Sunday, March 30, 2014

Along the Homeward Road

Sunday, March 23, 2014: Jacob, Danielle, and Dylan kick back
before repacking on our final morning at the resort.

At last, the final post about our Tucson trip. We made the most of our final leg of the journey, doing some sightseeing on the way home.

The placement of our condo at the resort brought me bittersweet memories.
Our balcony overlooked this studio condo, which happens to be where
Ed and I stayed during our first visit to this resort together in 2011.
Since we share the same birthdate, September 1st, we always went away together
for Labor Day weekend. I do miss the good times we shared, just the two of us.

We stopped for lunch at this rest stop about 12 miles south of Globe, AZ.

On our final morning, I prepared an enormous breakfast of scrambled eggs and chorizo, hash browns, and English muffins. That meant we weren't even close to being hungry for lunch when we had to check out of the resort at noon.

Dylan, Sarah, Danielle, and Jacob after arriving at the rest stop.

So, before we left, we made ourselves huge sandwiches on nutty whole-grain bread, with sliced roast beef, buffalo chicken, and provolone from the deli, and topped with my beloved alfalfa sprouts! Then we placed them in storage containers I'd brought along and put them in the ice chest. We also mixed up some toasted onion dip in a carton of sour cream.

Doing lunch as a preplanned picnic also meant we didn't have to stop anywhere to shop on the Sabbath.

Danielle and Jacob get ready to chow down.

Then we looked for a good place to stop and picnic on the road home. Since we were driving across a windswept, dry, inhospitable desert under an unforgiving sun, it took a while before we were able to stop, around 2pm. I had noticed this rest stop with covered picnic tables on our way to Tucson, so at least I knew it was coming as we passed several unprotected areas.

Danielle, Jacob, and Dylan enjoy the shade.

We enjoyed a nice, long break while visiting and eating our sandwiches, chips and dip, and leftover potato salad. Even under the canopy, we wrestled with the wind, which kept sweeping our bags and containers off the table.

Dylan, Danielle, Jacob, and Sarah prepare to start eating.

This area is high desert and the start of the transition between the deserts of the Tucson area and the forests we call home. The surrounding scenery of distant hills and mountains covered with short, bushy trees and shrubs was pleasant.

Check out the scenery beyond Dylan!

This picture is deceptive. It looks like a nearby hill covered by little bushes.
That's actually on the other side of a canyon, and those are trees taller than a man.

This is the edge of our rest stop, where there's a steep drop to the canyon below.

Looking down into the canyon from the ledge at the top.

Dylan was looking over the edge and suddenly exclaimed, "Oh my gosh! There's a car wreck down there." We all hurried to have a look. There was indeed something large, rectangular, and metal toward the bottom of the canyon, which could have been a car.

Since Dylan took my camera, I had to use my cell phone camera for this shot.
Not too clear, but you can see his head and black-shirted shoulders
above the tall grass just right of the center.
(Remember, you can always double-click photos in this blog to enlarge any picture.)
Dylan grabbed my camera and announced his intention to climb down to the canyon floor and check out the car. I think he was half-hoping there would be rotting corpses inside. I was more worried about him running into rattlesnakes and scorpions.

In the end, Dylan decided not to go all the way to the bottom, but he did get close enough to snap the picture above and confirm that it was indeed a car that was resting on its roof. This car wreck obviously happened a very long time ago. There wasn't much left but the rusting hull.

A view of the Salt River at the bottom of Salt River Canyon.

After packing away our lunch leftovers, we drove on to Globe and stopped for a short, much-needed bathroom break (no facilities at the rest stop). Then we jumped back in our cars and started the final part of our journey, which would lead us down into the bottom of Salt River Canyon and then up and out the other side.

The old, unused bridge over the Salt River, alongside the new bridge.
At far left, you can see Danielle walking along the short wall toward the defunct restrooms.

Salt River Canyon is roughly half-way between Globe and home. We were almost there when Jacob called my cell and asked if we'd mind stopping at the old rest stop at the bottom of the canyon. We were glad to do so. We have traveled this old road many, many times since my children were babies, and this stop holds many memories for us. We have lots of pictures of the kids there as little tykes.
For an example from 13 years ago, click on the link below:
Danielle, Dylan, Jacob, and Sarah at the river's edge.
It's a long, tiring stair climb of hundreds of steps to the bottom and back up,
so this old gal opted to stay topside and click pictures from above.

The Salt River is the division between two Apache reservations: San Carlos to the south, and Fort Apache to the north. This rest stop is in San Carlos territory. Then we cross the bridge into Fort Apache and drive through their extensive lands until we almost reach Show Low, not too far from our own community.

Sarah, Danielle, Jacob, and Dylan wave to the camera.
After I yelled, "Wave to your mom!"

I don't recall what year they built the restrooms here at the bottom of the canyon, but we loved it. It was the perfect place to stop for a bathroom break, especially when you were traveling with three young children.
Unfortunately, the facility was closed and locked up several years ago when federal and state funding was severely cut. We had to find our way around the blockades to get in. There are no "No Trespassing" or "Keep Out" signs, thankfully.

Some dainty little flowers among the wild grasses.

From the bluff where we parked our cars, we could see
what appeared to be a white-water rescue training exercise going on,
over on the Fort Apache side of the Salt River.

After this final adventure, we completed our trip, arriving at home around 5:30. We dropped Sarah off at her house so she could pick up Chris, and then they came over to join us all for our traditional Sunday dinner. Ryan and Shera had prepared a meal for us of--you guessed it-deli sub sandwiches with chips and dip! (As for me, I finished off the last bit of leftover potato salad, but I couldn't eat one bite more for the rest of the night!)

A beautiful shot of the walls of Salt River Canyon, where we still had to drive up and out.

Then we enjoyed watching Sarah's DVD of the new Disney film "Frozen." The perfect way to unwind and conclude a wonderful weekend together!

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