Friday, March 07, 2008

Verde Canyon Railroad

Hello Again!

It has been a fun-filled action-packed season. Everyone I talk to “complains” about how busy they are and how hard it is to schedule so many activities and events. Of course, they’re “complaining” with big smiles on their faces.

I opened the Palm Creek Happenings newsletter this week and read about the tour group going on the Verde Canyon Railroad ride. I’ve wanted to do that tour since I first read about it in Arizona Highways magazine several years ago. On impulse, I called Marilyn at Gallagher’s tours and was happy to find a few seats still available.

On Thursday, March 6, Don and I boarded a very nice tour bus at Mission Royale at 9:00 a.m. There were other “Creekers” present also and we were soon chatting and joking as good friends looking forward to the adventures of the day. The three hour bus ride was very pleasant and comfortable. Don really seemed to enjoy reclining back in his chair while someone else did the driving for a change. We made a quick stop north of Phoenix at a shopping plaza for coffee and Marilyn treated all of us to fresh donuts once we got back on board.

We arrived at the Clarkdale train station where we teamed up with quite a few other tour buses of passengers. I was glad we were with a tour at this point so we didn’t have to battle the long lines at the lunch counter. We just followed behind Marilyn and she lead us to our car where all the reserved seats were held for our group. As soon as we got seated, she handed out our yummy sack lunches.

The train itself is old but in good condition. We soon learned that luxury seats aren’t necessary as most of us immediately headed out to the open air viewing cars and spent most of the trip there. We were lucky to have such a beautiful spring day so all we needed was a light jacket and a strong battery in our cameras. The ride is through some of Arizona’s finest wilderness area. No towns or city sights came into view. There were just miles of beautiful hills, red rock, rambling streams, and high cliffs with an occasional bald eagle thrown in for accent. The train traveled at a leisurely 10-15 miles per hour so we could easily enjoy the beautiful scenery. It is a two hour trip to the ghost ranch of Perkinsville where the train switched track and brought us back again.

We had dinner at the Sizzler Steakhouse in Cottonwood and then boarded our bus for the ride home. Since it was too dark to enjoy the scenery on the way back, we were treated to a movie on the coach tv system. It was a great day! I can now cross off another item on my “Bucket List”.