Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Route 66 Museum Kingman, Arizona August 19, 2013

                                 "Mainstreet of America"

Information: While in Kingman, Arizona, I stopped at the Route 66 Museum at the Visitor's Center along historic Beale Street. The museum is small but it has a significant amount of information documenting the history of  the "Mother Road."  Each visitor has to pay $4 to visit. The ticket also gives you access to the Mohave Museum up the street. Kingman is located in northwestern Arizona along Interstate 40 approximately 100 miles south of Las Vegas.

Short History: The road was established in November of 1926. It started in Chicago, Illinois and ended in Santa Monica, California. During its existence the route has taken on mythical importance. It has been honored in songs, television shows, movies and books. It also has many nicknames including the Mother Road, Main Street of America, and Will Roger's Highway.  During the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the road served as a major path for those heading west. The museum does a good job portraying the hardships travelers and citizens endured during this time with photos and passages from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath.  Route 66 would be the principal east-west highway until the completion of the Interstate Highway System in 1985. Today preservation groups are attempting to preserve the route and historic towns from Chicago to California. (Information from www.wikipedia.com and the museum).

                                    Pictures of motorists on Route 66 during the Dust Bowl

                              A blurry photo of a Phillips 66 Gas Pump

                      Part of the museum about the pioneers

                                     Glassware from the early 1900s

                 Cool map showing Route 66 between Kingaman and Needles

                        Route 66 mural in Kingman

Monday, August 26, 2013

Caliente, Nevada August 18, 2013

                                The beautiful station in Caliente

Location: Caliente, Nevada, is located over 100 miles north of Las Vegas and 20 miles south of Pioche on Highway 93. This town is a gateway to Rainbow Canyon (to the south), Kershaw-Ryan State Park  (to the north) and Cathedral Gorge State Park  (also to the north).

History: Prior to the railroad, Caliente's limited importance lay in its cattle and hay operations which supplied the mining town of Pioche to the north. Caliente also attracted visitors because of its extensive hot springs in the area. In 1905, the town became more important with the construction of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad today the Union Pacific. This railroad would link Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
              Soon Caliente's success and demise would be linked to the railroad. For instance, it served as a hub for workers building the route to the south. The town also served as a division point complete with yard tracks and company houses. In 1923 the Union Pacific built the iconic mission-style building which originally housed a hotel, restaurant, train station and Telegraph Office. Today trains do not stop in Caliente and passenger service has been discontinued. The passenger station has been restored and now houses town offices and a library. (Information from www.wikipedia.com and www.backyardtraveler.blogspot.com)

        Community Monitoring Station which continues to monitor contamination from the Nevada Test Site.    These sites are located all around Nevada and some of Utah.

                       Today predominate traffic on the Union Pacific line is long stack trains heading to Los Angeles.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bristlecone Pines and Rock Glacier Trail Great Basin National Park August 17, 2013

                                 Bristlecone pine tree

On my way south from West Wendover, Nevada, I stopped at Great Basin National Park to spend the night and go on a hike. I drove into the park at 1 pm so it became obvious I would have to pick a hike that wasn't too many miles. I chose to hike the Bristlecone Pine Trail and Glacier Trail. From my campsite at the Wheeler Peak Campground the hike would be about 5.3 miles. Elevation gain was low at approximately 1100 feet. This is a special short hike because it takes the hiker by Bristlecone pine trees which are some of the oldest trees in the world. The second part of the trail takes visitors to the only glacier in Nevada. Along the way views include 13000 foot Mount Wheeler, the desert in the valley and Mount Moriah to the north.

If you are planning on spending more than one day I would consult the National park website. Great Basin has many hiking and backpacking opportunities. Lehman Caves at the Visitor's Center is also beautiful and visitors should take the tour.

                      What magnificent trees; not to be confused with Limber pines

                                                     Bristlecone pine

                  The extent of the glacier at the base of Wheeler Peak. The glacier is much smaller today.

                      High desert scenery in the Snake Mountains looking north.

                      Storm clouds forming over Mount Wheeler's ride.

University of Arizona Art Museum

                         Interesting modern painting of a Circle K Gas Station

    On the University of Arizona campus is a small art museum which shows a wide range of art from modern to classical European. Among its permanent collections consists of European paintings and sculpture from the 14th century through the 19th century given by Samuel Kress. The museum also has paintings from American artists including Edward Hopper, Georgia )'Keefe, and Jackson Polluck. The museum also has rotating exhibits. One exhibit shows the Alterpiece from Ciudad Rodrigo in Spain. This is considered one of the most important works from 15th century Spain. Another exhibit features Patricia Carr Morgan and her perception of reality and myth. (Information from www.artmuseum.arizona.edu)

Hours and Price:  The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9-5. On Saturday and Sunday museum hours are 12-4. Admission is $4 for adults with discounts given for UA students.
                                         Simple plant painting

                            Painting from Patricia Morgan with her combination of reality and myth
                          Patricia Carr Morgan painting; one of my favorites

                           Paintings from Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain

                                                   Alterpiece from Ciudad Rodrigo

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Incinerator Ridge Mount Lemmon Coronado National Forest July 28, 2013

                             Vegetation and scenery around 7300 feet in the Catalina Mountains

Location and General Information: Mount Lemmon is outside of Tucson, Arizona, in the Catalina Mountains. People can get to Mount Lemmon by taking the Catalina Highway in eastern Tucson. This is a popular hiking spot because it is five degrees cooler for every thousand feet of elevation change. Therefore, it is conceivable the temperature can be over 100 degrees in the valley while only 70 at 9000 feet in the Catalina Mountains. It is about 25 miles to the town of Summerhaven where the road ends. There are also 20+ trail heads that permeate from the highway giving visitors many options. Campgrounds are prevalent starting at Bear Canyon. A day pass is $5. A Coronado Adventure pass costs $20 for the whole year.

Hike: Today my dad and I are starting at the San Pedro Vista  Pullout and we are hiking a new trail north toward Barnum Rock, over Kellogg Mountain to Mount Bigelow. Because this trail is new and not on hiking maps trail metadata is not available. I surmised that we gained over 1100 feet in elevation and hiked around 3.5 miles. Vegetation on the hike included many conifers such as Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine. The trail was well constructed and it provided great views of the San Pedro River Valley to the east.

                                Looking east toward the San Pedro River Valley

                                 Catalina Mountains scenery

Friday, August 9, 2013

Colossal Cave Mountain Park August 4, 2013

                             Entrance to cave

Location: Colossal Cave Mountain is located east of Tucson near Vail, Arizona. Take I-10 east from Tucson to Exit 279 (Vail/ Wentworth Exit). Follow signs north through Vail, Arizona, to Colossal Cave.

Fee Rates: To enter the park it cost $5 per car. The basic cave tour is $13 per adult and $6.50 for kids 5-12 years of age. Special tours are extra. For example the Ladder Tour is $25 per person.

Activities: The main activity for visitors at the park is to take a tour of the cave. The main tour is 45 to 50 minutes long. Docents give visitors history of the park as well as point out cave features. Viewable features include columns, stalactites, stalagmites, and cave popcorn. The most impressive room on the cave tour is the Drapery Room.A more adventurous visitor can make a reservation on the Ladder Tour or Wild Cave Tour. These tours vary in length and difficulty depending on your skill level in the cave. The park provides hard hats and lights for the longer tours.

Birding: The park is home to over 100 species of birds including the state bird the Cactus wren.

Camping: Camping is available at La Selvilla. The campground does not have hookups for RVs.

La Posta Quemada Ranch: At the ranch visitors can take a trail ride along the Arizona Trail which goes north and south. Museums include the Civilian Conservation Corp Museum and the ranch house. (Information from www.colossal cave.com).  

                                     With Quintin waiting for tour

                                          Inside cave

                                   Two columns in one shot

                                 Desert wildflower

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Arizona Transportation Museum Tucson, Arizona August 2013

                             Quintin and I with the Steam Engine in the background

At the Amtrak Depot in downtown Tucson is a small but impressive museum which chronicles the building of the second transcontinental railroad linking the Eastern United States with the Pacific Coast. Displays begin with the Gadsen Purchase of 1853 between Mexico and the United States and end with information about the present day mainline of the Union Pacific. An interesting section also gives information about the different railways which served mining towns in Southern Arizona many of which are abandoned. Docents working at the museum give a tour of Southern Pacific 1673 on Depot grounds. Admission to the museum is free but donations are appreciated.

                           Railroads of Southern Arizona

Statues of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday Tucson, Arizona

This statue shows Wyatt Earp and "Doc" Holiday ready to fight. At the Tucson Depot the Earp clan killed Frank Stillwell  (a member of the cowboys).

Background: 1879 Tombstone, Arizona, was a lawless place. Stage coaches were robbed  and murders took place on the streets. Much of this violence was caused by the "Cowboys" led by John Behan and the Clanton gang. Deputy US Marshall Virgil Earp and his brother Wyatt Earp fought to maintain order.
                 On October 26, 1881, hostilities between the Earp clan and Cowboys reached a breaking point with the famous shootout at the OK Corral. After the shootout had ended three Cowboys lay dead in the street.  In the weeks to follow surprise attacks would kill Morgan Earp and cripple Virgil Earp.  The Earps hunted down many of the Cowboys in revenge including Frank Stillwell who was killed at this very spot. (Information from Depot kiosk).