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It was not the Destination; it was the Journey with the group of ASURA members and guests who ventured into the Verde Canyon on the Railroad in Clarkdale. We were left with many memories of the beautiful back country along the Verde River. The interpretive naturalist Brandi continuously explained many geological features. Our personal hostesses Carol and Terry attended to our needs with lunch, champagne and many sumptuous appetizers. This made for a relaxing first class adventure in the wilderness. Many wandered out into the open air car for better viewing with a day of perfect weather. The glow of the golden leaves on the cottonwoods let you know Fall had arrived.
After the train ride there was time in the gift shop, then we traveled down the road a piece for a chuckwagon supper at Blazin’ M Ranch. Browsing their many shops was interesting and delightful. Dinner and the live western stage show filled our tummies and tickled our funny bones.
The night at the Jerome Grand Hotel proved to be uninterrupted. We brought so much good vibes and cheer to the Hotel that the ghosts never came out or maybe they were too worn out from Halloween. I think the thought of the hotel being haunted is a myth and might only be used to increase sales. We did see an old repairman on top of the elevator who was trapped for so long only the bones are left relaxing in a rocking chair.
In the morning some of us watched a beautiful sunrise as the Hotel has a great unobstructed view of the valley and on to the horizon. One can almost see all the way back to Phoenix. Then we had a nice breakfast at the 15-quince Grill and Cantina in downtown Jerome. One half of the group had a historic tour on the Jerome Grand Trolley while the other half had breakfast then the second half took the same tour. Free time was available for a leisurely stroll of downtown Jerome. Some of the group purchased nice treasurers in the many shops.
We boarded the bus waiting for us in Jerome and traveled to Cottonwood. The driver, having made many loops around the area, showed us one of his secret back road shortcuts which we promised not to reveal. I think he wanted to return the favor when we showed him the secret way to get to the Jerome Hotel in the night. They were waiting for us at the Tavern Grill and we enjoyed a sumptuous lunch. We then had time to wander and shop in Old Town Cottonwood before heading back to Tempe.
On the way back a stop in Rock Springs to purchase whole pies for those still hungry added to the over 60,000 pies they sell a year and may be closer to a record breaking year with 70,000 pies after we left. For those still hungry I hear they do ship.
The trip seemed to turn into a weight watchers event with a twist, as every time we turned around it was time to eat again. We put on ten pounds instead of taking it off. We corrected that by making everyone run behind the bus for five miles on the trip home (just kidding).
One more item on our Bucket List can be scratched off as the group of about 40 ASURA members returned from Verde Canyon and will be looking forward to the next adventure.
Story and photos by Bill Stasi
ASU Retirees Association
Mailing address: PO Box 873308, Tempe, AZ 85287
Physical address: Community Services Building Room 201, 200 E. Curry, Tempe, AZ