U Turn – Part 1

Posted: January 19, 2012 in 2011 summer trip
Tags: , , , , , , ,
June 29, 2011

Superior, Arizona...Filming of U Turn

Skipped a day yesterday….at everything.  We spent a wonderful time just relaxing at the site reading books.  Not much to report other than that.  Today we made up for it traveling for most of the day deep into southern Arizona territory.

A few years back we watched an off-beat movie starring Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Jennifer Lopez called U Turn.  It is about a man that finds himself in over his head when he becomes involved with a couple (who are just not quite all there in the head) when his car breaks down in a small town in southeast Arizona.  We have decided to go visit the town as it is only an hour or so south of where we are now.  Of course as is our style we will take the scenic route both there and back.  What is the saying?  It is not about the destination, but instead the journey there.

Our drive takes us first down Hwy 73 through Fort Apache, a small Indian town that was once an army post in the late 1800’s.  The town has not really grown much since then and like most Indian towns is comprised mainly of run down or make-shift homes.  Along the Hwy we had to slow several times for horses that roamed freely, including on the road.  But even so this town has something that I think big cities don’t.  It is able to live without all the distractions of constantly trying to obtain the latest and greatest.

Back on Hwy 60/77 our travels take us deep into the the canyons and switchbacks.  After the last two years I believe we are finally becoming pros at traveling these roads.  This by no means is anything like the Million Dollar Hwy we traveled last year in Colorado.

switchback along hwy 60/77

The road curved several times before finally crossing the canyon bottom and river.

Beautiful stretch of road runs from the mountains into the desert below

As we descended into the desert region the readout in our truck quickly jumped from 85….90….85….100….to top out at 106 degrees Fahrenheit.  I thought we were heading to Superior not Hades.  We were so enthralled about the reading of the temperature that we nearly missed the destination of our curiosity today.  Superior is a very small town approximately 45 minutes outside of Phoenix.  The main street had some very interesting buildings, including this high school that ended at the mountain base.  We wondered if the building had central air as it sported several jutting window units.  As this area probably never gets that cold it would seem that A/C would be imperative here.

The downtown area was very clean and well kept.  As we strolled down the main street, and luckily it was a very short street for these temperatures, we found a building sporting several posters of movies that were filmed here or in the surrounding areas, including U Turn.  The building fronts as a small museum of sorts but to our disappointment was not open at this time.  Beside with Shyla with us there was really not anywhere to put her if we wanted to visit.  In this heat we would have roast dog in less than 15 minutes.

We did find the tiniest little town park to ever have been created.  It really consisted only on a beautiful veranda.  All the beams were made from full timber logs.  The ground was paved in bricks and with a water outlet nearby and a couple of benches made for a nice place to stretch our legs and stay shaded too.

It was so hot here...our gauge in the truck read 116 degree F. Even in the shade there was little relief for this dark fury beast!

Across the street we eyed an old fashioned ice cream parlor.  It felt so good in the air conditioned building with cool creamy treats sliding down our throats.  Andrew being his social self started talking up the young girl serving us.  We must have made her day as it did not look like business was booming on this hot summer day.  Andrew began by asking about the history of the film industry here.  She really didn’t know too much even though the building was only 2 over from hers.  Hmmm…must not be as big as we thought….Guess we are not going to be meeting any big name actors/actresses after all.  Thinking she might be a life long local he asked if she had ever lived anywhere else.  Strangely she thought living in the next town 10 miles down was a huge move.  She was pleased to tell us that she hadn’t liked it too much though and moved back this past year.  Andrew has one on her I guess….probably just about everyone with his 10,000 mile move to the US.

Bon Appetit

Further down the street we came upon these unusual structures.  I have to admit, I was really baffled by them.  I was wondering if they were constructed to provide shelter and a place to clean up for those without homes.  I even wondered if maybe they might be remnants of structures from years back….when the west was just beginning to be discovered.  Proved that my imaginations was getting the best of me.  These were actually stalls for venders so that they had shade and water on trading days.

At first glance I wondered if these might be open huts or something for those traveling.

On closer inspection we found that the only thing inside was a sink and the water to it was not even working in them at this time.

Beyond the town’s main street there is not much else here and so we have decided to continue our journey back home……via the scenic route!

  1. Bev Sykes says:

    Hi you two! What an amazing place Superior is. How about the style and size of the high school? It’s certainly a contrast to the surrounding countryside. Made me wonder where all the kids come from and what work there is in the area (?) Quite a ride down those steep ascents (and up again) I bet. Thanks for taking me there so effortlessly on my part. love Mum/Bev xx

  2. triptracker says:

    It was pretty need little street/town? We went looking for this repair shop that is also featured in the movie but didn’t locate it. If you haven’t seen the movie you might want to check it out. It was a little quirky but very entertaining as it was not the run of the mill Hollywood movie.

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