Bob had a carpet inspection in Payson, AZ, today, so I rode along for the sightseeing. We drove about an hour northeast of Phoenix, up into the mountains, through the Tonto National Forest, to the Mogollon Rim. My guidebook says:
“Nowhere in Arizona saw more bloody battles between Indians and white men, ranchers and rustlers, homesteaders and wild animals. It was this authentic Wild West quality that led Western novelist Zane Grey to fall in love with the area in the early 1900s.”
This is known as “Zane Grey Country,” and it’s beautiful. He had a cabin there for many years and wrote many novels about the region. With mountain scenery, it reminded me a little of Colorado, but with a desert ambiance–pinyon pine and juniper plus cactus. Lots of rustic cabins. It was about ten degrees cooler than in Phoenix, and the air was pristine. Like Zane Grey, I just fell in love with this area.
We rode down Historic Main Street, then had the prime-rib buffet lunch at the Cedar Ridge Restaurant in the Mazatzal Casino, owned by the Tonto Apache tribe. The word “Tonto” means crazy or foolish, and was given to the Indians by the other Apaches because of their willingness to live near the white man.
Lovely Payson–I plan to go back again and explore more. Also to begin reading Zane Grey, starting with Riders of the Purple Sage.