We left Santa Fe RV Resort in Apache Junction, Arizona about 10 yesterday morning for the 144 mile trip to our old hometown of Show Low, in the White Mountains. But the difference between the two places would make you think you were in different parts of the country.
We started out in the desert, following U.S. Highway 60 east past rugged mountains and hillsides covered with saguaros.
After passing through the Queen Creek Tunnel, the highway goes past some awesome rock formations. It’s not unusual to see people climbing the sheer rock faces along here.
52 miles into our trip, the highway turned north in Globe and we began the climb toward the high country. As we moved along the terrain started to change and scrub oak and cedar trees replaced the desert cacti.
About 35 miles north of Globe we started the five mile descent down into the Salt River Canyon. Folks here in Arizona call this the “other” Grand Canyon. The scenery is awesome, with amazing multi-colored rock formations, but you have to be careful because the road is a series of switchbacks and hairpin curves, some with a 15 mph speed limit. As long as you gear down at the top and pay attention it is no problem in a big rig, but in my time publishing the weekly newspaper in the White Mountains I covered a lot of fatal accidents in the canyon.
There are plenty of pullouts and viewpoints on both sides of the canyon. Take the time to get out and enjoy the views. If you’re lucky you may spot an elusive mountain goat or bighorn sheep.
I think some of the best rock formations are on the uphill climb heading north.
It’s 47 miles from the river at the bottom of the canyon to Show Low, climbing most of the way. Before long you enter a vast Ponderosa pine forest that stretches for over 100 miles across central Arizona.
This is the Mogollon Rim, where there are dozens of lakes, and more outdoor activites than you could ever want. There are herds of elk and deer, black bear, mountain lion, and the trout fishing is excellent. Sunrise Ski Park on the White Mountain Apache Reservation draws powder lovers from across the Southwest, and cross country skiers, hikers, and kayakers will love the Rim Country.
Most of U.S. 60 between the Salt River Canyon is two lane road, with frequent passing zones. There are a few dips along part of the route to keep you awake, but it’s a good road all the way from Apache Junction to Show Low.
We arrived at the Elks Lodge about 1:30 and got settled into a pull through full hookup site in their campground. I hadn’t even finished leveling up the Winnebago before my daughter Tiffany showed up to shower us with kisses. It sure was good to see her! Granddaughters Hailey and Destiny are with their dad for a couple of days, so we won’t get to see them until Wednesday. I bet there will be even more hugs and kisses then!
Congratulations to Mollie Folmar, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Highland Passage by J.L. Jarvis. We had 80 entries this time around. Stay tuned, because a new contest starts soon.
Thought For the Day – Talk is cheap unless it involves your ex and her lawyer.