Thursday, July 31, 2014

Historic Snow Cap!

    What is a better summer adventure than a high country road trip that includes both the great American cheeseburger with fries and a real, ice cream strawberry milkshake?  And no place in Arizona offers these three summer legends better than Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Arizona. 
    After World War II average Americans discovered the joy of the great American road trip in their very own family cars.  No highway carried more automobiles into the American West than the Route 66 which passed right through the center of Seligman, AZ.
    In 1953 Seligman resident Juan Delgadillo decided to take advantage of all this highway traffic.  He built the Snow Cap Drive-In from scrap lumber salvaged from the Santa Fe Railroad yard and it has now been serving up great, roadside food along with a large helping of Delgadillo humor for sixty-four years.
    Menu items listed such offerings as “cheeseburger with cheese” and the famous “dead chicken” sandwich.   Juan advertizing scheme included cutting the roof off of his 1936 Chevrolet and decorating it with horns, paint and an artificial Christmas tree.  The Snow Cap opened in the time known today as Classic Americana and all of those fun, family elements can still be found today at this drive-in along America’s historic Mother Road.
    Juan Delgadillo died in 2004 but the Snow Cap, its good food and the family humor is kept alive today by Juan’s daughter and son who will still greet you at the old, drive-in’s food counter.
    Seligman is today the gateway to many northwestern Arizona adventures.  The longest stretch of Route 66 begins here and ends some 160 miles later in Topock, Arizona.  It offers a wonderful, leisurely drive through the many small Arizona towns that once saw millions of Americans and their automobiles pass through their small town centers.
    Along this stretch of highway is also found the Grand Canyon Caverns that offers a great, family adventure into their amazing underground caverns. Here too is found the road that leads to Hualapai Hilltop which is the trailhead for any hiker going to the Havasupai Indian Reservation and those spectacular, blue-green waterfalls.
    So it’s summer and it must surely be time for an Arizona road trip!   Get out and make your way to the historic Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman.  You will have a great time in a fun, family friendly place to eat, enjoy the cooler temperatures found in the high country of Arizona and give yourself the opportunity to discover for yourself some wonderful Arizona adventures.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Arizona Swimming Holes

     As the long hot summer begins to give way to the reality of the beginning of another school year, surely there is time to get out one more time and escape to Arizona’s cool high country.  One classic activity of summer, enjoyed everywhere in the world and by people of all ages, is to discover and to take a cool dip in a local swimming hole.  Arizona has some incredible swimming holes! Many are located along local high country rivers and streams within two hours of driving time from Anthem.
    Some can be driven right up to while others require a little hiking.  All are a fun, refreshing and cool way to end another year of summer vacation.  Here are a few of Arizona’s most popular and free swimming holes…

Payson area…

1.    Water Wheel Falls and Campground are found just 10 miles north of Payson on Houston Mesa Road.  Located on the banks of the East Verde River, this is a great family swimming hole and easily to access with a short hike.   Link:
2.    Ellison Creek is another popular East Verde River swimming hole about 1 mile north of the Water Wheels Falls.  It is near the Houston Mesa Campground and requires a short hike to reach.  Link:

Camp Verde area…

1.    Clear Creek is one of the easier swimming holes to reach, as it is just a few hundred yards from the Clear Creek Campground.  The swimming areas are not as deep as other swimming holes but the easy access makes it a popular destination. Link -

2.    Fossil Creek is one of two “Wild and Scenic rivers found in Arizona.  Here over 30 million gallons of water gush from a series of springs under the Mogollon Rim each day at a constant 70 degrees.  The swimming holes are located some 30 miles southeast of Camp Verde.  When swimming hole traffic gets too heavy, the Forest Service will close the access road. Link -

3.    “The Bull Pen” on West Clear Creek is one of the classic swimming holes in the Camp Verde area.  The sandy beach and rope swing makes this a very popular destination for swimming. Link –

4.    Wet Beaver Creek has an excellent swimming hole for kids with a fun-filled rope swing.  It is located near the intersection of AZ-179 and I-17, just ¼ mile from the Beaver Creek Campground. Link -

Sedona area…

    The Sedona area has many wonderful swimming holes including central Arizona’s largest swimming hole known as “The Crack”.  Recent fires have closed some swimming holes located in Oak Creek Canyon, but most of the areas cool pools are still open to enjoy.  A local B&B’s website has highlighted a dozen of the Sedona areas best swimming holes -

     Please remember your good swimming hole etiquette that includes to not use any glass containers, to take out anything you take in and to always be courteous to other swimmers.  You will want to wear tennis shoes or sturdy, water shoes that you can get wet when you swim.  You do not want to take off your shoes as the swimming holes can be slippery and contain sharp items.  Some swimming holes are shaded, some are in full sunshine – sunscreen is a must!

Helpful links - ; ;

Photo Credit - Town of Payson

Water Wheel near Payson

East Verde River

Another view of East Verde River

East Verde River

East Verde River

East Verde River

Fossil Creek Waterfall


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Arizona Summer Astronomy

     Arizona’s clear, endless nighttime sky makes watching the starry universe not only a major industry for professional astronomers but also a most educational and enjoyable hobby for the whole family.  Across Arizona both professional and amateur astronomers will have their telescopes pointed toward the heavens this summer, and all you have to do is get out and discover the incredible celestial worlds that show up above our heads each night once the hot, summer sun goes down.
    Finding the right place to view the nighttime sky can be a challenge since there are so many places and groups from which to choose.  So here is a listing of great astronomy possibilities both near to Anthem and across Arizona, that you and your family can join up with to discover for yourself the amazing cosmos.

     The Challenger Space Center in Glendale is the closest facility to Anthem that offers a wonderful Saturday night astronomy experience each month of the year.  Their Family Star Night Event is a great outing for the entire family.  There is a $7/person cost; here is their website link -
      There are three nearby astronomy groups that offer nighttime viewing on various evening throughout the year including summer evenings.  The Phoenix Astronomical Society,, the West Valley Astronomy Club in Surprise,, and the Saguaro Astronomy Club in Glendale, Check out their website for their viewing calendars.
    The Arizona Science Museum’s Imax/Planetarium in downtown Phoenix is open to the public all summer and a great place to begin learning about the Arizona sky.  Their Arizona Skies program is presented in the cool theatre and a great introduction for anyone interested in astronomy.
    Some incredible opportunities to join with knowledgeable astronomy groups are found across Arizona.  Here are several groups/places we highly recommend:
-Astronomers of the Verde Valley -

-Arizona State Park Star Parties -

-Lowell Observatory Summer Camp, Flagstaff -

-Flandrau Science Center, Tucson -

-Kitt Peak Observatory, west of Tucson -

    Another way to be aware of what’s going on in our area with astronomy is to follow The Night Sky Network sponsored by Astronomical Society of the Pacific, NASA, and the JPL.  Just put in our 85086 Zip Code and get the latest information about astronomy -  They even have a free, family-friendly astronomy Widget that can be downloaded to our various devices.

Kitt Peak - Photo Credit: National Optical Astronomy Observatory

Challenger Space Center

Entrance of Challenger Space Center

Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff

Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lighthouses of Arizona!

     There are some surprising sights found around this Grand Canyon state known as Arizona. There is the sight of Rocky the Green Frog near Congress, the World Smallest Museum in Superior and of course, the world famous “The Thing” found along I-10 near Dragoon.  But just maybe the most surprising sights you can see in our state best known for its Grand Canyon and dry desert landscapes are the 19 functioning lighthouses that are found warning boats of the surprisingly dangerous shorelines of Lake Havasu.  Yep, 19 real, functioning lighthouses and all modeled after famous lighthouses found around the United States and Canada.
    Lake Havasu City, located on the shore of Lake Havasu, is probably best known as the home of London Bridge or for the huge gathering of Spring Break students looking to enjoy the cool waters and many recreational activities that the Colorado River offers.  But now this series of unique and beautiful lighthouses found along the 40-miles of shoreline of Lake Havasu gives us all another good reason to enjoy all the beauty and cool, water fun of this Arizona river front city.
    The idea for the lighthouses around Lake Havasu began in 2000 when local resident became concerned about the many nighttime accidents that were occurring on the lake.  The Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, a non-profit group under the leadership of resident Bob Keller, was organized and convinced local boaters of the need for navigational lights on Lake Havasu.  And, wouldn’t it be an interesting twist if those navigational lights were built in the form of smaller replicas of famous lighthouses?
    The idea of replica lighthouses sold all doubters and the building and placement of Lake Havasu’s first lighthouse, modeled after West Quoddy, Maine, was erected in 2002.  Now a total of 24 replica lighthouses are found along the shoreline and near dangerous rock outcroppings on both the Arizona and California sides of the lake.
    Lighthouses on the Arizona side of the lake are replicas of real lighthouses found along the East Coast.  On the California side of the lake, the lighthouses are facsimiles of lighthouses found on the West Coast.  Along, the northern part of the lake, the lighthouses are reproductions of those found on the Great Lakes.  Twelve of the lighthouses can be found on Grant Island, the island accessed by traveling across London Bridge.
    One currently operating replica is modeled after the 193-foot tall Cape Catteras, North Carolina lighthouse that is the tallest lighthouse found in the United States.  The Lake Havasu replica is only 30 feet tall and it too is the tallest lighthouse found around the lake.
    Each replica lighthouse cost about $5000 to build, equip and erect.  Funds for many of the 24 already built lighthouses have come as family memorials for departed love ones.  The United States Coast Guard has designated some 36 appropriate sites for these important lighthouses, so the work and effort continues to complete this critical safety project.
    Thanks to the effort of the women and men of the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, Lake Havasu City now claims the title of the “American City with the most Lighthouses”. The club’s website has a wonderful interactive map ( showing the location of each lighthouses along with an abundance of interesting information.
    When all the Lake Havasu lighthouses are built, Arizona will then surpass Michigan as the state with the most lighthouses!  And if that is not a surprising and amazing Arizona fact, we don’t know one!
    So if you are looking to enjoy some cool water fun this summer, get out and travel to “Arizona’s Coastline” at Lake Havasu City.  Enjoy all the recreational activities found along the Colorado River and discover for yourself the many lighthouses now found in our Arizona.

Links:; Lake Havasu Visitor Center -

All Pictures belong to Bruce Howe, current president of the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club

Split Rock, MN

Main Buffalo, NY

East Quoddy, NB, Canada

Desert Rock, ME

Currituck, NC

Cape Hatteras, NC

Berwick, LA

Alpena, MI

Gray's Harbor, WA

Algoma, WI

White Shoals, MI w/ Bob Keller

Friday, July 4, 2014

Kayaking Arizona

     Arizona is best known for its beautiful desert environments and rugged mountain terrains. So it is somewhat surprising to learn that kayaking has become one of the fasting growing recreational sports for Arizonans and their families as they get out and discover the lakes and rivers of Arizona. 
      It was the Inuit and Aleut tribes of the Arctic region of North America that invented these small and highly buoyant watercrafts. Modern engineer have improved kayaks from the original animal skins stretch over a wooden frame design to modern, one and two person stable boats made from high-tech plastics. 
     Kayaks were the boat of choice for the first explorers of both the North and South Poles. Even though they became popular in Europe by the mid-1800s, it was the kayak races of the 1936 Berlin Olympics that brought the crafts attention to the American public. 
     Opportunities to kayak are found across Arizona. Such places as the nearby marina at Lake Pleasant, Goldwater and Watson Lakes in Prescott and twelve of Arizona’s State Parks including Alamo, Cattail Cove, Dead Horse Ranch, Patagonia Lake, etc., all are welcoming for those wishing to discover the slow, calm adventure of kayaking on their serene lakes. 
      A new stretch of the Verde River near Clarkdale has recently been opened and is ideal for a leisurely kayaking river journey. Tempe Town Lake has become a popular valley venue for kayaking. The City of Tempe offers classes in kayaking and even sponsors the opportunity to kayak Tempe Town Lake at night under the moonlight. 
      For those more skilled and looking for a greater adventure, white water kayaking is available in the Grand Canyon National Park as well as in parts of the Salt River Canyon. Trips through these areas are best scheduled with knowledgeable vendors and guides. 
     Most of the lakes have vendors who offer kayak and lifejacket rentals on weekends so that the whole family can safely enjoy these fun water outings with no equipment investment. Often younger children are put in the front seat of a tandem kayak so they too can enjoy the water adventure with their parents but be sure to check with each vendor to see if they have any age/size restrictions. 
     All these fun adventures still take place under that ol’ Arizona sun. So be sure you take plenty of sunscreen, wear a big brimmed hat and dress to get wet. So if you are looking for something that is fun and adventurous for you and the whole family to do, consider kayaking Arizona. 
     You will discover a natural world along the banks and shorelines of Arizona’s rivers and lakes that most never get the chance to see. 

Kayak vendor around Arizoina: -

Go Paddle Arizona, Lake Pleasant - 

Tempe Town Lake Rentals - 

 Moonlight Kayaking on Tempe Town Lake -

Prescott Outdoors -

Sedona Adventure Tours -

 Mild to Wild - -

Arizona State Parks -

Arizona Kayaking Club -

Pictures 1 - 4 belong to Go Paddle Arizona...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Whose Fault?

    The trip from Phoenix to Los Angles by way of Interstate 10 is not known for its awe-inspiring scenery nor great, recreational “pit-stops”.  Yet the truth is that once the LA bound traveler drops into the Coachella Valley near Indio, CA, a fascinating, family friendly geological excursion lies just to the north of the interstate freeway that is always packed with thousands of cars rushing westward toward the ocean.
    Here a small range of rugged mountains, known as the Indio Hills, arise from the desert soil and runs parallel along side of the busy freeway for nearly 20-miles.  These mountains are the visual “expression” of the world famous San Andreas Fault and mark the line in this valley in which the Pacific and North American Continental Plates come crashing together.
    The constant grinding of the two continental plates into each other in this Indio Hills area has resulted in an earthquake fault zone made up of unique geological formations.  Massive rocks that lie within 25 yards of each other thrust upward in opposing directions giving evidence to the tremendous geological forces at work when continental plates collide.  Rock formations known, as windows, arches and wind caves are common throughout the fault zone.  Many slot canyons are found here and create narrow trails that allow hikers in theory to rest one hand on the boulders of the North American Plate while resting their other hand on the Pacific Plate. 
    In addition a green belt of vegetation thrives along this fault line as underground water seeps toward the surface creating eleven, distinct desert oases.  Here in these green havens of the desert are found rare stands of the ancient California Fan Palm, the only palm tree native to western North America.
    Visiting this section of the 800-mile long San Andreas Fault is easy to do since the Indio Hills are so close to the freeway.   The first option is to stop at the Coachella Valley Preserve located within 3 miles north of the freeway.  Information about the San Andreas Fault and short hiking trails that pass over the shallow pools of cool water and beneath the many tall palm trees are in this 20,000-acre palm oases.  The visitor center closes during the hot summer but the preserve is open daily for the hiking and the picnicking public.
    The best option, we believe, is to purchase a tour of the San Andreas Fault Zone from one of the many tour companies available.  Our suggestion is to check out Desert Adventures Eco-Tours because this tour company has exclusive rights to enter an area in the Indio Hills known as the Metate Ranch.  This historic, desolate ranch is considered to be the prime area of unique and spectacular geological formations.  The afternoon summer heat can be brutal but early morning tours are available and comfortable. 
    So next time you looking for a way to break up the drive to LA, consider stopping and visiting the famous San Andreas Fault.  Get out of your car and explore for yourself this spectacular and unique geological region.      

Arizona Earthquake History -

Keep track of earthquakes in or near Arizona -