Sunday, January 30, 2011

Apache Trail and Scenic Route 88

Our day started on Highway 60 east towards Gold Canyon
Another fine Maricopa County day and ideal motorcycling weather.  We were heading east to meet our friends, and Canadian snowbirds from Montreal, who winter in Gold Canyon.
Beautiful countryside at the foot of Superstition Mountain

Nice housing development in Gold Canyon
This area is home to some great topography, attractive and challenging golf courses, and modern RV resorts.  The biggest draw is this wonderful mountain.
Large Saguaro cactus in the foreground of Superstition Mountain.

So, we rode around Gold Canyon enjoying the vistas, the golf courses and getting acquainted with the area.

Great layout
We rode around their RV resort and we were quite impressed with its layout.

We arrived at noon sharp and we're met by great friends.  We had not seen them since their cross Canada 5th wheel trek to the west coast several years ago.
Gerry and Pauline in front of their park model home.

Beautiful place - located next to a green belt.
We shared some good RV hugs, got caught up on our respective lives, took a quick tour of their abode then headed out for lunch.  Gerry and Pauline offered to take us on a drive along the legendary Apache Trail.  For the uninitiated, this is one of Arizona's best scenic drives.  The road winds through the Tonto National Forest to the west and the Superstition Wilderness to the east.

The ghost town of Goldfield.
The Tonto National Forest is the 5th largest in the United States. It's also the most visited 'urban forest' in the country. Saguaro cactus are everywhere.  They are also protected.  Driving north east on Highway 88 took us to a viewpoint overlooking Canyon Lake.  Beautiful countryside.
Too early in the season for rattle Jeanette walks freely in the countryside.  You would not catch her doing that in the heat of spring or summer.  She is kind of shy around snakes....if you get my drift.

This Sonora desert is so green with its many varieties of cacti, trees and lichens.

Truly breathtaking. Jeanette thought this photo of Gerry and I standing on the edge of the canyon would make for a good shot.  I wonder why she kept asking us to move a bit more backwards?  I heard her intimate something about a valid life insurance policy....!

Early bloom....but the desert comes into full bloom in the spring.  We'll miss it this season.
Our gracious hosts then suggested continuing our drive to Tortilla Flat Saloon and Settlement.  We were up for that and more.
Posing for a photo in one of their favourite hiking spots in the area.

Questions, questions and more questions!  Kind of looks like an 'Open Mike' like finger pointing session.
Apologies to our readers:  The reference to 'Open Mike' relates to our Sunday morning coffee group chairman's finger pointing when at home back in White Rock, BC.
A tall tale......or a real one?  You be the judge (double click to zoom in on the photo).
So, a 25 minute drive up the road from Mesa and we had arrived at Tortilla Flats.  This authentic old west stagecoach stop, along scenic Apache Trail, conjured images from scenes out of old John Wayne movies.

We chose to stop in for coffee and we were surrounded by dollars - thousands and thousands of dollars.  Every wall, nook and pillar is covered with authentic US dollar bills and the odd coloured sections with  $$ bills from all corners of the globe; Canada included.

Yep, all dollar bills....and this is just one small area of the entire building.

Foreign bills.

Money, money, money....!

Even an old Calgary Stampede poster.
Well we soaked in the scenery, marvelled at the topographic colours, and - with sunset approaching - started our drive back toward Mesa.
Back country road - best driven with a 4X4....or slowly with a conventional vehicle.

The sun and shade effect.
Oh yes, Tortilla Flat is in desperate need of a plumber to fix this!  It was seriously out of order!

So it was back to Gold Canyon, our motorcycle and our good byes.
Gearing up for the ride back to Mesa - about 13-15 miles west from Gold Canyon.
So, a big thank you to Gerry and Pauline for a wonderful day.  We enjoyed our Sunday lunch too.  See you next winter.

Tomorrow sees Jeanette head out with Ione and Annalia to Fountain Hills while I head toward a local golf course.  Odd as it may seem, the weather girl is predicting possible rain for the rush hour drive on Monday morning.  Once that clears up is when I'll hit the links.

Nice of you to stop by.


  1. While staying at the Lost Dutchman State Park last March we did the Apache Trail as well & just loved it. We left a 'Bayfield Bunch' card on the wall of dollar bills in Tortilla Flats. There ae some really nice hikes up Superstition Mountain. Great views. I remember Gold Canyon because we parked the Motor Home at a mall there while scouting out a place to stay with the Jeep. Luckily we found the last open spot at the Lost Dutchman. Kind of too bad how the urban sprawl has spread right to the base of Superstition Mountain now.

  2. great tour of the Superstition Mountain area!..a good day with friends creating memories is always fun!!

  3. Great pics and tour of the Apache Trail. Like all of us who winter in the southwest, we all seem to end up in Tortilla Flats eventually. Your tour and pics brought back great memories of our visit there a few years ago!