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    Goldfield, Apache Trail and Sedona: adventure in the scenarios of Tex Willer

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Saturday 11 June - 150 Miles

    Heat. Not even eight and it's already too hot. We refuel the tanker ($ 2,35 us $ gal) and leave for Apache Junction - nothing special, apart from the seven / eight lane highways where a 747 would have no problem landing. Az 88, road with only two lanes and a more sparse landscape, on the left we see the signs for ghost town of Goldfield. What today is for the exclusive benefit of the tourist was until forty years ago an authentic mine, surrounded by a real village, whose plan has not changed and which shows its rusty structures, old tracks and wagons scattered everywhere.

    We would like to ride an old steam train that does a short tour nearby, for only $ 8, but the old lady at the station ticket office explains to us, the next train is in over half an hour. Chit chat, where are you from / Spain, where are you going /Apache Trail, he recommends that we have water supplies, and to be sure he gives us two bottles. How kind, we feel like interesting tourists - Spanish is rare and appreciated - and not chickens to pluck.

    We start again in the direction of Tortilla Flat and the road becomes more and more winding, even if still asphalted. Asphalt and double yellow line, both discolored by that sun that pushes the thermometer to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Tortilla Flat officially has six inhabitants, if they had said seven, I would have felt cheated. No petrol, a store with ice, soft drinks, a saloon with a bar and seats like “western saddle”, a gift shop and that's it. I buy a straw hat for $ 10, a little too rodeo-style, but my bald hat says it's beautiful, thanks and is happy.

    The dirt road to follow is now quite narrow and with tole ondulée, that series of corrugations that form on the earthy and sandy bottoms. Years ago some Genoese in Sardinia told me that each car has "its" optimal speed, reached which is as if it were gliding. I doubt, flying 2447 kilos of jeeps is not exactly my job but, at 28 mph, the magic happens… but only for a moment. The possible speed does not exceed 20 mph and our frullojeep works hard with its shock absorbers and we go like this. THE saguari they watch us lined up from the mountain ridges close to the road, like old Indians ready to attack. There are hundreds of them, some very tall, the oldest with many distorted arms and shapes.

    It is the landscape that we know thanks to the pencil of Gian Luigi Bonelli, the father of Tex Willer. It crosses my mind that the next vehicle we will cross (very few in reality) will necessarily be a diligence, it is almost my claim. The side of the road is a cliff, beyond which winds a canyon that ends in a lake, the Apache lake, formed by the construction of a dam. In reality the lake is very large, and on the shores there are many centers of nautical activity, including a tourist port. There are many creeks, strictly dry streams, to overcome which we find several single-lane metal bridges, but here it is really a competition to see who gives way to the other, and always with a smile on his mouth and in his eyes.

    The magic of this winding road is that at every bend it offers a different and unexpected scenario. The yellow of the rocks, the greenish of some ridges, the red oxide of some strands of rock. There are many lay-bys, some with guided concrete walkways to reach panoramic open spaces, and we do them all.
    Recommendations are not to be missed, it is the area of ​​rattlesnakes, i rattlesnakes.

    Suggestion: do you know that there are organized tours from Phoenix that allow you to visit the Apache Trail and Goldmine with a tour guide? Find all the information on this page.

    We are seeing a landscape that is as unimaginable as it is authentic. It was this 22 mile long dirt road a old Apache trail, which the native Indians traveled to overcome the Superstition Mountains. As if every day wants to surpass the previous day in charm and beauty, and there is great. Tomorrow stop in Sedona, "close" only 200 km. I'm starting to think like them, and in fact I'm in their house.

    Small budget on which the Patty also agrees: San Francisco beautiful, but nothing more, beautiful the Golden Gate, the trams, the hills, Pier 39, but definitely too expensive and disappointing for what it asks for compared to what it gives . Monterey's 17 Miles road is beautiful, Santa Barbara is pretty but one day is more than enough; luxurious and intriguing Palm Springs, you begin to smell the desert. Joshua Tree National Park is very beautiful and the Apache Trail is fabulous. Our desire for a solitary journey in naturalistic scenarios is slowly being realized.

    Note: today in Phoenix gasoline at $ 2,16 which, taking into account the servant, is about 50/55 euro cents per liter. See you tomorrow at Sedona's Cathedral Rock.

    Sunday 12 June - 165 Miles

    Sedona destination. A little more than two hundred km traveled in about two hours, the usual mega roads of Phoenix, then a panoramic road, by-way, which introduces you to the climate with coniferous pine forests, and precisely Arauca-rioxylon Arizonicum, with less thick foliage that appears on the two upper thirds of the stem covered with reddish bark, and the characteristic very intense odor. Suddenly the red rocks appear around a curve, the Red Rocks, which characterize Sedona.

    Breathtaking image. I find it hard to force myself to look at the road, really difficult because the rocks are on both sides. At the hotel, the very kind girl solves a small problem with Booking and welcomes us with an unusual kindness. She good sweet squaw - in fact her cute face of hers denotes clear Hopi ancestry.

    The room is ready in the afternoon, he takes our luggage which he will then arrange, and gives us very clear instructions with a map and magazine on how to use the half day: he couldn't do better: we can see the two contiguous valleys, we visit a center commercial in Mexican style of good workmanship, no junk but objects of good craftsmanship, especially the wood carvings and cast bronzes, although not in sand, they are of good workmanship, richness of detail and plastic sense.

    The best, however, is in the evening, when the red rocks ignite and stand out against the green of the conifers and the blue of the sky. The vastness of the spaces appears to us in all majesty, and you feel just a little man. It is an imposing and quiet beauty, the gaze cannot stop, always looking for some escaped detail, some other nuance to discover.

    Suggestion: do you want to know more about these beautiful natural landscapes? Read our guide on what to see in Sedona.

    We have seen canyons, streams, bridges, rocks of all colors, breathed the balm of boundless pine forests, but at the end of the day the stomach claims its due. Dinner at the Mexican restaurant, where they serve grilled filet mignon and their dish with excellent sirloin cooked with spices, vegetables and black beans. Captivating aroma, bright colors and very tender and tasty meats, cooked to perfection and refined dishes. Both exquisite, but the hunger was so great that we didn't photograph them, imagine you ...

    We go back to the room and…. air conditioning at full throttle, huge room with fireplace… on!
    Black beans and… Academy of F'Arts University! What the hell did they go to the moon to do if they turn on the fireplace and air conditioning? Well ...

    Tomorrow direction Page, via Az 179 up to Flagstaff, panoramic road, estimated time four hours except for traffic and photo stops.

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