A Touch of Arizona
Driving through the desert....
We set out from Texas on Monday morning to start our trek through the desert. This was going to be the longest driving stint of the trip; a simple 16 hours to Phoenix. We decided to drive 12 hours to Las Cruces, New Mexico and then another four the next day to Arizona. Whenever people ask me what my favorite part of the trip is I always say watching the scenery change and it is exactly because of drives like this one.
12 hours is a long time to drive through one state but everything is bigger in Texas and I guess that means the drives too. Houston is right on the water so they have a temperate climate with lots of green. Heading west that all changes very dramatically. We started to see less and less plants and more and more of... nothing. Lots of nothing. For hundreds of miles.
It was really cool to watch everything change. The oddest part, we thought, was the lack of "proper" cacti. You know, the ones with arms that always wear sombreros in the cartoons. We actually didn't see a single one until Tucson. Must be only an Arizona thing. We had a contest going on who could find the first one. Rose won because I was being a safe driver. Solid excuse for losing if you ask me. But once we found one they didn't stop until we left the state again.
Anyways, we didn't really do anything but sleep in Las Cruces so there isn't much to tell about that. Once we hit Arizona it changed from the nothingness of the Texan desert to the rocky mountainous terrain that we both love so much.
I don't know what it is but both Rose and I find the South West to be about the coolest place in the country. It makes for a really nice (and quick) drive.
In Arizona we were staying with some of Rose's relatives. Her uncle John and Aunt Marcia. We got to their house around 4 or 5 and her uncle John was making dinner for us. He was showing off his brick oven stove by making us homemade pizza. Sorry there aren't any pictures of it. It didn't really last long enough to take any. You'll just have to believe me that it looked and tasted amazing.
We also met our buddy for the next few days Ace.
"Acey Baby!" -Rose
He loved to go swimming with us every day. Including standing up in the shallow end like a person and scratching his back on the side which was easily one of the most entertaining things I have ever seen.
For our first full day in Arizona we decided to take on downtown Phoenix and visit John and Marcia's frozen yogurt shop "A Touch of Yogurt" to take some pictures for them. If you're ever in Phoenix be sure to stop by. It is quite delightful. They brought some home for us every night!
Of course we also got some free yogurt as payment for taking pictures for them. That officially makes us professionals right?
After that we went to Tempe, a little town about 20 minutes outside of Phoenix. It was a college town with tons of restaurants and shopping. The only downside was that it was 105 degrees... Not really shocking for Arizona in the summer. We walked around for a while and went shopping in a couple stores before deciding it was too hot. So we went back to the pool and drank until dinner time (Steak and potatoes). It was a good day.
A cool fountain in Tempe
For our last day in Arizona I wanted to go to a restaurant that I remembered from when I visited as a kid. I had to do some research to find it because all I remembered is that we took a long dirt trail to get there, the population of the town was 6 people, and the chili cheeseburger was amazing; lots to go off of. After some googling I found it: Tortilla Flats.
To get to my cheeseburger we had to drive on the Apache Trail. It is an old trading trail that winds around for about 20 miles through the Superstition Mountains, rocks, and cliffs circling Canyon Lake. It was an amazing drive. It didn't feel like 20 miles at all.
Coming down a steep hill on the trail you come into Tortilla Flats where, yes, the population is officially 6. It is just a little old west storefront with the restaurant and gift shop. The interior of the restaurant is covered in dollar bills decorated by the travelers that come through. It is a really cool place and yes, the burger was as amazing as I remembered. It takes a special burger for me to remember it from when I was a kid.
We left our mark
After the 20 mile dirt trek back to the main road we stopped at a "ghost town" on the way back to the house. I use apostrophes because all of the "ghost towns" here are the busiest places in Arizona. There were always tons of tourists and shops in them. I don't quite think it's fair to call them real ghost towns. They definitely look cool though.
On the way back to the house we stopped at a REAL ghost town called Cave Creek. It's not really a ghost town. It's just a little tourist town just down the road from where we were staying with Rose's aunt and uncle but nobody was there. It was almost creepy. The only people there were the shop owners. There weren't any customers or tourists at all. It was probably too hot for them. Hardcore adventurers only!
We only stayed there for a short time before heading back to the house for our daily swim with Ace. We ended the night by having our last home-cooked meal in Arizona (BBQ chicken and ribs), frozen yogurt for dessert (not desert we've had enough of that for one day), and our first game of chess since we started the trip. All in all a wonderful pit stop in the desert. Thanks to John and Marcia (and Ace of course) for being great hosts! We had a blast.
1/16/2023 06:15:58 am
I thoroughly enjoyed this blog, thanks for sharing.
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He likes pizza.