Let's Get Out Of Dodge

TRAVEL TALK

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I'm sure there have been times at your house when you turn to your spouse or significant other and say, "Let's get out of Dodge and go somewhere."

Well, with the summer activities quieting down, perhaps it's a good time to venture into other areas of Arizona and discover what's in our own backyard.

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With a quick trip to Clarkdale, you can catch a ride on the Verde Canyon Railway.

Reisen Arizona provides fascinating tours around the southern portion of our state. Michael Foltz, a native of Tucson, quit his job as a stockbroker and started a tour company to show people a more personal perspective of the state. His tours can be tailored to any special interests, and destinations can include Tombstone, San Xavier Mission, Tubac, Bisbee, Old Tucson, Kartchner Caverns, Colossal Cave and more. He can take travelers to wineries or wherever else your interest lies. He can be contacted at (520) 319-8130.

Yuma holds interest for many. Money Magazine ranked it as one of the top places to live in the U.S. for its fishing, hunting, rock hounding, bird watching, and golf and tennis opportunities. Mexico is just across the border if you are in the mood for a little international jaunt.

The Inn at San Ignacio provides wonderful accommodations in Green Valley, Ariz. Its luxury villa suites offer great views of the Santa Rita Mountains along with an 18-hole golf course. The course and its companion course are among two of the better golf venues in the state. The inn has special golf packages available. History, art and shopping are nearby in Tubac and Tumacacori, as is bird watching. For more details, call (520) 393-5700.

September is a great time to visit Tucson. Many events are on the calendar during the early part of the month. The Rendezvous on the Avenue is scheduled Sept. 6 and features free live music, fashion shows, a sidewalk sale and more. At Kitt Peak's picnic area on Sept. 6 the public is invited to an after-dark party featuring the music of the Silverwood Duo.

The Tekakwitha Indian Festival is Sept. 6 and 7. It brings together Tohono, O'odham, Yaqui and other native cultures. There will be drumming, singing, dances by the Waila, Yaqui and O'odham, arts, crafts and authentic food. Local bands will also be playing.

While in Tucson, you can enjoy many food flavors featured in unique restaurants. The five-diamond Ventana Room features great food in an elegant surrounding. Try new southwestern cuisine from Chef Janos Wilder at Janos or by Donna Nordin at Terra Cotta.

Like Italian? Classic dishes can be found at Vivace.

Go for out-of-the-ordinary with Malaysian at Seri Melaka and Neo of Melaka. You can try dishes direct from Asia, India and China. Learn more at www.TucsonWillSurpriseYou.com

There are various activities at Parker, Ariz. with some 30 parks for recreational vehicles, hotels, motels and resorts on the water. You can enjoy casino action, boating, water skiing or just kick back and relax on the water for a weekend. For more information, call (928) 669-6511.

If you have a boat, Lake Havasu can be great fun. Hotels are good and you will enjoy the range of dining opportunities. London Bridge features some shops and eateries associated with it. Earlier this year we stayed at the London Bridge Resort adjacent to the bridge and enjoyed the weekend there. You can rent a boat and spend a few hours soaking up the sun or take a tourist boat tour on the lake.

Several regattas are planned through the month of September: Playcraft Boats Regatta, Sept. 5-6; Annual Campbell Boats Regatta, Sept. 12-14; and Howard Custom Boats Regatta, Sept. 19-20.

I always enjoy the White Mountain area. The Fool Hollow Lake Recreation area at Show Low offers campsites, picnic ramadas and fishing boat docks. Call (928) 637-3680 for details.

Historic Fort Apache, established in 1870 and abandoned in 1922, is of interest and features the remains of General George Crook's headquarters, officers' quarters, barns and a cemetery. Prehistoric ruins, petroglyphs and an Apache Cultural Center and museum are also located on the grounds. For more information, call (928) 338-4625.

The Hon-Dah Resort Casino at Pinetop is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The resort has 128 rooms, an all-season pool, spa and sauna, plus the Indian Pine Restaurant. There is also Las Vegas-style entertainment in the Timbers Lounge, and of course, gaming in the casino.

While in the White Mountains you might enjoy horseback riding through the great forests, enjoying their refreshing cool. In Greer, the Wiltback Trail Rides provide opportunities for a wide range of experience with trail rides, overnight pack trips, chuckwagon meals and hay rides. There are hundreds of miles of trails in the area. Learn more by contacting Wiltback Trail Rides at 38735 S.R. 373, Greer, AZ 85927.

Wickenburg will have its Fiesta de Septiembre on Sept. 6. Sponsored by the community's chamber of commerce, this is the 20th anniversary of the event, which is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wickenburg Community Center, 160 N. Valentine Street in the heart of town. The event features programs about the area's Hispanic pioneers with mariachi bands, folkloric dances, arts and crafts, food and vendor booths. There will be a no-host margarita and cerveza cantina, plus a salsa contest (the food, not the dance).

A visit to Clarkdale in the Verde Valley for a ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad (or on one of its night runs) is always interesting. Flagstaff and Sedona also offer great, quick getaways from the Rim Country if you are so inclined.

Arizona is a great destination, whether you are coming from across the country, the other side of the world, or just up the road -- get out and enjoy it in the great days of Indian Summer.

During the first week of September, we will be aboard the GrandLuxe Express private luxury train and travel from the Seattle area to Mt. Rainer National Park, then on to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I'll be sharing the adventure in my next column.

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