Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Apache Gold, Globe, Miami and Superior

November 20 - 24, 2014:

It was a nice sunny driving day with no wind for the ride to San Carlos, Arizona.  We took route 191 north through a nice open desert landscape mostly downhill to Safford Arizona.  Safford was way larger and metropolitan than I imagined with lots of agriculture, mainly cotton farming.  We then took route 70 west which was more cotton farms, the roadsides were littered with clumps of cotton and cotton bales stacked everywhere.  Eventually the desert landscape returned and we entered the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation where we started to see Saguaro Cactus again.  We arrived at the Apache Gold Casino in early afternoon and set up in an easy pull through full hookup site.  It is a fairly large Casino / Hotel and a huge building for concerts and special events.  We did our usual thing, joined the players club which gives you $10 credit, promptly lost that along with a few dollars of our own and left.  It appears that the major percentage of the gamblers are from the reservation so I'm not sure it's dong them much good ?  The business model should be to take the white man's money ?

Cotton field near Safford Arizona

Saguaro Cactus again

Apache Gold Casino entrance

It is about six miles to downtown Globe which is another interesting old mining town with much history. My problem is that I have been here so many times that I have seen and explored it all more than once.  So, I'm mainly revisiting to see what has changed, what's closed, what's opened and what is new.  Happy to say that things in town look slightly better than the last visit.  I did manage to go to the "Los Robertos" restaurant for lunch which I have missed on all previous visits and the Carne Asada Quesadilla I had was really good.  It is next door to the "Pickle Barrel Trading Post" which also is not to be missed when in Globe.

Historic time line in front of the
old Court House in Globe

The New Tonto Hotel remains !

So does "Big Nose Kate's" rooming house
A favorite sign of mine in Globe

Historic Globe Bank

Los Robertos for lunch

Another favorite sign

I took a ride to the actual town of San Carlos which is the headquarters of the San Carlos Apache Reservation.  It is pretty sad, lots of poverty, trash everywhere and big problems with drinking and drugs.  I imagine that the people who somehow rise above it all here tend to get out as fast as possible.  The problem with the Apaches is that they don't do the tourist thing well.  The Navajo's for example are very artistic, making great rugs, beautiful jewelry and Navajo Taco's.  The Apaches were always fierce hunters, gathers, warriors and raiders and they seem to have little to offer other than photos of Geronimo.  The Casino has created some jobs and should be bringing in some money to the area but can only do so much, it's a depressing state of affairs.

San Carlos road sign

I went out on Friday night to the Drift Inn in Globe, one of my all time favorite saloons that is so wasted, it could be so cool in the right place with the right owner and the right crowd.  There was the usual going's on, bad pool shooters and ugly people playing poor music.  So I left and went down the street to the "Huddle" bar.  It is a little weird here in Globe as the majority of the bar patrons seem appear to be a mix of Hispanic and Apache. I sit down and the Apache girl next to me starts talking to me, telling me that I look like her councilor at San Carlos. (Twinkles says all of us older white guys with a beard look alike ?)  She is with her male cousin and his girlfriend, the cousin is really drunk, wants me to taste his drink, No, I'm not doing that, then he buys me a drink instead, then thankfully goes away.  She tells me something about leaving her boyfriend back at the Casino and I'm thinking I need to get out of here soon.  They surprisingly leave soon afterwards with the cousin staggering out the door.  Then this big buy at a table behind me comes over and shakes my hand like he knows me ?  Then the old mexican guy on the other side of me starts talking to me, I can't understand a word he's saying, although I think it was english, but he seems to want to be my buddy.  Now I know it is time to escape and head back to the RV.

The Drift Inn

Looking for places to go that we haven't already seen, I find the Salt River Canyon on the map, do a search on the internet and find that people are saying great things about it and even referring to it as a mini Grand Canyon.  It is a nice drive through very scenic country to get there and it lives up to the reviews.  It is a huge Canyon and the road, route 60, goes steeply downhill with several switchbacks from the top of the Canyon to the Salt River, over a classic arch bridge, then steeply uphill on the other side.  There is a very scenic rest area at the bridge and many scenic pullouts and vistas along the road.  You cross from the San Carlos Indian Reservation to the Fort Apache Indian Reservation as you pass over the Salt River.

Road view going into the Canyon

Waterfall on the Salt River

Bridge view

Under the bridge view

The Salt River Canyon from a high vantage point
On the return trip we stop at the town of Miami, where Twinkles needs to stop at Julie's Quilt Store for yet more quilting fabric and then we get ice cream at a beautifully restored ice cream shop. If you are in Miami Arizona you must stop to visit this place, the "Soda Pops Classic Soda Fountain" that was so lovingly restored. Twinkles highly recommends the Cherry Amaretto ice cream and their pies also look really good.

Parts of Miami resemble a ghost town

The Real Market is closed these days

The Soda Fountain is back

A Classic Have a Coke sign

A Classic old Packard car in Miami

A classic old Ford fuel truck

Great old Liquors sign

View of the old church from distance

View of the nines above Miami

In this area, I always make a point to stop at the town of Superior which looks like something out of an old western film.  It is another huge mining area that seems to be booming currently.  They are rebuilding the old "Mangus Hotel", actually they have built a totally new building that when done will hopefully look the old Hotel, however to me it currently looks way too much like a new building.  There seems to be some action on other buildings as well, a good sign, but hopefully they won't make them too pretty and destroy the wild west flavor.

Cafe in Superior

Nice mural

A favorite mural that is slowly flaking away

The new Mangus Hotel under construction

Old market in Superior

Superior street view

Superior sign

I had forgotten how wild the drive is from Globe to Superior, it's going to be a little exciting with the RV. I'm starting to wonder if it's me, am I driving like an old fart ?, or do the locals all drive like speed freaks on these curvey mountain roads as there seems to be someone constantly on my rear bumper.  I also note many roadside shrines for those who crashed.

Route 60 bridge in Devil's Canyon area south of Superior

One who didn't make it

The next stop is Phoenix Arizona for Thanksgiving,

Twinkles and Slick   

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