Feb 202020

We spent eight days at the Superstition Springs La Quinta in Mesa, Arizona while we were in town to celebrate Terry’s parents’ birthdays, which included a family reunion with relatives coming in from as far away as New York for the festivities.

We also spent some time browsing the local antique shops, me looking for badges to add to my collection, and Terry looking for Aladdin lamps. It’s always buyer beware at antique shops, and while most of them are reputable, there are some out there that will sell you anything, claiming it’s old and valuable while in truth it’s crap or a reproduction. I see a lot of “Old West” badges that are cheap junk you can order online by the dozens for a couple of bucks apiece, but some shops ask $25 or more for them.

One shop we visited had these two revolvers, which the vendor selling them claims are a matched pair of original 1851 Navy Colts, not reproductions. I was born at night, but not last night. You’d have to add some more zeros to get to the price of two real Colt’s like this. Not to mention that the word Colt is spelled Cotl on them! He said that the typo made them even more rare!

After stopping at Terry’s parents’ for a quick lunch and last round of goodbyes on Monday, we headed east on U.S. Highway 60. Most of the way to Globe it is a nice two-lane highway through the high desert.
As you climb higher the road gets curvier, but nothing even a big RV can’t handle. There are frequent passing lanes going in both directions.

We passed through the Queen Creek Tunnel and several beautiful rock formations on both sides of the highway. Over the many years and the many, many times we have driven this route, we have seen a lot of rock climbers doing their thing and wondered why. I mean, even if you get to the top without killing yourself, you still have to climb back down. What’s the point?

We made a potty stop in Globe, 52 miles into our trip, and then the highway turned and we began the climb toward the high country. As we drove along, the terrain started to change and scrub oak and cedar trees replaced the desert cacti. Much of this is four-lane highway, all good road.

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.

It’s 47 miles from the river at the bottom of the canyon into 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 activities 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 love the Rim Country. It is also the setting for my Big Lake mystery series.

We arrived about 4:30, checked into our hotel, then drove to my daughter Tiffany’s place. It is a lot colder here than down in the Valley of the Sun. It’s several thousand feet higher in elevation here and a lot of flatlanders have problems adjusting to the elevation. Since we live at about ten feet above sea level back home in Florida, I guess we are now official flatlanders, too. But it’s not the elevation that started kicking my butt once we arrived, it’s a nasty cold. I’ve been sucking down cold meds since we arrived, and hopefully I’ll start to come out the other side soon. As for Terry, she is always stoic, but does allude to maybe having a headache.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Burning, the sixth book in my Big Lake Mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – I wonder if clouds ever look down and say, “Hey, look. That one is shaped like an idiot!”

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “It’s Not The Elevation, It’s The Cold”

  1. That’s beautiful, haven’t been to that part of Arizona yet.

  2. Tara Milliken

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