Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day Trippin

Wednesday morning we got up to another beautiful sunny day. The temp when I got up was about 54 degrees but it soon warmed up into the 60’s. The high for today is suppose to be around the low 70’s, perfect for a day spent on the motorcycle.

Max got up around 8:00 and did some morning exercises on her leg while I finished up my coffee routine and trolling the blogs. Our plan for today is to go to IHOP and have breakfast, then head to our bank branch in Chandler Az. and finish closing out some accounts we had back in Indiana. Then we were going to head to Tortilla Flats AZ. via the Apache Trail to have a late lunch early dinner.

Breakfast at IHOP is kind of a big treat for us. We could eat there every morning but our weight and wallets would not like it very much. Back when we lived in our sticks and bricks house we would eat breakfast out every weekend. Since we have been on the road we might eat breakfast out twice a month. After another great pancake breakfast we headed out.

We headed down the interstate to Chandler AZ. to do our banking. While riding I ended up getting some grit in my right eye. I could still see but it was like having a grain of salt grinding around. Very uncomfortable but we continued on.

After the bank, we headed to Apache Junction to pick up the Apache Trail towards Tortilla Flats.

The Apache Trail in Arizona was a stagecoach trail that ran through the Superstition Mountains. It was named the Apache Trail after the Apache Indians who originally used this trail to move through the Superstition Mountains. The current Apache Trail links Apache Junction at the edge of the Greater Phoenix area with Theodore Roosevelt Lake, through the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest.

Today, much of the Apache Trail is paved, and the section east of Apache Junction is known officially as State Route 88. The Trail winds steeply through 40 miles of rugged desert mountains, past deep reservoir lakes like Canyon Lake and Apache Lake. The narrow, winding road is unpaved from just east of the town of Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Dam; there are steep cliff drops and little in the way of safety barriers.


As we rode our way out of Apache Junction we passed some tourist traps of various forms. A ghost town and mine in a town called Goldfield. Supposedly it was a real town and goldmine but now it is full of shops and souvenirs. We let the “Ghosts” rest and passed by and got into the desert mountain scenery of the Superstition Mountains. 

We stopped at a lookout with a view of Weavers Needle. I left Maxine at the overlook and I walked the trail to get a better picture.


Weaver's Needle is a 1,000-foot-high column of rock that forms a distinctive peak visible for many miles around. Weaver's Needle was created when a thick layer of tuff (fused volcanic ash) was heavily eroded, creating the spire as an erosional remnant with a summit elevation of 4553 ft. The peak was named after mountain man Pauline Weaver.

Weaver's Needle has played a significant role in the stories of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. The Needle's shadow reportedly indicates the location of a rich vein of gold, and many treasure hunters have searched for it. The hunt for gold around Weaver's Needle has been pursued by hundreds (possibly thousands) of people. Weaver's Needle has a large split in the side that makes it look like it has two tops, not one. This can only be viewed from the side.

Along the trail I took a few pictures of a Cholla Cactus.



Here is what one looks like when it is blooming in late February. We will be out of the Arizona desert by then but I can imagine how pretty the desert will be when they are all in bloom.


I did not find the Lost Dutchman's gold but I did find this desert flower waiting for me when I came back from the trail.


We got back on the Apache Trail and headed towards Canyon lake. Along the way the canyons and view were spectacular. The speed limit on the road was about 15 mph which allowed me to be able to take in the views as I was driving.



We made it to the Canyon Lake and stopped at the overlook.



Canyon Lake is one of four reservoirs that were formed by the damming of the Salt River. The lake was formed by the Mormon Flat Dam, which was completed in 1925 after two years of construction. Canyon Lake, with a surface area of 950 acres, is the third and smallest of four lakes created along the Salt River. Two others, Apache Lake and Roosevelt Lake are upstream. The fourth, Saguaro Lake, is downstream.

We made our way to Tortilla Flats population 6.  Based on available records Tortilla Flat got its start because of the road construction to Roosevelt Dam in 1904. There was a need for a stagecoach stop for freight haulers on their way to the construction site at Roosevelt Dam and Tortilla Flat served that purpose. Shortly following the construction of the road, Roosevelt Dam became a big tourist attraction. At that point Tortilla Flat was a stage stop for tourists and mail carriers through the 1930s.

The name "Tortilla Flat" originated from the cowboys who used to drive cattle from Globe to Phoenix. While in Phoenix, rancher Mr. Cline and his fellow cowboys celebrated their sale, and, having a little too much to drink, forgot to get supplies while they were in town. They ended up with only flour to make tortillas when they camped at the flat and were stranded.

There is a post office, general store, restaurant, and an Ice cream shop, a small museum.


Now our goal for the day was to eat at the restaurant and saloon.


One of the unique things in this restaurant is that travelers will leave a dollar with there name on it and a date and the owners will put them on the wall. So far there are currencies from 67 different countries.




The bar stools were unique as well


We both ordered a bacon cheese burger and fries and enjoyed the atmosphere.

After our late lunch we headed to the Ice Cream store and we got a small cone. I tried the Prickly Pear Cactus and it tasted like a cross between raspberry and strawberry, very good. Of course, I have never had bad Ice Cream.

On our way back home I took a few pictures from the Tortilla Flats campground. I would love to camp here but there is no way we would try to get our rig up there. Some RV rental companies will not allow anyone to take their RV’s on the Apache Trail. Some brave souls do it but we are not one of them.



View looking down on the campground.


The Apache Trail continued on for another 35 miles but the road becomes gravel and it was closed. I do not think I would have taken the Goldwing on it anyway. We made our way back to Phoenix after a fun filled day. Max did pretty well on the trip and she did not have to do much walking but she was still pretty worn out by the time we got home. We ended up the evening watching a little TV and me trying to wash my eye out from the grit I got in it earlier in the day.

It was nice getting out on the road for a day. Hopefully we will get some more in soon.

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