Daily Archives: November 23, 2017

Show Low to Phoenix: Mile 7128.6

This section of the trip was the most spectacular and held the biggest disappointment. To start with the spectacular, Show Low is at 6,345 and Phoenix is at 1,086, that is a big drop, more than 5200 feet, the biggest elevation change of any leg of the trip so we should have expected it would be spectacular but it didn’t occur to me. 

As an aside, the story behind the name, Show Low, is kinda neat. In the 1870s, some versions say 1876, there were two guys – Corydon E. Cooley and Marion Clark – that owned a ranch together in the, now Show Low, area. They started to get on each other’s nerves – I guess, although the ranch was bigger than 1,000 acres – and they agreed that two was one too many and one should leave. To decide who, they settled on a card game to pick the stayer and leaver. But neither was able to win the game so they then decided to just cut the deck of cards with the guy with the lowest card the winner. Cooley drew a two of clubs and Clark moved away. To celebrate, Cooley renamed the place Show Low. End aside. 

Back in Show Low, we had a great free breakfast – the best free breakfast of the trip, by far – and headed downhill into the heat.

Almost as soon as we started driving, we started to drop off of the Colorado Plateau.
Down, down…
into a huge canyon complex made by the Salt River.
I’m not sure what the screens on new cars are called but I’ve seen a road that looked this curvy. The real road, however, was a super drive.
Two bridges span the gorge, one new and one old; both gracefully leaping across the river.
At the bottom, we get into the deciduous tree zone.
Then we head back up, the canyon growing distant and wider.

We start to lose elevation after climbing out of the Salt River Canyon until…
we reach the old mining – first silver than copper – town of Globe which is now a tourist destination much like the Gold Rush Country of the Sierra foothills in California, I suppose.
Next door, Miami AZ, another mining town, is dwarfed by a huge copper smelter and mining tailings.
We drive through gorgeous country, slowly losing elevation. Watching the spectacular country go by, I am reminded that Arizona has some of the most spectacular landscape in the country. Reading about Arizona through stories about Joe Arpaio harassing Americans of Mexican origin, and Jan Brewer snubbing Obama, I had forgotten that.
I thought these rock formations looked like they had heads on posts.
By the time we start seeing the famous saguaro, we are almost at the bottom and then it is a straight shot to Phoenix. (BTW, the color temperature of this shot is the same as the previous shots, the color of the landscape had radically changed.)
We hurry through the outskirts of Phoenix on our way to Taliesin West.

To be continued…