The Road Less Traveled…The Wrong Turn…You Decide!!!

Theodore Roosevelt Dam+Apache Trail+Dirt Road+Tortilla Flats+Tucson.

There us usually a very good reason that some roads are “the road less traveled”. We, however, do not shy away from them. Choosing the right road is the trick. It really doesn’t matter who or how many have traveled it before.

When we travel, we have discovered that agreeing on the right road is harder than it appears. I am a back road kind of girl and love a two lane highway the wanders through the countryside. My husband, on the other hand, is a more ergonomic thinker. The shortest distance between two points usually works for him. He loves a short cut, preferably one that does not involve stop lights or traffic.

So when we decided to take Arizona Highway 88 from the Theodore Roosevelt Dam to Apache Junction just outside Phoenix as a short cut to Tucson, it seemed the perfect choice for both of us. On the map it was a two lane highway that wandered up the canyon on the shores of Lake Apache, so I was pleased with the choice. It didn’t seem to have any major obstacle’s like stop lights AND it was shorter. That pretty much sealed the deal. We blissfully turned off of the freeway into Phoenix and further down the road turn off the main road to take RT 88!

Not far up that road there was a sign that said “Pavement Ends 1 Mile Ahead“. We could not see where the map said there was no pavement so we traveled even further, blissfully thinking the big sign was just a mistake. You can see where this story is going right?

Later, when the pavement ended, we stopped the little white car and actually got out and stood at the edge of the pavement in amazement. The Pavement Ended!!! I took a picture. My husband wandered around the corner to “scope it out” and we agree that the “road less traveled” would be our choice. Twenty-three miles of dirt road, some of it one lane with turn outs for other cars, carved out of stone cliffs. Twenty-three miles following the shores of beautiful Apache Lake. Twenty-three miles of the celebrated Arizona landscape. My husband kept his eye on the one lane road with hundreds of feet between us and the bottom of the canyon…I had a wonderful time! We stopped and took pictures of cliffs that left me dizzy. Oh my, did my heart leap with joy at the shear beauty of it all.

Apache Trail it was called. The road had been made when the dam was built so that supplies could be brought over from Mesa, AZ. It took them three days to make the trip one way. They had actually used the trails that the Apaches were using before they were exported from Arizona.

We did see and pass several cars on this drive, so we were not alone in this choice. At Mile Post 220 the pavement began again. Others had chosen to make the drive simply because it is such a famous scenic route in Arizona. The fact that we didn’t know about it, though, made it feel as thought we had made a wonderful discovery. That we wanted to tell all the world about it is not surprising at all. We stopped at “Tortilla Flats”, drank a much needed cold drink, took more pictures and kept trucking until we arrived home. Very late but still home!
Barbara sitting on the saddle
bar stool at Tortilla Flats.

The “road less traveled”… our memorable experience of the day! We will add it to the list.

Thank you for reading.

b

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