So Nick, our Guide/Driver, says there’s something else he wants to show us close by.
Lead on …
He points to a nearby tree and says: “See this tree?” “This is John Wayne Tree”.
What?! Really!! How so?
Nick says that back in 1947 when John Wayne was starring in Angel and the Badman
John had posed by this tree for a photo.
I now recalled seeing that photo somewhere? but I’ve been able to find it since.
This did seem seem to be an amazing coincidence though because there’s no way Nick could have known
that I had a blog called My Favorite Westerns where I had extensively featured The Duke.
Nick claimed John posed something like this. (Notice how I bear absolutely no resemblance to John Wayne who was without a doubt about one of the most photogenic Celebrities who ever lived.)
But I really had to wonder though at the odds of this??
We hadn’t planned on taking Jeep Tour at all and these Jeep Tours go to many different locations in the area.
Yet here we were. Pretty amazing.
Angel and the Badman / 1947
One year before I was born.
John Wayne was 40 years old.
He was a Star, but had not yet achieved the unparalleled heights of SuperStardom
he ultimately reached.
Eight years earlier John had Starred the most important Western ever made: Stagecoach. Directed by John Ford which raised Western Film from pulp to legitimate Art. This had been also John’s breakthrough role as a Western Hero.
I never really did tell the full story of our John Wayne Tree adventure at Sedona back in 2013. My previous posts on this were lousy so I want to fix that.
In Sedona my pardner, Rose, won a Jeep Tour prize by getting sucked into a TimeShare presentation. That was the hook. I wasquietly kicking Rose for making me endure the TimeShare thing, but we would never have gone on this Jeep Tour otherwise.Life and Fate, however, often have a different idea that they only let us in on when we’re right in the middle of it all. Sometimes wonderful things happen. Sometimes not. This turned out to be pretty wonderful.
So off we go.
When you realize how many Jeep Tours there are here and the many different places they go,
you have to realize what an amazing coincidence this event turned out to be.
Schnebly Hill Road
A bit of history:
Theodore Carleton (T C) Schnebly and his wife SEDONA Arabella Miller Schnebly
moved to the Sedona area in 1901.
Schnebly Hill Road, of course is named after them and Sedona after her.
The Hill road is an adventure in itself. Below you can see one stretch of the road – and why they use Jeeps. All six of us were all well strapped in, but we still needed to hold on to our saddlehorns. At one point we saw a family in a minivan coming up the road. You can bet they regretted that.
Nick, our driver, was giving us a running commentary on the area as we bumped along. (Can’t remember a thing.)
Nor was there much chance for taking any pics on the way up.
But we did snap a couple.We jostle and jerk our way up to see a viewpoint Nick calls Schnebly Hill Vista
… and jump out for a jaunt.
I look back down and see the old timer still sitting in the jeep. (below)
(He was a very unhappy camper to be along on this excursion – and didn’t hide it.) Possibly another victim of a TimeShare pitch.
Hiking up a short, but steep little path and arrive at the Viewpoint …
Nick was right. This is a hell of a viewpoint.
You can literally see for miles. Sedona in the distance.
There are a lot of such vista views around Sedona area.
I’ve been to Sedona on and off since the early 70’s. On my first visit I hiked up to Cathedral Rock. There were no trails or pathways going up there in those days. And no people. I enjoyed a moment of pure solitude. That evening I swam at Oak Creek Crossing as the sun set. Native ladies and their children came down to sit on the rocks to enjoy a serene twilight. It was truly a magical moment and a once in a lifetime experience. I was One with them. Sedona is not the sleepy secret it used to be, but I hope there is still some solitude and peace to be found here.
I’ve been going to Sedona, Arizona on and off since the 70’s. Love that place. Back then although Sedonaand it’s Waterholeweren’t really a secret, things weren’t overly crowded either. That changed. Some major magazine (was it Look?) published an article on America’s great waterholes. Next thing you know the place was packed. Now it’s called Slide Rock State Park. And you have to pay to get in. Like many National Parks in the US and Canada the whole area has become a Tourist Trap. Frankly, many Parks are being ruined by too many visitors. Hell, Yellowstone has had traffic jams for years. Banff National Park in Canada will soon be forced to limit access. Just too many people. And if you want to camp in most any major Park up here you have to book WAY ahead. Sometimes a year ahead. It’s a crisis situation. Some Parks I visited you can’t even take a photo without 10 people in it. Or more. ??? So I’ve been dismayed for many years on how badly Sedona is being impacted. Jeep Tours, ATV rentals, mountain bikers, motocross cycles – a lot of different things. The place is being destroyed. When I hiked up to Cathedral Rock back in the 70’s I felt like I was in a remote area. Not now. Most of the following photos are from a visit in 2013 (?). Here’s what it looked like that day. We snuck in – it woulda costs 20 bucks otherwise.
The Grand Finale of the ongoing entertainment at Old Tucson Studios
is a stunt show. Stunt Set Below:
Sadly, none of our stunt photos turned out … Grrrr.
Psalm 23 A psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Our last stop on Main Street was the Western Movie Museum …
Below: Cannon used in The Alamo (1960)
Below: The Alamo trailer – includes Wayne’s classic Coonskin quote
which pretty well summed up Wayne’s personal philosophy.
Below: the great Western Film Director: Cecil Wanna B Ford
“It is easier to get an actor to be a cowboy than to get a cowboy to be an actor.”
– John Ford
Good, I still have a chance.
Below: Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957) poster. (My Favorite Western).
Note the uncanny resemblance between me and Burt Lancaster!
Uncanny I tell ya!
You must be the one they call ‘The Kid’.
Earps and Wesson
Old Tucson Fire / 1995
Nearly 40-percent of Old Tucson, including many of the most-famous wood structures, was destroyed by fire on April 24, 1995.
The park was rebuilt for tourists, (re-opened in 1997) but never regained the magic of its heyday as a Old West filmmaking mecca.
Fire Ravages Old Tucson Film Studios : Blaze:
Three-fourths of facility’s wooden buildings, seen in hundreds of TV and movie Westerns, are destroyed or damaged. Priceless artifacts are also lost.
April 26, 1995|STEPHANIE SIMON | TIMES STAFF WRITER
A sizzling fire has gutted most of Arizona’s famed Old Tucson Studios, which provided the ramshackle saloons, dusty hitching posts and glorious sunsets for countless Western movies and television shows.
The Monday evening blaze, so hot that it melted an antique fire engine, destroyed or damaged more than three-fourths of the park’s wooden buildings, from an old-time barber shop to an adobe mission to a mock city hall. An elaborate sound stage also burned, increasing the damage estimate to at least $10 million, officials said.
Even more traumatic for Western fans, the fire consumed revered one-of-a-kind artifacts: the dress Laura wore in “Little House on the Prairie,” the hat Hoss clapped on his head for “Bonanza,” the set designed for the television series “Young Riders.” A priceless doll collection, Michael Landon’s wardrobe and stacks of old photos also vanished in the flames.
“The sad part,” Tucson Fire Department spokesman Randy Ogden said, “is that much history and so many memories are gone.”
By Tuesday afternoon, officials still had not determined the cause of the fire, which started about 6:30 p.m. Monday and rushed through the three-block main street, fueled by dry wood and stored paint.
Wikipedia: ” In the month following the Old Tucson fire, several other fires were started in the area of Tucson Estates, down the road from Old Tucson; this subject was identified as the primary suspect in those fires. He was located and questioned by detectives, and faced with the evidence from the Tucson Estates fires, at which point he confessed to having started those fires. However, before he could be questioned about the Old Tucson fire, he invoked his Miranda Rights, effectively stopping any further questioning. Not enough evidence could be collected to positively identify this suspect as the arsonist in the Old Tucson fire. No other information pointing to any other individual was ever found, and the case remains open to this day.“
Finally … we arrive at end of the trail –The Apache Trail.
This is rugged country. The Apache Trail is billed as a “scenic drive”, but I’m sure there are folks who might challenge that. So if this kind of hilly desert country isn’t your cup of tea, and the slow (often only going 5 or 10 miles an hour) drive for three hour (or more) over a gravel road that it pretty rough in places, then you might want to do something else. But we braved it … and it was pretty good.