Giddy Up!

The day after our trip to Jerome, AZ (Friday, March 2nd), Jack and I finally were able to complete our Valentine Day’s plans.  We had booked a private sunset horse back ride for Valentine’s Day, however, it rained ALL week here  the week of February 14 (the first rains we had seen here since we arrived on January 15).  After all that rain, the temperatures were pretty cold for this area during the winter or cloudy with NO sunshine, so no pretty sunset.  Therefore, we kept postponing our trip.

We found Corral West Horse Adventures located in Estrella (pronounced: eh-stray-a) Mountain Regional Park through Google, and it wasn’t too far from our RV park.  Our guide’s name was Alex, and his horse’s name was Cuervo.  I rode Gunsmoke, and Jack rode Bomber.

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Our guide, Alex, and his horse, Cuervo.

Gunsmoke was really gentle and easy to guide and do what I wanted him to do.  However, when crossing a dried wash (a wash is an area in the flat bottoms of canyons/deserts and drainages that lack water at or near the surface most of the year; they are subject to periodic severe flash flooding events), Gunsmoke liked to go down slowly then gallop up the other side rather fast.  I rather enjoyed that!

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My horse, Gunsmoke.

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Bomber, on the other hand, was … well a hand full!  According to our guide, Bomber needed a “firm” hand from the rider.  He would throw his head one way or the other until he decided that the rider wasn’t going to let him get away with not obeying the commands given through the reins.  Jack and Bomber “butted heads” for about the first 15 minutes or so.  Finally Bomber gave up and followed cowboy Jack’s directions.

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Bomber, Jack, and Alex.

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We road for about 45 minutes up the mountain to a corral like area for a 20 minute dinner break.  We brought ham, cheese, crackers, strawberries, and a bottle of Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante along with a couple of wine glasses.  It was lovely.  We didn’t really have a view of the horizon to see the sunset (I was a little disappointed), but it was so quite and serene and the sky was lovely as it became dusk.  After the dinner break, we rode up the mountain a little further and headed back to the corral by a different route.

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The corral area where they have campfire cookouts, overnight camp outs, cowboy dinner parties, and more.

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L to R: Bomber, Gunsmoke, Cuervo

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View from the campfire cookout area.

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If you look closely on the top left side of the horizon, you can see the University of Phoenix’s stadium where the Arizona Cardinal football team plays.

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L to R: Jack, me, and our guide, Alex.

While we were stopped at the campfire cookout area, Jack tried his hand at cowboy roping.  They had a plastic head of bull mounted on a bale of hay.  I must admit, I was pretty impressed with Jack’s roping ability.  He roped the steer on the first try.

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Cowboy Jack getting ready to rope the black steer head on the hay bale.

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Look at that form!

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I can’t believe I caught that loop right before it went over the black steer head!

I have loved horses all my life.  My mom’s Uncle Herbie in Iowa had horses, and every time we visited (which wasn’t often enough), we would get to ride.  Even though I grew up in the city (St. Louis – South County area), I still found a way to ride occasionally.  I found a place out of the city on the way to Eureka. MO, that had trail rides, hayrides, etc.  They even let frequent customers (like me) who they knew could ride fairly well, go out into some open fields and ride at whatever pace they chose (I loved going fast!).  It’s probably been 25 or more years since the last time I rode a horse. I think the last time I was on a horse was in the mid 1980s when Jack’s cousin, Jim Boze, decided he would take this “city” girl on a horseback ride through this huge ranch and watch me struggle to stay on the horse.  I think I pleasantly surprised and impressed him when I actually kept up with him and didn’t fall off or complain!

After our two and a half hour horseback adventure, I think it’s safe to say, Jack and I had a wonderful time, and we were both a little sore the next day!  However, the fun we had was well worth it!

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Jack with his horse, Bomber, and me with Gunsmoke. Alex’s horse, Cuervo, is in the picture on the right.

I can’t wait to tell you about the adventure we took on March 6!

So for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

Jerome, Arizona

Thursday, March 1, we drove up to Jerome, Arizona.  We went north on Interstate 17, took Highway 69 through Prescott Valley, then took Highway 89A into the Coconino National Forest on to Jerome, Arizona.  The drive was beautiful with scenic views and, believe it or not, SNOW!  That area of Arizona had gotten around 2-3 inches of snow just a day or two before we drove up there.  Snow in the mountains is always beautiful!  Here are a few pictures of the snow and the beautiful scenery that I took on the drive up the mountain to Jerome.

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If you look closely and/or zoom in, you can see a mountaintop in the distance with a lot of snow on it (that mountain is up by Flagstaff, AZ which is about 72 miles away).

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Jerome sits at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet within the Prescott National Forest and is located about four miles north of Mingus Mountain. We were coming from the south on Highway 89A, so I’m fairly sure we crossed Mingus Mountain. As we were browsing through one of the many quaint stores in Jerome, I saw this t-shirt, and BELIEVE ME! It is SO TRUE!!

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Jerome is built on the side of a fairly steep mountain.  The streets are narrow and zigzag from side to side across the hillside ending in a sharp curve (either left or right) in order to get to the next street.  The few pictures I took, just don’t do the town justice.  If you Google “images of Jerome, Arizona” and scroll through the pictures, you will come across some photos taken from high up that will give you a better idea of how curvy the roads are.

Jerome has an interesting and colorful history of being a mining town founded in the late 1800s on Cleopatra Hill overlooking Verde Valley.  In the 1920s it was home to more than 10,000, however, the most recent census in 2010 states its population is now around 400.  It was also considered the “Wickedest town in the West” because of the massive number of men working in the surrounding mines and the few number of women (most of which worked in the bordellos).  There is even an alley called “Husband’s Alley” because the “working women” were not allowed up on Main Street.  This alley was used by the men to “sneak” down a street (I think it was Hull Street) to spend their money at one of the many bordellos.  Again, if you are interested in more of the town’s history, just google it. It’s quite fascinating.

Here are a few pictures.

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We ate lunch at the Hilltop Deli. It was delicious! Even though it was quite chilly that day, we ate outside at a bar over looking the Verde Valley. The view was GORGEOUS (as you can see in the following pictures) and made up for the chilly temperature.

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The view from just about any location in town was fabulous!

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Another fun day in the books!

So for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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