Apache Trail - and general advice
I will be in Scottsdale, Arizona for a couple of days in mid-September (after a brief stint on route 66) --- and I've been trying to find exciting/interesting things to do in the area. I was reading about the Apache Trail, which sounds wonderful, but I wondered whether it could be driven in a regular car or whether I would need an off-road vehicle.
I would also be very open to ideas for drive/attractions in the general area. I will be on my own. My boyfriend will be busy with a convention -- so I can take long daytrips -- possibly even over the Mexican border. I'm interested in anything that is not horribly touristy -- it could be kitchy, roadside type stuff, interesting nature drives -- and I'm particularly interested in seeing some desert.
Thanks for any ideas you may be willing to offer.
Desert, yes, we've got that.
You'll see plenty of desert along the Apache Trail -- and terrain so rugged a fly couldn't land on it. It is accessible to a passenger car easily, but you'll feel most comfortable in a smaller vehicle -- don't do any large SUV's as the road is VERY narrow in some places. Take it slow and easy and don't swing wide around any curves -- especially on Fish Creek Hill. The road was built for mule or horse-drawn wagons, so you can imagine how narrow it is. In September, it is still very warm here, likely over 100 degrees, so you might plan the drive for a morning when it is a bit "balmier."
If you want to shop in one of the border towns, I'd suggest leaving your auto on the US side (perhaps at a motel and then cab to the border crossing, or walk if you can get close enough), and walking across.
Another great day trip is north up I-17, then SR69 to Prescott, check out Whiskey Row and the Courthouse Square downtown (on Gurley Street and along US89), and maybe the Sharlot Hall Museum, or the Phipps Museum of Western Art, then drive across Mingus Mountain to Jerome (have lunch at the Haunted Hamburger), poke around there for a couple of hours, then mosey over to Sedona -- and have dinner at Shugrue's Grill or at the Manzanita Inn in Cornville, before returning to Scottsdale with a 2 hour drive down I-17 again. (Or, the drive up through Oak Creek Canyon is very beautiful, and then head back to Phoenix from Flagstaff). Bob
Apache Trail and Mexico
Like Bob said, the Apache Trail is a very narrow road at some places, drive carefully and you should be fine. Also, watch for animals crossing the road, we saw a big mule by the side of the road. But it's definitly worth it if you'd like to see some desert:-) that was one of my childhood dreams and I've been pretty spoiled over that when I rode on the Apache Trail with my personnal guide, dear Uncle Bob. He told me a lot of interesting things regarding history, animals, vegetation, BBQ (ahem...:-) Take some time to go off your vehicle and explore, take a look at the cactuses (from a few feet if possible:-)
If you go to Mexico, I suggest you stay in crowded areas, especially if you don't look like a Mexican and don't speak fluent spanish. Put all your belongings on yourself, preferably not in a handbag. Don't forget, a lot of places don't accept US money so try to exchange it into a few pesos. It is usually cheaper to buy pesos at a casa del cambio than at the bank, they have better rates. Don't forget your passport, they may not ask for it when you get in, but you gotta have it when you get out. And like Bob said, leave your car on the US side and walk accross the border, it's better that way. It is very easy to get lost in Mexico, the streets are often not linear (have you ever been to San Antonio? If so, it gives you a little idea). Oh, A last thing, bring water with you!
Have a great trip!
Ps-In a past life, Bob must have been a Visitors Center clerk, he always know where to go and what to do in all locations:-))