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Verde Canyon Railroad, Sedona…

Posted by on December 17, 2013

The fella on the right is from Florida. He said there alligators everywhere…even in his back yard! No thanks! I’m getting like my Mom in her old age…I enjoy striking up a conversation with folks I meet along the way and making new friends. My Mom, years ago, was traveling in Greece…visiting a remote Greek Island. She saw an American and began talking with him. Turns out it was Judge Marshall Hocket, a good friend of mine for the last 25 years. Small world.

DECEMBER 17, 2013. 


Locomotive passing through one of the tunnels along the route.

Located near Sedona, the Verde Canyon Railroad is a heritage railroad running between Clarkdale and Perkinsville in Arizona. The passenger train operates on 20 miles of tracks of the Arizona Central Railroad, a short-line. Two FP7 locomotives, of only twelve remaining in North America, are the muscle that pulls the passenger cars. The Railroad has its depot, headquarters and a railroad museum in Clarkdale, about 25 miles southwest of Sedona. We took a 4 hour scenic ride in a first-class style renovated railroad car pulled by one of the vintage locomotives I mentioned.. First class service includes spacious living room-style seating near panoramic windows. We had full food and drink service and fun “entertainment” by both the conductor and the young gal who was the bartender. They alerted us to the best photo opportunities as we chugged along the tracks, answered any and all questions we had about the train and the terrain (no pun intended) and were generally just fun companions on the trip.

We even had a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus. They passed out songbooks and led a sing-along to “Jingle Bells” and a couple of other Christmas songs. It sounds really corny, but given the season it was pretty neat. (Either that or, more likely, I’m getting older and now appreciate these kinds of things!) All the passengers riding in our car were friendly folks out having a good time just as we were doing. As always, I chatted with anyone who’d listen and met a guy vacationing with his wife from Florida. I mentioned to him that we’re considering spending next winter in Florida, and that caught his attention a bit. Turns out he lives on a lake and has alligators right in his back yard. He said as long as you don’t feed them, they pretty much stick to themselves. However, there are a couple of deaths each year in Florida the result of an attack. He told me that the authorities recently caught and either killed or re-located a ‘gator that was twelve and a half feet long, and weighed 600 pounds. No thank you. So if we do end up next year in Florida for the winter, I’m going to make darn sure that there aren’t any alligators in the neighborhood. We leave tomorrow, heading to Lake Havasu. This stop in Sedona has been by far our best yet. We loved all the places and activities there.  To cap off our stay in Sedona, riding the rails on the Wilderness Train was and experience we’ll not forget.

Our Club Car on the Verde Wilderness Train.

Our Club Car on the Verde Wilderness Train.


There is no way to access this very remote area other than on the train.


We even had a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus. It’s amazing how when you get to be my age these kinds of things are fun. For so many years I would have thought, “How terribly corny.”

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