Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Road Trips in Review (Part Two)

I don't know why we picked a road trip to Mobile and Gila Bend in the dead of summer, but we did.  We didn't want to go far and both places are nearby.  We first stopped at the trailer park which was the subject of two stories in our Abandoned Places: Abandoned Memories book.  It had been a couple of years since I have seen the place and it was so different.  The last time there were three trailers standing and swing set with a slide.  This time there was one shell of a trailer standing and a huge pile or rubble.  We did manage to take lots of pictures but it was too hot to sift through the mess and see if there were anything worth taking.

After the trailer park, we went back to the burnt down house.  The house was still there but less of it was standing.  The barn in the back looked even more demolished.  The walls had fallen and were lying on the ground.  All that was left was the skeletal remains.

Of course we couldn't go to Gila Bend without dropping by the abandoned adobe motel along the highway.  This is another place featured in our Abandoned Places book.  It pretty much looked the same on the outside.  However, some of the rooms looked lived in as if a squatters may have just made their home there.  The building is still an amazing place to take pictures.  After stopping off there, we cruised around Gila Bend and found more things to take pictures of.  The hot weather didn't spoil this trip.

The trip to Sedona we took this month was more than a road trip, it was a vacation!  The last time we were in Sedona, it was snowing.  We decided to stop in Mayer to see the cemetery.  It was covered with snow when I saw it last.  We took lots of pictures, cruised around the tiny town, and had a wonderful lunch at a local deli.

We had a great time in Sedona.  We went shopping at the quaint stores, sat by the creek, and hit the tourists spots.  The second night and while looking for a great spot to take pictures of the sunset, we got lost in the subdivision.  We drove around for hours looking for a way to get out.  While searching for the exit, we saw a couple of deer and javelina. We also found a couple of sweet spots to take pictures of the amazing sunset.

We didn't take a trip this month.  We both had lots of other things going on.  We were working hard to get the Zombie Housewives of the 1960s book out.  Also, Sharon turned 50 this month and we had to celebrate.

Since my hubby and I were getting ready to move at the end of the month, Sharon and I decided to go to Schnepf's Farm.  This is becoming a tradition for us.  We enjoyed the festivities, pumpkin patch and spooky corn maze.  A good time was had by all.

We picked this month to revisit some of the abandoned places we hadn't seen in a couple of years.  We chose the Casa Grande area because we found many interesting places to photograph.  Besides, I wanted to see the Domes again.  We cruised around downtown Casa Grande to check it out.  On all our visits to this city, we never saw the center of town.  After that, we headed to the Domes.  When we got there, a car full of people were sitting along side the road.  Another car pulled up beside us with the owners inside.  He said these people rented the Domes for the day and we could rent it as well if we were interested.  Sharon got his info while I snapped a couple of pictures.  It was off to the big tin warehouse where we once took many pictures of this massive empty structure. To our amazement, it was gone.  All that was left was the cement foundation.

While driving around, we came across the hotel that we were able to not only get pictures of the outside but the inside as well.  We were just at the place nine months earlier and now the chain link fence was back around the perimeter of the place.  We decided to stop and take pictures anyway.  After that, we drove all over the area and found many other interesting sites to photograph.  We even decided to check out the slaughter house to see if anyone was still squatting there.  Immediately we saw a flag waving in the wind with a skull and crossbones on it.  A skinny man came out, gestured something to us, and slithered back inside.

So far the trip was a bit weird with not getting in the Domes, a fence around the hotel, and the big tin building had completely vanished.  The last place we wanted to see if there had been any changes in two years was the tiny town of Picacho.  We figured this place probably changed because there were lots of abandoned places around town.  What we didn't count on was the entire town was GONE!  It looked as if it was erased from existence   All that was left was a sign and a water tower.  I was amazed on how fast they got rid of this tiny settlement.  All and all, this was a fun but bizarre trip.

Since the weather was so nice, we decided to hike South Mountain in search of petroglyphs.  We hike for over an hour and found many interesting etchings on the boulders tucked in the mountain.  The scenery was breathtaking and I was able to get many wonderful pictures.  After that, we had lunch at the South Mountain Farm and looked at Christmas lights when it got dark.

2012 gave us another year of interesting, fun, and weird road trips.  This was the year to revisit many of the places we saw at least two years ago to see what changes awaited us.  Many of the places did change lots in that time frame and other completely disappeared.  Next year, we are not only going to continue traveling around Arizona, but look for some of our trips to take us out of the state.  Sharon will continue taking all her fascinating videos and I will keep snapping tons of pictures.  I hope you continue to join me here on my blog for all our adventures.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Road Trips in Review (Part One)

Sharon and I wanted to take as many road trips we could in 2012.  Our first trip we planned in January was to Kirkland, AZ for a ghost hunt.  The Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse had several stories of apparitions and strange noises.  I had several friends tell me of their paranormal experiences while visiting the place.  We were excited to take the trip and spend the night at this very rustic establishment.  The one strange thing which happened in the middle of the night was that the both of us heard an old-time piano playing.  The sound was coming from the bar area.  There is no piano in the place anywhere.  We also heard other strange noises especially during the nighttime.  We had a good experience there and felt the place warrants a second and more thorough ghost hunt.

Although our focus was going to Kirkland, what we didn't expect was how exciting the road trip to get there was going to be.  We drove through several small towns along the way which had lots of abandoned places. We were shooting pictures like crazy and very giddy about it like a couple of little girls at Disneyland.  By the end of that trip, I had several hundred photos to download and sort out.  January's road trip was a huge success.

Skull Valley
Vulture Mine

It was back to Casa Grande for this month's trip.  This time we were going to explore other areas of this small city.  We came across several old rustic signs; an abandoned farm house; empty building where a business had once thrived; an almost desolate subdivision with several forsaken homes; and the gem of the trip, an abandoned hotel with pool and cabins.  This particular hotel had a fence around it the first time we saw it months earlier, but not this time.

When we found out that the show "Finding Bigfoot" was going to film in Payson, Sharon and I decided to be a part of it.  We had talk about attending one of their town hall meetings if the show ever taped in Arizona.  Of course just going to Payson for the show was not enough.  Before the meeting, we cruised all over that town to find lots of interesting stuff to take pictures of.  The show's town hall meeting was shot inside the Oxbow Inn and Saloon.  Cliff was out camping that night, but we got to meet Matt, Bobo, and Ranae.  The stories took over two hours and most were quite interesting.  We did have a fairy lady tell her story but she referred to Bigfoot as a Hobgoblin.  It was a very balmy night in Payson and we just about froze our asses off.  The next day on our way out of town, we stopped at a fantastic antique store, Art & Antique Corral, and a bike/vehicle junk yard.  That was an amazing trip.

This month we chose not to take any road trips because our book, "Zombie Housewives of the Apocalypse" was to be released.  We wanted to put all our energy into doing PR for the book.  Of course, it didn't come out when it was supposed to....

I wanted to see more Native American ruins so we decided to check out the Casa Grande Ruins in Coolidge, Arizona.  The ruins are remarkably well preserved and taken care of.  You can't miss the huge four-story Great House with a tin canopy covering the entire structure.  I would put this place on my list of must-sees if you take a trip to Arizona.

We were able to do two small trips this month.  The first place we stayed at was the Buttes, a resort in Phoenix.  We stayed there the previous year to celebrate putting the finishing touches on our Zombie Housewives book.  We decided to go there again to simply spoil ourselves.  We had a great time, again.

The second place we went to this month was to check out the historic Hayden Flour Mill in Tempe, Arizona.  They have been renovating the place for years and finally opened the outside of the mill for visitors.  They are still remodeling the interior and we were not allowed inside.  We were able to peek in the windows and see the old rustic machines they once used to mill the flour.  Behind the main building sits the massive silos which were constructed of cast-in-place concrete post.  I was so excited to be able to get photos of the outside of this place and can't wait to get inside.