annotations on the map, it's only an hour and a half from our base in New River.  What you can't see from the map is that we will also be climbing from our present 2000 foot elevation to a little over 5000 feet.
Today's pleasant high temps in New River will turn to a sunny but relatively chilly (for us) 65 degrees when we reach Jerome.  We'll each pack a sweatshirt and a light jacket so we can layer as necessary.
Today's journey will also take us from the saguaro and brittle bush up to the Juniper and pines- an exciting change of scenery.

Precious minerals were first found in Jerome in 1876, but the town didn't spring up until much later in 1882 when the United Verde Company bought up and consolidated many of the hundreds of small mining claims in the area.

The town of Jerome, Arizona sits high on Cleopatra Hill
We first arrived at the town of Cottonwood which lies at the foot of Cleopatra Hill.  One can see the small town of Jerome nestled on the steep slopes high above.

The road up from Cottonwood to Jerome is steep and winding

Getting to the town site is a little like driving in the Alps, with tight switchback roads and maximum grades.

A model shows all the mining activity below the town site

A model in the Jerome Historic State Park shows the "hidden Jerome"- the miles and miles of shafts and tunnels in the rock below.  The mines operated from 1876 until 1950 in what is considered one of the richest copper ore deposits anywhere on earth.  It is estimated that 33 millions tons of Copper, Gold, Silver, Lead and Zinc were extracted in 74 years of operation.

Narrow and steep streets in "downtown" Jerome
The streets are narrow and winding, the buildings are stair-stepped down the the hillside,  a surprising few public stairs connect the town's levels.    
House sits precariously on hillside
 As a kid growing up in Juneau, Alaska, I was expecting a lot more opportunities to climb up between the switch backing street levels.  Most of the stairs we saw either served only one residence or were gated with no trespassing signs.  
We were very lucky to have visited early in the season, and we did not have to endure the massive crowds that will soon descend on this poor little town of 500 residents.

This hill was once crowded with homes and businesses

In it's hey day the town had a population of 15,000 and all the open areas you see in the photo above would have been filled with residences and business.  The town suffered 4 devastating fires which razed large portions of the down town in the span of only 5 years (1894-1899).  The town also has a major subsidence problem that has seen more than a few homes slide down the face of Cleopatra Hill.

A little traffic can make for grid lock very quickly

Tourism has been the savings of Jerome.  The town had only 100 full time residents in 1953 after the mines shut down, and was struggling to keep afloat.  Jerome received National Historic Landmark Status in 1967 and rest is history.  Today there are 1500 full time residents, and a vibrant business community, with restaurants, hotels, gift and curio shops, wineries and bars.

We had lunch in Jerome and walked the streets, taking pictures,  checking out the shops and local history.   Around 2 PM we  had walked most of the town and decided to drive on up 89A to Sedona.

Sedona is currently home to about 10,000 people and the town is famous for it's beauty and the stunning rock cliff that is it's backdrop.

According to archeologists the first humans lived and hunted here sometime between 11,500 and 9,000 years BC.  In 1995 a clovis projectile point was found here that dates back to that time.

The iconic red cliffs above Sedona, AZ

It is only about 17 miles from Jerome to Sedona, and we could tell that we were getting close when we started to see the beautiful, and iconic, red sandstone cliffs that are the backdrop for the city.

Main road through downtown Sedona, AZ

All the luck we had in Jerome did not hold out for us here in Sedona.  The town was overrun with vacationers, and the string of traffic you see in the left lane was one solid unbroken string of cars extending two miles out of town to the north.

Tourists flock to Sedona's downtown core for music, food, and shopping

We admired the Architecture and the layout of the town.

Beautiful sculptures are everywhere

There were awesome displays of art everywhere you looked.

Cottonwood Canyon
In the end, we made one trip through town to get our bearings and just looking at the 2 mile string of cars pouring in decided to keep on going north up Cottonwood Canyon on the scenic highway towards Flagstaff.  We intersected Interstate 17 just south of Flagstaff and turned back towards Phoenix on the Interstate.  We arrived back at our base camp in New River at 6 PM.

We'll see more of Sedona on another day.

1910 Model T radiator

The next day back in New River, our hosts had another project for for me to do.  The 1910 Model T which had just returned from a two day run with the Horseless Carriage Club in the Superstition Mountains, had lost it's radiator filler neck.
The solder joint had weakened and Ralph had to resort to Gorilla tape to finish out the run.

Wanting a more permanent solution, we decided to have a go at soldering it back on.

Finished soldering of water neck

We had to go to a hardware store and pick up some supplies and do some research on the Internet, before we were feeling like we had  a chance of doing this well.

We cleaned up the old solder with a torch and air jet, cleaned with muriatic acid, heated, fluxed, and tinned both surfaces, before we stuck the neck in place and soldered it on.

Only time will tell if we got it right, but it sure looks good to me.

Tomorrow we are leaving in the motor home for the Prescott area, on our slow meandering way north to Oregon.

Your Traveling Friends,

Jeff and Joan

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