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Tom Travels Days 8-10, Arizona

October 28, 2010

Welcome to Arizona

Can you recall your days back in school when you had to give a speech or presentation? Sometimes good fortune fell upon you and your turn came before the A+ student whose speech resembled the “I have a dream” speech, or this classic speech. If you weren’t so lucky, you followed up an amazing speech, and no matter how good yours was, it didn’t get the respect it deserved. I feel my Arizona adventure was following the Martin Luther King speech (Las Vegas).

However, what Arizona lacked in craziness and financial ruin, it excelled in firepower and beautiful, natural scenery.

Just in case

Beautiful Arizona

I had a goal during Tom’s Travels to fire a hand gun. We live in an increasingly dangerous world and I’m feeling the need to know how to use a hand gun, especially now that my joints hurt so bad, lifting weights and kung fu has become a near impossibility. But I’ll get to the shooting range later.

I visited one of my life long friends who is now a law enforcement agent, and an off-road enthusiast. Therefore our adventure for day 9 was the Apache Trail(day 8 was spent escaping the gravitational pull of Vegas and driving to AZ). 40 miles of mountainous terrain, mud & gravel roads, and steep cliffs. The trail starts with an old mining town called the Apache Junction Ghost Mining Town,

Ghost Mining Town of the Apache Trail

and a Jolly Green Giant-sized catcus,

Jolly Green Cactus

I knew today would be the most up close and personal I get with the mountains of planet earth, so I thought it was appropriate to wear my Geology Rocks tshirt,

Geology Rocks

The first half of the trail was paved road, about 20 miles, and took us 30 minutes. Here are some pics:

Paved Road of Apache Trail

Canyon Lake

Apache Lake

Pavement Ends, some folks weren't happy about it

Eventually the pavement ended, as we were notified with a bullet-hole filled sign. It took 3 hours to drive the 2nd half of the trail.

The road was narrow and bumpy, I thought I would need the meninges of Homer Simpson,

The bumpy unpaved Apache Trail

Narrow Passageway of Apache Trail

We stopped a few times to take pics and I came across this beetle (the first beetle I’ve seen outside of the UIC College of Medicine, sorry researchers). Not only does this picture remind me of the popcorn ceiling in my childhood home, but the beetle is in an interesting position. As I approached, he stood on his front legs, and put his orange tailed booty in the air. I’m not sure if it was a mating call or defensive position,

Mating call or Defensive position?

We also saw the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, and the lake it makes,

Roosevelt Dam

Roosevelt Lake

Travel back in time

I love looking at rocks. When you take a look at this pic, its as close to going back in time as I will get. I forget, but each layer represents something like 1,000 years. Layer upon layer, its amazing to think about. Then I ponder about my trip to Clovis, NM, the site where the oldest known human tool in North America was found, which is dated to about 16,000 years ago. The users of these tools are called the Clovis People.

I saw my first tumble weed tumble:

Deep Fried Rattlesnake

We ended the night by eating some rattle snake. Yes, real rattle snake, (sorry for the poor quality pic). $16.00 for an entire snake. It comes in little popcorn sized pieces, about a handfull of them. And a breathilizer after a few drinks,

0.69, I can still legally drive.

It was a long, exciting day. Day 10 of Tom’s Travels still to come (its 4am now in Austin and I need to sleep). Check back to hear about my adventure patrolling the desert and firing the weapons seen above…

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