Actually, it was a travel day yesterday and we started out as we usually do at the Farmhouse restaurant for a hearty breakfast, where there was quite the variety of grape jelly packets to chose from, so we had a jelly tasting. Looks like Smuckers and Knott's had the most flavor with slight tannic notes and a chewy texture. So now you know.
We took the scenic route since we knew it was strictly a travel day. We saw a lot of desert country, sometimes flat wasteland filled with mesquite, palo verde, ocotillo cactus and, once we crossed over the Colorado River into Arizona from California, saguaro, those cactus with the arms.
We passed through a town called Hope and stopped by this amusing sign as we were leaving. Looks like someone forgot their punctuation when they left Hope behind.
We left some of the flatlands and slowly climbed from the desert floor into the red rock mountains. The vistas changed with each turn. Now we were seeing incredible rock formations, building blocks of the gods stacked in crazy patterns, and then were among the pine forests of Ponderosa, and then climbing still higher away from them into scrub again. The road flattened out to pastureland of cattle and horses and small 1930s communities gave way to large rancheros. Then were were climbing once more.
We meandered through Prescott, a lovely little berg, the county seat, with its town center park surrounded by turn-of-the-last-century buildings of shops and bars and other businesses, and headed up into the hills again to Jerome (ghost town turned artist colony--but more on that in a minute). Along that route was a marriage proposal spray-painted onto the asphalt (although we were going the wrong way, so we knew how it turned out ahead of time). I guess that is the best short story going. "Billy, will you marry me?" and then the answer "Yes" and in the other direction, "He said yes no" with the "yes" circled. Don't know if it was a girl asking a guy or a guy asking a guy but we wish Billy and his partner well.
And then we headed into Jerome. Jerome's claim to fame was a copper mine. Its housing for the miners were built along the hillsides of this steep, mile high town. Soon all sorts of shops were built. When the boom ran out in 1953, the town was mostly abandoned and became a semi-ghost town as so many do in the western deserts. I've been to quite a few of them in all states of decay. In the last twenty years the town seems to have been revitalized into quaint little shops, wine tasting rooms, eateries, and all manner of things a toursit would want to see. Amazing how these houses, abutting some derelect structures to remind everyone that this was a ghost town, still cling to the hillsides. Its got steep streets as you can imagine, and good wine!
House of Joy. Used to be a brothel and now enjoys new life as a shop of knick knacks.
What is that feller doing to that tree? Or what is that tree doing to that feller?
We finally wended our way down to Cottonwood where we are staying. I had some excellent Mexican food last night and even more excellent tequila that put me to bed early.
I'll have pictures tomorrow of our event this afternoon. If you are in the area, do come to the Well Red Coyote in Sedona at 2 pm today where I will give an hour-long workshop on researching for the historical novel.