We actually got a good nights sleep even with the three hour time zone change getting up around 7ish local time. We stayed at Lisa's brothers' house and after a very fulfilling breakfast at IHOP we were off to Superstition (cue the Stevie Wonder song) Mt and Goldfield Ghost Town located out near Apache Junction off Route 88. After turning right onto N Apache Trail (Route 88) I pulled over to get a shot of Superstition Mt straight ahead and the Usery Mt's off to my right. Superstition is almost 5000' and the Userys 3000', add those to the bucket list!
Up the road a little ways and we came to Superstition Mountain Museum with the scenic Superstition Mt rising up in the background. Some of the old buildings on this site are from the old Apacheland Movie Ranch where some westerns were filmed back in the good old days. Gunfight at the OK Corral was filmed at the old site including the Elvis film Charro. Cute little stop that is worth it if driving by.
Up the road a short bit and the old Goldfield Ghost Town is the next stop. It is an old gold mining town from the late 1800's into the early 1900's. The town is a recreation but is very authentic looking and a cool stop. The temperature was not so cool as it was in the high 90's at the time. Yes it was dry but heat is heat.
Back in the car and continuing on Route 88 I quickly pulled over to take a picture of a Prickly Pear Cactus. Great idea, bad spot on the road, and worse moment in a second. The cactus/cacti? are just a gorgeous looking plant with the fruits being mostly red but I did see some that were deep purple (not the band). The road s just a narrow two lane highway with no breakdown lane so pulling over was just that, stopping on the very edge of the road. Cars were slowly going around us I as I got out of the car to get a close shot of the cactus and then the one thing you do not want to do happened. Somewhere in the back of my mind I kind of knew that the prickly pear is edible, not sure of in what form raw or cooked but edible, so...
This is a warning to all you tourists out there, DO NOT TOUCH THE PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS FRUIT!!!! Unbeknownst to me and the naked eye there are very tiny spikes on them, and I mean tiny. Three fingers on my left hand were now littered with these tiny spikes. Try pulling them out without tweezers and me being the blind person without the reading glasses (a by-product of having laser surgery) to see them better. As I am walking back to the car and pulling out the ones I can see a car slowly pulls up behind our vehicle and asks if everything was OK, being stopped on the road like I was probably looked like we were broke down. One of the nice things about Arizona was the friendly nature of everyone (unlike us cold New Englanders). I just told him everything was fine and I had stopped to take some pictures, damn spines.
We continued up Route 88 and this road is comparable to the Kancamagus Highway. It is a twisting and turning road with hairpin curves as you ascend up into the mountains. The scenery along the way is awesome and we continued up until there was a pullout with a view of Canyon Lake down in the valley.
On the way back down Lisa spies a strange formation off in the distance and no one else sees it until a short ways up the road we also get a look. Turning around there is a pullout and a path that leads to a viewpoint (not the best view of it) of an amazing piece of mother nature doing her thing. It is called Weavers Needle and someday will have to return to get a closer look at this. The first picture is from the end of the path and the second photo is back at the visitor podium standing on top of the fence post.
Further down the road I got a much better shot of it.
Back to Phoenix to relax for a little bit as the temp rose to 103°. We left about 3:30 on our way to Williams for the night which is about an hour south of the Grand Canyon. Pretty uneventful drive until about an hour into the drive as we are heading north on I-17 the clouds begin to darken. Being so flat and open it was pretty cool watching the monsoon come in and the lightning strikes off in the distance. Not long after the downpours came the event lasting for well over an hour as we continued the drive.
A little over two hours into the trip and at the tail end of the storm we heading down towards Flagstaff and I have to stop to take a picture of a great mountain range. I would later find out that the taller one is Humphreys Peak and is Arizona's tallest peak at 12,637 feet, I'll be back for that one too.
Another hour later and we are finally at the Holiday Inn in Williams. Another day is done and tomorrow we get to see the Grand Canyon!