2014 Great Circle Tour travel blog

Today's route

Car parts animals at the Springerville Heritage Museum

Madonna of the Trails in Springerville, AZ

It's windy along this road - Weights to prevent wires from swinging?

US 60 undulating through eastern Arizona

Newly weds traveling US 60

Wood carving managerie near Payson, AZ

Running down hill out of Payson through the Tonto National Forest

I wonder if this elk crossing was one of the bright ideas...

Another downhill run

Picking up the trash 4-wheelin' style

Downhill toward Phoenix

Land of the saguaro

This one was waving hello to us

Some of the wildflowers seen on the way into Phoenix

We visited Taliesen West in 2005 before Winnie

Giant metal dinosaur at antique shop - appears to be closed &...

Fighting dinosaurs - it's a good thing they are behind bars

Neighbors at Desert Cypress RV and Mobile Home Park in Wickenburg, AZ

Winnie resting for the night at Desert Cypress


Today’s route followed US 60 for most of the day. We started in the high desert (~7,000 ft elevation) of eastern Arizona and transitioned to the Ponderosa Pine forests of the White Mountains east of Phoenix. Along the way it seemed that we were continuously descending 6% grades and then climbing back to 6 or 7,000 ft. The weather was nice in the White Mountains, but as we made the final descent to the Valley of the Sun where Phoenix is located the temperature climbed into the 90’s. Between the temperature and driving west into the setting sun, it put a strain on Winnie’s AC. When we passed through the northern suburbs of Phoenix, it was approaching afternoon drive time for the commuters making the drive slower and hotter.

In Springerville at the start of our route today we saw a Madonna of the Trail Monument. In 1911, the Daughters of the American Revolution established a national committee known as the National Old Trails Road Committee whose work was to establish the Old Trails Road as a great National Memorial Highway. There were 12 of statues which have been placed along the road across the country from Bethesda, MD to Upland, CA. The monuments were erected by state organizations of the Daughters of the American Revolution in each of the twelve states through which the National Old Trails Road passes. The effort was culminated the week of April 19, 1929, with the twelfth monument dedication at Bethesda. In our travels over the last 5 years, we have seen 5 of the 12 including this one in Springerville. This Madonna of the Trail Monument was the seventh dedicated of the twelve on September 29, 1928. The statue was originally placed at a location where the National Road intersects the Coronado Trail. It has since been moved from the original site to the center of town on Main Street.

The spring wildflowers are in bloom along the highways. I had to stop along the way to get pictures. Yellows and oranges seemed to dominate, but I haven’t had time to identify what I was looking at except for the prickly pear cactus which had deep pink blooms. Coming out of the White Mountains, Saguaro cactus began to dominate the hillsides. It is native to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northern Mexico. Saguaros live a long time. They may not grow their first side arm until they are between 75-100 years of age. Some never grow one at all and are called a spear. The Saguaro flower is the state flower of Arizona, but we didn’t see any in bloom.

We ended the day in Wickenburg, AZ at the Desert Cypress RV and Mobile Home Resort. It’s a pretty nice place with a lot of fulltime and winter residents. Ringo spent the day under the dashboard throughout our trip today. No amount of coaxing by Sue would get him out. After we got settled in at Desert Cypress, I tried to get Ringo out from under the dashboard. Since we couldn’t reach him from the underside, I tried to take apart the passenger’s side of the dashboard. In front of the passengers seat, there is a slide out desk and glove compartment. I thought I might be able to get right to Ringo if I removed the screws holding the desk and glove compartment in place. No luck, it was solid underneath. As I was putting the screws back with the power drill, I saw a black streak shoot past me. Ringo had escaped and ran to the bedroom. It appeared that he exited from the driver’s side where all of the ducts and wiring is located. He seems to be none the worse for wear.

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