Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

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Twin saguaros in Arizona's Saguaro National Park After a good night's sleep, I checked out of the Motel6 in Tucson around 9am. Saguaro NP was just a short drive away, and I had planned to spend the entire day there.

However, things turned out to be different. I spent a short time at the visitor center, stopped at a trail head and hiked the Valley Overlook Trail - all in about two hours' time. The Bajada Loop Drive only is a few miles long, and there's not a lot to see or do besides that. I could have hiked one of the longer trails, but at seven to ten miles without any shade whatsoever, that seemed to be a bit too much.

So I took a long look at the card, and decided to drive north towards the Apache Trail, a place neither marked too well on the AAA map, nor emphasized too much on in the written guidebooks I have. Thankfully, I had read about it on the Internet.

After one hour of driving, I stopped in the small town of Coolidge, AZ to have a quick and inexpensive lunch at McDonalds, then made an entirely unplanned stop at Casa Grande NM, fueled up, and continued towards Apache Junction. I arrived at the first viewpoint of the Apache Trail around 2:15pm.

Even though it would be only an hour's drive at normal highway speeds, it took me three and a half hours to drive Apache Trail. Partly because a lot of it is just dirt road, sometimes with switchbacks and large elevation gains and losses, partly because I took quite a lot of photographs and stopped pretty often.

Bridge across Canyon Lake on Apache Trail I've seen grey rocks, brown rocks and red rocks, but never before did I see rocks in a yellowish green But either way, the mountains of Tonto National Forest came in as quite a change from the areas I had visited in the previous days.

I left Apache Trail after about 5:40, and had planned to still drive quite a bit towards New Mexico. As it turned out, I would only drive for about an hour, before loosing my way in Globe twice. I decided that was a sign that I was tired and needed rest, so I stopped in Globe for the night.

Originally, I had planned to camp out for the night, but as I was driving through the town (city?), I saw several motels advertising rates of between 18$ and 25$ for a single. So eventually, I stopped at the cheapest place of them all, for an advertised 18$, which turned out to be 20$ inclusive taxes, paid in cash.

A person of Indish origin checked me in and showed me the room. As he was showing me the bathroom, I was under the impression that he was expecting me to complain, or make a negative comment, but of course I didn't. It seems clear that for $20, one shouldn't expect $100 luxury. And, as I discovered soon after, while the furniture is old and worn, everything is clean. The TV even has more channels than in any motel I've been to before.

After some initial security worries had worn off, I slept like a rock from around 8:30pm to 6:40am.

The day was sunny a lot of the time, but overcast for an hour or two in the higher regions. Temperatures were pretty warm, weather reports on TV reported temperatures in the high seventies for pretty much the entire Southern Arizona area.

Miles driven: 242mi (389km)

Motel/Hotel Accommodation: Willow Motel (Globe, AZ): $20.00

Written around 6:50 in a cheap motel in Globe, AZ.