Days Fifty-Nine and Sixty

Prescott, AZ

Day Fifty-Nine

I slept in today, quite happily. The past 270 miles across Arizona have been incredible, but I was really tired, especially after the epic climb through Jerome.

I walked downtown to see the sights of Prescott. I walked around the courthouse square, including the legendary Whiskey Row. There were once 40 saloons on Whiskey Row, and ambitious  cowboys visiting Prescott used to enjoy a drink in  every one of them. There are still many drinking establishments, but there are also numerous shops.  I went to a bookstore called The Worm (" since 1968" ). There were lots of interesting Arizona books, but I managed to limit myself to two.

Then I went to the Palace Saloon for lunch. This place dates back to the 1870's. It burned down in 1883 with many other Whiskey Row saloons, but it was rebuilt even better, including a 20 foot long bar. On July 14, 1900, another fire destroyed four blocks of downtown Prescott, including much of Whiskey Row and the " fireproof" Palace. However, patrons were able to move the bar and most of the liquor across the street to the courthouse lawn, where drinks were served as the fire burned. It was rebuilt in grand Neo-Classical Revival  style  as the Palace Hotel & Saloon in 1901. Although it survived Prohibition, eventually the Palace closed and fell into disrepair. Restoration began in 1996, and the Palace found new life as a restaurant.

Lunch was absolutely fantastic. I later saw a quote from Frommer's that said, " If you're in town for only one meal, have it here." It was good advice. I started out with a bowl of corn chowder with potatoes and bacon. That was good, but the barbecue chicken sandwich was even better. It was a grilled chicken breast covered with barbecue sauce and pepperjack cheese, all on focaccia bread. I can't remember the last time I had a meal that good.

Watching The Weather Channel and CNN Headline News later, I was shocked to see that Albany, Texas, a  town that had been so dry when I visited a few weeks ago, was terribly flooded. I recognized some of the landmarks in the video footage, including the drilling rig at the south end of town. A girl  was missing. I learned later that she was found dead.

Day Sixty

I was going to ride to Ash Fork today, but this morning I changed my mind. I wasn't really anxious to leave, and Prescott was starting to grow on me. It wasn't the ideal way to celebrate my sixtieth day on the road (riding sixty miles would have been more appropriate), but it was a nice day nonetheless.

Recalling a Mail Boxes Etc in town, I went through my panniers looking for extras to send home. Since it was nearly May and I was past the high mountains, I figured it was safe to send home most of my cold weather clothing. I don't anticipate temperatures below 30 degrees anymore.

With a five-pound sack in hand, I headed toward downtown Prescott. After mailing my stuff (which is getting more expensive as I get further from Chicago), I looked for a place to eat lunch. There were many appealing options, for a change. I probably could have had another great meal at The Palace, but I wanted to try a different place. I settled on the Gurley Street Grill. I had toasted cheese ravioli in marinara sauce, and it was very good.

When I came back from my day's excursion, I worked on my web site. A brief but intense late afternoon storm came seemingly out of nowhere, and I was glad to be in my room.

Since I was craving breakfast for dinner, I decided to give the Country Kitchen a second chance. It was much better than Thursday night, especially the pancakes.

  Click here to see Prescott photos.

Copyright 2002-2013 David Johnsen. All rights reserved.