Don’t Do What We Did . . .

Since this morning was our train ride day, we headed out about 10:45am for our 1pm trip. The reason for the early start was that we wanted to get some lunch first. Riding in Coach (we’re cheap, and First Class was $60 more), we would only have snacks and drinks available on the 4 hour trip.

So getting into Cottonwood proper, we stopped off at the Carl’s Jr. next to Wal-Mart. Although we may have eaten at a Carl’s more recently, the last time I really remember was at the one in Fairbanks, AK. We ate there a number of times when we spent five months up there in the summer of 2008.

Jan had a Cheeseburger with Jalapeno Poppers, and I had the El Diablo Burger with Fries. Really good burgers, both.

We arrived at the Verde Canyon Railroad depot about noon and picked up our tickets at Will Call. Of course after being told to pick up our tickets before noon, we then had to wait 45 minutes before we could board for the 1pm departure.

Our coach was a Pullman passenger coach seating 74 people, and has snack bar at one end and a bathroom at  the other.

Cottonwood Coach

In addition, each Coach and First Class car had access to an open air for better viewing

Open Air Coach

Inside the seating is two-by-two, and the seats were pretty comfortable.

Inside Cottonwood

We pulled out of the depot a couple of minutes after 1pm, and quickly headed into the Verde River Canyon. The 76 mile trip, 38 out and back, takes about 4 hours, including a 15 minute layover in Perkinsville.

We quickly began to encounter some amazing rock formations on the cliff sides.

Verde RR 1

Verde RR 2

Then there’s the tunnel.

Verde RR Tunnel

At 680 feet long, this curved tunnel is unusual for two reasons. One, because it’s curved, it gets completely dark inside for a short period, especially because there are no lights on in the coach.  Two, is because the entire tunnel was completed in only one year, by only 25 Swedes. That’s a lot of blasting.

Verde RR 3

Arriving at Perkinsville, the halfway point, and the only time on the train you can smoke, and only on the open-air car. we waited for about 15 minutes so the engines could do a ‘runaround’ to get back in front of the train.


There is a side track next to the mainline that allows the two engines to move back to what is now the front for the trip home.

Perkinsville Runaround

Note now that the caboose that was at the rear on the trip is now next to the engines. And as we’ve seen on other excursion trains like this, the seat backs flip over to the other side of the seat cushion, so you aren’t riding backwards going home.

Verde RR on Curve

One thing I found interesting is all the cacti that manage to grow out of solid rock.

Verde RR Cactus

Verde RR Cactus 2

And of course the continues great views

Verde RR 4

Verde RR 5

Verde RR 6

We really enjoyed the ride and the great views. The trip was well worth the cost. But don’t do what we did. Don’t sit on the left side of the coach. Sit on the right side. The right side has the best view of the canyon, and you’re not in the sun on the ride home.

We pulled back into the depot a little before 5pm and were quickly headed out. Since we had eaten about 11, and it was now after 5, we decided to continue down to Camp Verde and have dinner at Crusty’s Pizza.

We first ate here during our visit in 2011, and it was good enough to try again. And like last time, we both had the Baked Spaghetti. I got the large order,

Crusty's Pizza 1

while Jan got the 1/2 order.

Crusty's Pizza 2

And like last time, we had plenty of leftovers, since I only ate about 1/3 of mine, and Jan didn’t even get through 1/2 of hers. Part of the reason is that the meal also comes with a large salad, as well as the Cheesy Garlic Bread.

Jan said the sauce was almost as good as hers. I said it was nowhere near as good as hers.

After all,she knows where I sleep.


Thought for the Day:

Never Question Authority. They Don’t Know Either.