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Since this was our last day on the road, we splurged and went to a Dennys for breakfast. Breakfast is the meal that I most enjoy eating out. I'm trying to not eat grains or potatoes (that means bread, pasta, hash browns, etc.) so I got applesauce in place of the potatoes which was nice.
We decided to follow AZ-260 east since we hadn't been on most of it. It starts at Cottonwood and goes through grasslands till it is quite a ways east of I-17. Just past I-17 we stopped at Fort Verde State Historical Park. This was one of the first permanent army posts in this part of the country. They have several buildings preserved and it's very interesting to first go through the museum and see the people and what they did and then through the other buildings to see where they lived. They had so little living area compared to us. One thing that I found interesting was that when a higher ranking officer came in he and his family bumped the next lower rank and so on down the line so the lowlier officers could find themselves living in a tent with their families. What a bummer!
It seems that this is also the National Day of Prayer so a christian school was praying around the flagpole for quite a while. The kids seemed much more interested in the camels, though. Yes, camels. They didn't really use them in this area (I think they were used more near Yuma) but the ranger said they were just here so people could see them and know about them. Vision Quest kids were helping with this and seemed quite good. We got to pet the camels after they assured us that they wouldn't bite or spit. The kids were all excited but the docent kept saying over and over that they were to be calm and come up just a few at a time. I don't think they wanted a spooked camel.
We then drove north to Montezuma Castle National Monument. I was surprised at how full the parking lot was. This is an amazing place but it's not a castle and has nothing to do with Montezuma. In the cliffs above Beaver Creek there are cliff dwellings and they are way up there. They were built by the Sinagua who disappeared about 100 years before europeans showed up, probably assimilated into other tribes. It is a beautiful riparian area with the green trees and the red cliffs.
We then returned to AZ-260 and continued through the national forests. I think we touched the Coconino, Apache Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests. The maps I have don't delineate very well where one begins and another ends. We were in national forest for most of the day. First we rode through grasslands and then rose up into forests then joined with AZ-87 to drop down to Payson, where we turned east and left 87. Then we had another pull over the Mogollon Rim which we were above till we reached Show Low. We didn't stop much but pulled over for a break at a trailhead and lunch at a city (?) park near Heber that was wonderfully full of trees.
The drive on top of the rim is wonderful. In southern Arizona are forests are all up and down since we have to climb the sky island mountains to get to them, but on the rim we rode comparatively level though cool pine forests. At Show Low we left 260 and followed US-60 and AZ-77 through the Ft Apache and San Carlos Apache indian reservations as we dropped off the rim in awesom, rugged country.
At Globe we left US-60 and followed AZ-77 to Tucson as continued dropping into desert and skirted around the Catalinas to finally drop into Tucson. The whole state is tilted from northeast to southwest where Yuma is finally close to sea level. It's wonderful to drive it in one day and see the whole panorama.
Since Lisa was visiting with a friend this evening I read. It's so nice to relax and read after a trip, no matter how enjoyable. The first book I read was "Jester Leaps In" by Alan Gordon. I'd never read this series and thoroughly enjoyed it. Theophilus, better known as Feste, a member of the fools guild, is sent to Constantinople to find out what happened to the fools there. Accompanying him is his new wife, a duchess and an apprentice fool. This was fascinating. I never realized how much a part of medieval life fools were. They were the television of the day. The good ones became part of courts and probably heard more of what really went on than most people. I'm not sure that I buy the idea that they were a secret peace promoting group but it does make sense. The insight into Constantinople in the 13th century is wonderful.
I finished reading "Neanderthin" by Ray Audette. Audette is one of the group that advocates a 'caveman' diet which is meat and fruits and vegetables. He pretty much cuts out grains and beans as bad for health. I've been following some of this for a few weeks so I read it with interest. It's true that when people settle down and lived on grains their health became much worse. The archaeological record shows a decline in height and an increase in degenerative diseases, at least the ones that show up in the skeleton record. I'm just wondering if I'm allergic to something so cutting out grains and dairy for a while makes sense. I still wonder if part of the decline in health of the early agriculturists was due to eating less vegetables. friuits and greens than they did while they were more nomadic. I feel good, so what can I say but I'm not totally sold on the theory but it is an interesting book.