Spring Break in Phoenix, AZ
March 2005

~Day 4~

March 26
Had breakfast at the 5&Diner, then hopped on 60 east to Apache Junction, where we picked up AZ 88, the Apache Trail. This road winds through the Superstition Mountains and is for the most part the only way through the mountain range. If you don't like where you are, you can either keep going for hours, or go back the way you came. We stayed on until just before the pavement was going to end, then doubled back. I took many of my world-famous Photos Taken From Moving Cars, because, well, how could I not?

Lost Dutchman State Park
Superstition Mountains
Teddy bear cholla, Opuntia bigelovii
Desert Globe Mallow, Sphaeralcia ambigua
View north from Green Boulder, 2580'
Another view from Green Boulder, or maybe that actually *is* Green Boulder - map is unclear
Eschscholtzia mexicana, Mexican Gold Poppy. An annual whose blooms are triggered by winter rains. Are cutely folded up until around 10 a.m. when the petals unfurl.
Lupinus sparsiflorus, Coulter's Lupine.
Mark, surrounded by Encelia farinosa, Brittlebush. This stuff is so abundant it actually got boring.
View of the mountainside, with a glimpse of the heavily populated valley beyond
Cool rock formations
Diane in the sunshine
Diane again, and more brittlebush! Oy!
Back down on lower ground
Didn't his mother tell him not to lick the cacti?

Moving right along, we wound our way along mountain roads and single-lane bridges, past Canyon Lake, formed by the damning damming of the Salt River, and on to Tortilla Flat. Tortilla Flat (pop. 6) was once the town that served the builders of Roosevelt Dam, but now consists of three buildings - a restaurant, a museum, and a store with ice cream. Since this is the only place to eat for many miles in either direction, it is very popular! Despite tourist trappiness, was actually very tasty and not too expensive. The interiors of the buildings are papered with dollar bills signed and left by past visitors. We speculated about how much money was on those walls, and whether customers ever pulled off a buck or two to cover their bill.

Superstition Mountains
Canyon Lake
Cool rock formation overlooking Tortilla Flat
Tortilla Flat restaurant
Another cool rock formation - this one's cylindrical
Pretty scenery east of Tortilla Flat
Wow, those flowers sure move fast!


Same formation as second picture above, but from different angle
Another glimpse of Canyon Lake, and high-speed lupines
Canyon Lake and more brittlebush

The final evening of the trip was actually one of the nicest, although I don't have any pictures. We stopped at Tempe Town Lake, another dammed part of the Salt River (poor river has a rough time of it), and watched people paddle around in paddleboats and fish off the banks (the water was pretty murky - not sure what they thought they were going to catch). Went to the ASU campus in Tempe to hang out at a bookstore for a while, then had pizza for dinner and walked around a bit. ASU is a very rich-looking campus; every building looks shiny and brand-new, and the retail/bar strip is filled with retailers and restaurants I couldn't have afforded when in college. However, at least everything was *open* past 5 p.m. (hear that, Scottsdale?). We actually ran into some friends from Chicago while in Tempe, a funny coincidence.

At long last, back to the hotel to sleep, pack, and head home in the morning, feeling sunburned but refreshed. Luckily, we seemed to bring the warm weather home with us.

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