Thursday, November 23, 2017 (Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson, AZ)

Our sightseeing tour this morning started by heading a short distance north to highway 260 east...that leads to the Mogollon Rim. About 35 minutes later, we arrived at the Visitors Center...unfortunately, it is closed for the season but we had a look at the fabulous views. Elevation 7500 feet...and it was chilly up there with the wind!
(Picture from Ray)

We continued east along the highway and then turned south onto a forestry road. No views and heavily treed...but a beautiful area with lots of boondocking spots. After driving along for a bit, we decided to turn around...but we did score a big stash of chopped firewood. We had the wood loaded into the back of the car in no time and were back on the highway heading back towards the visitor center. The road we decided to take was opposite the center...and it didn't disappoint! Lots of great viewing areas...
One of the most striking geologic features in Arizona is the Mogollon Rim. This steep escarpment, measured in thousands of feet and hundreds of miles, begins just across the border in New Mexico and stretches diagonally two thirds of the way across Arizona. As such, it forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau and stands as one of the most impressive overlooks in the Grand Canyon State.

That precipitous drop-off is the star of this scenic drive, part of which traces the rim's edge across the Coconino. In so doing, it follows another feature of interest, the General Crook Trail which the famous Indian fighter blazed to his stronghold at Fort Apache.

When you're not on the rim, you'll still find much to see along this drive, as it winds through a forest well populated with wildlife and gives you a taste of canyon country in scenic East Clear Creek and Barbershop canyons.
That's Ray and Deb in the distance...
A close up...

 (Picture from Ray)

Deb, me and Ray...
The highway down below...
There were actually a number of view points along the road...and we stopped at them all!

Dropping as much as 2,000 feet in some areas, the Rim provides some of the most far-reaching scenery in Arizona. Views stretch from its rocky precipice to Four Peaks of the Mazatzals northeast of Phoenix.

Needless to say, sightseeing is a favorite activity along the Rim, but this forest area also boasts a historic system of hiking and horseback trails, a couple of picturesque lakes for boating and fishing, and backcountry skiing for wilderness adventurers.

We stopped at Woods Canyon Lake...great spot for a break and a leg stretch. We passed many campgrounds but they were all closed for the season as it's normally a lot colder this time of year.

We continued along the gravel road for quite a distance...until it got a little too rough for "Freddie the Ford" and then turned around and headed back. We found a couple more spots to check out. Someone had camped here, making a big fire pit...wouldn't want to wander around in the dark here!
Panorama view...
A spot called Promontory Point...

Deb and I are parked under those two tall trees just to the right of the dead tree...
There we are...
Power lines cut a swath through the forest below...

(Picture from Ray)

This is an optical illusion...there is NO way I would sit at the very edge of a cliff! Thanks for the picture, Deb.
Now on our way back down the highway we passed this colourful cut through the hillside. To give you an idea how long the climb is, we travelled downgrade for almost 20 minutes...
Ray and I poured over our cell phones trying to find a place for dinner. We really wanted to find a brew pub but that was a no go. As a matter of fact, very little was open in is Thanksgiving Day! So we went back the casino...deciding to just walk over to the buffet. Well, it seemed like everyone in Payson that was not cooking or attending a homemade Thanksgiving Dinner was at the buffet and there was about an hour and a half wait. Okay...that's not going to work, so back to the car we went for a little drive around to see if we could find SOME place for a late lunch.

We found the Pour House Bar and Grill opened...but they weren't serving any food today. Finally, we found Tiny's Family this time we were starving! They had some Thanksgiving Dinner of which was turkey dinner, and it was free! Your drinks cost $2...basically a donation. Deb and I had that, while Ray and Steve had other items off the special menu (Steve breaded shrimp and Ray steak and shrimp). It was a good "homemade" dinner that included pumpkin pie for all. Thanks for picking up the tab, Ray!

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!


  1. Thanks sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner to wind up your day !

  2. A great adventure! Too bad the road got so rough we had to turn around. :)

  3. What a gorgeous country we live in! Amazing views on your trip. I'm glad to see you didn't go to the edge of those overhanging rocks. There is always danger in it breaking off no matter how thick. Finding a place to eat Thanksgiving Day is tricky. We had this problem in Atlanta one year. I had cooked the big Thanksgiving meal earlier. We ended up at Steak n Shake!

    1. It certainly is. Our first year on the road we forgot about American Thankgiving and almost had no place to stay. Luckily the state park we were in had a cancellation. Lesson learned!