Riding the Verde Canyon Railway | Arizona
We stood in the open air cart, gathered around Don, one of the guides on the train as the engines switched from the front of the train to the caboose for our journey back to Clarkdale. On our two hour journey ride into Perkinsville, Don pointed out rock formations - the Budweiser frogs, the bathtub above the hole, the three monkeys "hear no evil", "speak no evil", "see no evil" (I had a hard time seeing those), the turtle - and told us bits of history as we traveled 10 - 13 miles per hour through the high desert just outside of Sedona, Arizona. He told us that two retired Berkeley professors lived in a remote red stone walled cabin above the creek, but were only there a couple months out of the year. That "Grandma" lived not too far from the retired professors and would often go outside to wave to the train when she heard it approaching. Her family had lived there since settling the land over a hundred years ago.
While stopped in Perkinsville, Don relayed a condensed history of how the area got its name from the Perkins family who had ranched here since the turn of the 20th century. A fellow train goer, face wrinkled from age, a cane in one hand, a cigarette in the other and a thick cable knit Mr. Rodgers-like sweater on interjected, "Julie Perkins son still lives in Clarkdale and was just arrested for rustling," before walking away as if he had dropped some hot celebrity gossip for us all. However, I was perplexed.
I looked around to similarly confused faces until someone asked, "What's rustling?"
True to form, my mom who loves old Westerns knew this random bit of trivia and whispered the answer into my ear, "It's stealing cattle."
Before long the engines had moved to the caboose and we were chugging along the tracks back to Clarkdale, a bit sleepy from sun exposure. With no cell phone service to check the facts we'd learned on the train, our eyes drooped with the slow sway of the passenger car.
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300 N. Broadway, Clarkdale AZ 86324
Coach Class Tickets: $64.95
First Class Tickets: $89.95