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Over The Meadow And Through The Woods

by Nick Coons
Jan 14, 2004

It wasn't exactly a direct route, but it was scenic and the trip took us through a varying climate. We started at our home in Chandler, drove up I-17 to the Carefree Highway, west to Wickenburg, up through Congress and into Prescott, north to I-40, through Williams to Flagstaff, had dinner, and took I-17 back home. The weather ranged from warm to snow, and views changed just as dramatically.

For anyone who has never been to Arizona
Arizona(air-i'-ZON-u')

The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.

, or who has been here but only to one place, you may not know that this is actually very common when driving for more than two hours. Depending on where you go, elevations go from below 1,000 feet to above 7,000 feet (and up past 12,000 if you get off of the main highways).

Our first major stop was in Wickenburg, founded in the 1860s for mining. And the local businesses seem to take advantage of this with advertisements of "mining" this and "gold panning" that. We traveled up SR 89 on our way to Prescott, passing through Congress, seeing various remnants of the past and awesome mountain views, and then valley views once the rode guided us into the mountains. Through Wilhoit and into Prescott where I've visited countless times, we stopped for a mere 15 minutes and were on our way.

We continued onward and upward through Chino Valley and Paulden until SR 89 dropped us off at I-40. As we approached Williams, we took a little detour through Historic Route 66, which used to be a "America's Highway" connecting the east to the west before interstates were laid. Parts of this highway still exist, though much of it is deteriorated and non-maintained. The businesses along this route play into the while "happening fifties" facade which remind me of my favorite black-and-white sitcoms from the past.

On into Flagstaff, we stopped off for dinner, and then strolled down Milton with the brisk evening air coming at us. The temperature, a little too brisk, led us to a small coffee shop for some hot chocolate and hot tea, which we slowly sipped on our way home traveling south on I-17.

If you have the time during a long weekend, I'd highly recommend making such a circular trip. That is, not taking the same route out as you do coming back. It adds only a small amount to the overall driving time, but gives you the opportunity to see much more scenary and history.

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