The last time we were in Arizona was 30+ years ago when we drove across the country. Our son is attending grad school in Tucson, so we have a great reason to revisit the desert state once again.
First we flew to Tucson, picked up our son, drove north to Sedona to visit the breathtaking red mountains. From there, we drove to Jerome, an old copper mining town, and then back to Tucson. It's really quite surprising to see how different the vegetation is in each area.
Tucson is definitely the home of the Saguaro cactus. They are everywhere . . . thousands of them . . . standing tall. It's amazing that anything, plant or animal could live in that scorching desert, but both have found a way to survive and thrive.
This little guy was photographed at the Desert Museum, where they have exhibits of 300+ desert animals.
Sedona is as gorgeous as I hoped it would be. The mountains get their red color from a high concentration of iron. They have some wonderful hiking trails that take you to the base of the mountains. We also went on a jeep ride through the back country. It was called an "Adventure Ride" for a good reason! Fortunately, the woman driver was amazing; she knew the trails like the back of her hand.
No Saguaro cactus here . . . their main cactus is the Prickly Pear. You really need to be careful where you walked in Arizona, there are pickers everywhere.
Our hotel, Sedona Rouge, was also gorgeous. Beautiful fountains, private patio, pool, spa, handmade lemon-mint soap. I would definitely recommend it.
Jerome couldn't have been more different than Sedona. This mountain town was built because copper was discovered. There were a lot of jobs and money to be made. In its heyday, Jerome was the 4th largest city in Arizona. Once the mine closed, the population dropped from 15,000 to 100 residents, and basically became a ghost town.
Around 500 people live in Jerome now. Quite a few of the buildings remain in various stages of renovation or disrepair. Several shells remain that add an authentic flavor to the odd ghost town.
I'm not sure what is holding this facade upright, but it makes an very interesting entrance way to a glass blowers studio.
The remains of this bank building displays an odd assortment of items like an outhouse, toilet, wheel barrel, and sink. People stand above the building, and throw coins, trying to hit the various vessels. It reminded me of a carnival game, without the prizes!
Here's a photo of a sign that made me laugh out loud. Perhaps it was originally posted in the very popular brothel.
All in all, we had a lot of fun in the desert . . . but there's no place like home!