It was the magnificence of the Grand Canyon
that first drew Spud to Arizona in September of 1990. The artistry of
the Colorado River's carvings left an impression on Spud that he would
remember to this day had he not had his head crushed by a runaway car
at one of the campgrounds.
Spud was polishing his eyes in preparation
for a full day of sightseeing when he was hit by a Honda Prelude that
didn't have it's emergency brake on. He didn't even see it coming. The
car's wheels crushed the top part of his skull and tore both ears from
their holes. Spud had to be airlifted to a hospital in Flagstaff where
he underwent emergency surgery. The surgeons tried desperately to reconstruct
Spud's shattered cranium and to save his ears. Six hours later the doctors
emerged from the operating room torn with their results: Spud would
survive, but his ears could not be reattached and the skull damage would
render him a vegetable for the rest of his life.
Although Spud's first trip
to Arizona was traumatic to say the least, he was undaunted and had
to make a return visit. That excursion happened in November of 1992.
Eager to see the desert landscape that Arizona is so famous for, he
went straight to the Saguaro National Forest near Tucson to view the
incredible giant Saguaro cacti. Spud found out that the immense spines
were not very welcoming when he got a bit too close to them.
suffering the trauma to his skull and the pin-cushion reception on his
previous two visits, Spud traveled once again to the Valley of the Sun
in July of 1995, determined to see the rest of the beautiful state.
First stop on this next adventure was to
travel to the historic old west town of Tombstone. Boot Hill fascinated
Spud ... or was it the fact that he had to travel through a gift shop
to access the Boot Hill graveyard? After purchasing a black velvet poster
of Wyatt Earp, he finally managed to see the famous burial ground so
prized in American history.
Being the type of traveler
that Spud is, he always tries to see as much as possible in the shortest
period of time. He managed to achieve this feat by seeing four states
at once - namely at the 4-corners national monument. There he managed
to see Colorado, Utah,
and Arizona all at one time! He was not surprised
to find that this too carried an admission charge
the upkeep on the gift shop there must be pretty high.
Spud had so much fun
paying admission prices on his last trip to Arizona
that he simply had to return once again; this time in March of 1997.
He immersed himself in the culture of the ancient ones on his way to
the impressive ruin known as Montezuma's Castle in north central Arizona.
This collection of dwellings was not built by the Aztec in homage to
the emperor Montezuma as originally thought, but instead were homes
for the Sinagua farmers who built the structures around 800 years ago.
Legend has it that the Sinagua left their homes after finding out that
McDonald's had no intention of opening a restaurant nearby.
Spud saw even more in Arizona in 1999!
Click me for part 2!