A January 1997 trip
to Jerome by Whirlwind
Quote: Located near the heart of the Grand Canyon State, Jerome makes a good base for exploring the beauty of Central Arizona's National Forests before heading south and west to Phoenix and Yuma and the Mexican border beyond.
* Sheep Bridge (Horseshoe Reservoir)
* North and South Mountains (Phoenix)
* Yuma, agricultural miracle.
Attraction | "Quartzite Rock and Mineral Show--watch out!"
"What's a snowbird?" I asked.
You'll know 'em when you see 'em," was his reply. Well, I was more interested in rocks than birds and my interests were about to be indulged.
The concept is great--driving north to Quartzite from Yuma on Highway 95 to take in the tent city known as the Quartzite Rock and Mineral show. Beautiful collections of polished stone, gems, and geological oddities are there for the browsing. And don't forget the racks of leather goods, silver jewelry, Bowie knives, and assorted collectibles of garage sale warehouse proportions.
But the key to it all is actually driving there. It was early February when I made my attempt. Traffic was brisk about three fourths of the way there. But once within five miles, it became stop'n go. Then even the go part stopped. My vehicle was stalled in a traffic back-up for two hours. What caused the delay? Snowbirds. Thousands of them. Retired people with mobile homes that stretched for twenty miles.
With nothing to do, I jumped out of my vehicle with a camcorder to take in the traffic jam. A driver three cars, er, three mobile homes behind me flicked me a bird. It was the first time I'd ever gotten the bird from a snowbird. Not a very uplifting experience to say the least.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on December 8, 2000
Quartzsite Rock and Mineral Show
1240 Acacia Road
From I-17 turn down Bloody Basin Road--a dirt path which winds for miles and miles past dry gulches, proud stands of Saguaro, and up and down narrow mountain passes with hairpin turns. A glance down a sixty foot drop reveals the abandoned sluice rack of a forgotton gold claim. A glance up a hill catches a family of wild pigs, actually not really pigs but Javalinas. They race the jeep momentarily, then dodge behind a hillside of cacti. Yet another glance downwards and the wreck of an old--1920's vintage automobile is detected.
Sheep Bridge is located three miles north of Horseshoe Reservoir. It was built 1942/1943 by the Flagstaff Sheep Company for the purpose of getting 11,000 sheep back and forth across the Rio Verde. Sheep Bridge, otherwise known as Red Point Sheep Bridge, had a three foot walkway 476 feet in length. It was condemned by the US Forest Service in 1984, the last sheep having crossed in the spring of 1979.
A new bridge was commisioned and completed in 1989--the old one having been demolished and hauled away. Now only campers and hikers herd across it after a three hour trip by vehicle.
Want to try it from Phoenix?
Drive North on I-17 and turn east on Bloody Basin Road (FR 269). Drive 36 miles on the rough and rugged path. There are closer ways to do it if you care to ford the river to save time. Send me an IgoUgo message if you'd like to hear them.