We are staying at an rv park in Apache Junction which is just east of Mesa which is just southeast of Phoenix. We thought we would stay here and make day trips around to check out the sights.
So we headed towards Tortilla Flats, which has a population of 6! On the way, we stopped by the Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum. Here you will find remnants of the Apacheland Movie Ranch which laid claim to being “the Western Movie Capital of the World”. Even though this goal was never reached, Apacheland did host the shooting of more than 17 television series, 29 full-length feature films and hundreds of commercials during its history that starred hundreds of famous celebrities. Apacheland was destroyed by a fire in 2004 and several saved buildings were moved to the site of the museum. One of these buildings is the Elvis Memorial Chapel…which was so named because it figured prominently in the Elvis Presley movie “Charro”.
On up the road we did stop in Tortilla Flats for lunch at the Superstition Saloon. Here you can sit on real saddles and belly up to the bar. The entire bar/restaurant is wallpapered with $1 bills…yes, we did leave one with our Living the Dream logo on it.
After leaving Tortilla Flats, the road gets pretty windy and there are some beautiful vistas. All of a sudden, the pavement ends and the dirt Apache Trail begins. When the Roosevelt Dam was being built, a road was needed to bring supplies in on. At that time the Apaches were on the reservation and were pretty much “persuaded” to hand dig this road…for historical purposes this road remains dirt and pretty much one lane. The new bridge over the Roosevelt Dan is quite a beautiful site.
We were in the need of a little exercise and luckily for us, we came around the corner and saw a sign for cliff dwellings at the Tonto National Monument. It was about a 1/2 mile walk into the lower cliff dwellings (the upper and larger dwellings were closed for the season). Both Rich and I have loved the opportunity to visit and explore this part of our history.
Our final destination of this loop was to the Besh Ba Gowah Archaelogical Park in Globe, AZ. Here you see the rock walls of a restored Salado Indian pueblo. As you strolled through the ancient ruins, 1700 luminaries flickered atop the walls and paths. Sitting around a bonfire, we enjoyed hot cocoa while singing Christmas carols and watching Indian dancers.