{ Saturday, March 12, 2005 }

Apache Trail.

My boss is really into suggesting day trips for me to go on. I like to think it's because he wants me to like Arizona so I will stay here and work for him. Anyway, today Steady and I decided to try one.

I did a poor job pitching the idea, "There will be wildflowers. And a dirt road for twenty-some miles. And lakes. And flowers." For some reason, my boyfriend didn't think that sounded like a rocking good time. He's so weird.

I offered to go alone, and then he agreed to go with me. It took us another forty-five minutes to stop reading about the trip and get motivated. Then we had to clean out my car because I didn't think we should spend all day in a messy car.

Then we stopped at the grocery and dithered about fruit and soda and stuff. Ultimately, just four short hours after I said "Today I'm gonna drive the Apache Trail.", we were on our way.

Because I am a joy to be trapped in an automobile with, especially when I am driving, I pointed it out everytime we saw a new variety or color of flower while driving on the freeway. I was pretty keyed up. Steady was just holding out hope that we could find a restaurant on the water of one of these lakes.

So, we drove, and the whole thing was very spectacular.

A short distance up the road on the right-hand side is located the entrance to Lost Dutchman State Park. This park was established in 1967 because of the popularity of Superstition Mountain. This giant monolith towers some three thousand feet with its cliffs and spires above the Lost Dutchman State Park.

I think I said "Wow, that's a serious rock" when we passed Superstition Mountain...

We round down and up and around. We got to Canyon Lake. We stopped at the overlook and checked it out. Then down the hill and over the one lane bridge. We did not stop in Tortilla Flat, because it looked like a madhouse.

And, really, if there's one thing you don't want to do, it's be stuck with me in a crowd. I don't like them. I really, really don't like them when I'm in a new place. So, we kept right on driving, Steady assuring me that he wasn't hungry yet.

The pavement ends about four and three tenths of a mile from Mesquite Creek. The Arizona Department of Transportation has been experimenting with some soil emulsions on portions of the road beyond this point. About seven miles from Tortilla Flat you will see a sign marked Fish Creek Hill. This is certainly one of the most famous hills to automotive testing in the Southwest. Since 1906 cars have been tested on Fish Creek Hill because of its steep grade. The roadway going down Fish Creek Hill has a ten percent grade. Today professional filmmakers and photographers still use Fish Creek Hill for their work.

Steady had been complaining of some degree of motion sickness for awhile by the time the pavement ended. (Perhaps this is why he told me he wasn't hungry even though we hadn't eaten all day and it was like three pm) I am pretty accustomed to my passengers getting a little nauseous. That does happen to me a lot.

We slowed down an awfully lot once the pavement ended. The trip continued to be spectacular, only now it was spectacular with many fewer vehicles and thousand foot drops off the edge of the road.

Take a few minutes and drive down to the Apache Lake Marina. You can rent boats and even take time for lunch or supper at the restaurant. Fishing is great in Apache Lake. The lake is known for its Small Mouth bass.

I just want to point out that the road down to this marina appeared to be a straight shot down a cliff. We did not go down there looking for our meal on the water. We continued on down the not-quite-paved road.

On April 8, 1927, one month before Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic Ocean, an Italian pilot and his crew landed on Roosevelt Lake in a seaplane named the Santa Maria. They had flown all the way from Italy across the Atlantic Ocean. Commander Francesco de Pinedo had planned to circumnavigate the globe in 1927, but tragedy struck at Roosevelt Lake. A carelessly tossed cigarette ignited gasoline which destroyed De Pinedo's aircraft at Hotel Point on Roosevelt Lake.

You should see the way Steady looks at me when he sees me throwing a cigarette out the window. He made a point of reading this passage to me and reminding me that this is why we're extra careful in cigarettes in the desert. This was followed by reminscing about all the times his hometown nearly burnt down.

I need an ashtray for my car. Maybe I'll get one for my birthday.

We tried to stop at the Tonto National Monument, but it had closed 45 minutes earlier. No Cliff Dwellings for us. But the view from the road back down to the main road was just amazing.

Then, since we were at our last and largest lake, we attempted to find dinner. "We need a sign with a spoon and fork." Our first attempt brought us to Ma's. Ma's was not near the lake and Ma did not take credit cards (because we didn't bother to get cash before we left).

We ended up at what I think was called The Roosevelt Lake Resort, Trailer Park and Restaurant. It was everything you ever dreamed of. All smoking section, all the time. Terrible service. Poor Steady asked for Barbeque sauce for his food and she said she'd see what she can do. She didn't come back to the table til we were finished eating. The request was never mentioned again.

So, we had our nice $11 dinner next to the water. (at this point the sun was very low and the windows on the water faced west. So we were just sitting next to the water, but with a nice roman shade over the window.)

I feel like this is getting very long. We headed back to Phoenix along the road Em and I took when we were trying to find the stars. I'd never seen it in the daytime and oh my goodness, but it's amazing to look at.

It got dark as we waited in the traffic from the Renessance Fair. So, after a six hour journey, we made it back to my little apartment. We both concluded it had a been a very nice day. It's now on the agenda for Mom and the stepfather while they're here.

posted by mary ann 10:14 PM