The Metropolitan Cathedral in Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 5, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's not the Destination - It's the Journey!

It was only a couple of months ago that we experienced Mexico's fantastic Copper Canyon by train. And we loved it! Riding the rails while looking at gorgeous scenery under clear blue skies just can't be beat. So when we were invited to see the Verde Canyon (often called Arizona's other Grand Canyon!) the same way, we jumped at the opportunity.

Verde Canyon Railroad has been operating scenic tours of the canyon since 1990. An average of 90,000 people per year take this relaxing 4 hour trip. They can add two more this year!

We arrived at the depot about an hour early. This gives you ample time to wander through the depot and have a look at the museum that explains a little about the history of the railroad and the Clarkdale area.

Verde Railroad Museum

Regular cars alternate with open air cars.

Great paint job on the locomotives!

There are more than 30 bald and golden eagles living in the canyon, so we were hoping to be able to spot them along the way!

The trail boards at 12:45pm so that everybody is ready for the 1:00pm departure...and the wheels started rolling at exactly 1:00pm. We love it when things happen on time right on time.

We were spoiled and were put in the first class car! 

We were delivered champagne to start off the trip!

Very comfy seating in first class. Sometimes it's nice to be spoiled!

Buffet style snacks too!

I tried to get a decent photo of our hostess Amber, but the train moves around quite a bit and it was tough to get one that was in focus. So it just didn't happen, but we wanted to mention that she was really good and we enjoyed her hospitality! She looked after everyone in the car really well, including quickly and cheerfully cleaning up when one of the guests spilled their drink. I overheard her mention that this happens quite regularly on the moving train.

And we were off!

The Verde River. And, clear blue Arizona sky!

We go over a couple of bridges to get to the canyon itself.

We spent a lot of time in our outdoor car...as did most people.

We think there were 4 coach class cars, and 4 first class cars. And when you include the alternating outdoor cars, it was a pretty long train. Oh, and a service car and two locomotives, and the caboose!

Beautiful Arizona scenery...and we're not even in the canyon yet!

Entering the canyon, there are high cliff walls.

The red rocks of the Verde Canyon.

The outdoor cars have nice shade canopies. Everybody is watching for the eagles!

The caboose is available to rent for private parties!

Lots of photo opportunities.

After 20 miles, at a nice relaxing speed of 15 mph, we stopped at the "town" of Perkinsville. At one time there were 10 or 12 families living here, with a school and a store. But now, the town is essentially used for the train engines to disconnect and move along a side rail to hook onto the other end of the train for the ride back to Clarkdale.

The abandoned town of Perkinsville was used as a film set for the old How the West was Won television series back in the early '60's.

The locomotives being moved to the other end of the train.

And then we headed back the way we came.

Just watchin' the scenery go by.

It's spring, and the cottonwood trees are becoming green.

At $89.95 per person, it's not cheap. But for a special event, or just a treat, then it's worth it. In fact there were two different people in our car celebrating birthdays. 

In coach class, it's $64.95, so we think that if you're going to go it's worth it to spend the extra $25 for first class. More comfortable, not likely to be any children, food and a complimentary drink, and certainly more attention to service in first class. Bar service at your seat, with reasonably priced (my Corona was $4) drinks available. 

Make sure you have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions to find out all the pertinent info about your excursion.

Oh, also...if you have tickets booked and you're touring in your RV, they allow you to spend a night drycamping in their parking lot before and/or after your train journey...which is exactly what we did. We love companies that allow this!

We had a great afternoon on the rails. Thanks to Verde Canyon Railroad for sponsoring our trip! As always, all opinions are our own.

From there, we drove about 8 miles (13 kms) towards Sedona and found a great boondocking overnight spot in Coconino National Forest....

End of a great day!


22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It was a wonderful trip and the scenery was beautiful.

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  2. Nicely done. Sometimes you just gotta splurge a little.

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    1. Thank you Bob! I think there is very little access to the Verde Canyon so this is probably one of the best ways to see it.

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  3. Glad you had a chance to take that train, we loved it and managed to get b2 free first class tickets, that was a bonus.
    The scenery was amazing as you saw.
    Sedona again is a touristy place well known their vortexes and beautiful red scenery, even some amazing scenic drives as well.
    Enjoy!

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    1. So glad that you were able to do the train trip as well and 2 free tickets to boot!

      We love the area around Sedona, it is truly beautiful but I am afraid to say that we could entirely do without the town itself. It is way to touristy for us.

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  4. So what's the trick with these free first class tickets? Looks like a wonderful day. Love the scenery and your accommodations while enjoying it. Nice that they will let you boondock there. Anxious to see what you do in Sedona.

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    1. The commenter above, George mentioned in an earlier post that he got his free tickets by agreeing to sit down and listen to a timeshare/vacation rental sales pitch.

      Yes, the scenery was beautiful and it was such a nice leisurely trip so it gave you lots of time to look around. It was a nice bonus being able to boondock in their parking lot and it was such a nice quiet night there too.

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  5. I've never even heard of this train ride... sounds great! Maybe some day.....

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    1. It is a very popular one and what makes it nicer is that the train cars are vintage although the insides have been refitted. Hope you are able to do this trip one day.

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  6. So pretty, what a great way to spend a day!

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    1. It certainly was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

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  7. Now that is a very special treat. What a wonderful day! Beautiful photos.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Paul and Marsha. It was a perfect day and a great way to spend an afternoon

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  8. That looks like such a fantastic thing to do! I bet Sam and Donna would enjoy that......
    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
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    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
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    1. When we were riding along in the train that is actually what we thought. I know that Sam and Donna would love this train ride, I sure hope one day that they can make it down here so they can do the trip too.

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  9. Reminds me of taking the Chepe in Chihuahua!

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    1. This was a great trip but El Chepe was better. We loved the viewing cars and thought they would be an added bonus on El Chepe.

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  10. John is a train but and would enjoy the tour emensly. Thanks for the great information.

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    Replies
    1. If he likes trains then yes, he would love this tour! The cars and engines are vintage and the scenery is fantastic. It's a nice relaxing ride.

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  11. Great way to spend the day! We have friends who have taken this trip also, and loved it.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, what's not love about it! :-)

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