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 teeters on the edge of Grand Canyon

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.

Visiting Boot Hill at Tombstone, Arizona

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. 

Spud gets a bit too close to the cacti in Arizona's Sonoran desert

Even after 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. 

Spud pays his cash to stand in 4 states at once

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, New Mexico and Arizona all at one time! He was not surprised to find that this too carried an admission charge … he figures the upkeep on the gift shop there must be pretty high.

Spud searches for remnants of Montezuma...

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!



More adventures in the Valley of the Sun

The Rustlin' Russet

The Lost Dutchman's Mine

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