The Road to Arizona – Route 1

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Jim Greendyk operates West Coast Training and Horsemanship – a full-service equine program, offering reining, cow horse, and horsemanship clinics and training. Along with a handful of his clients, Jim’s been travelling to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show for several years now, showing his part-bred and full-bred Arabian horses, and enjoying a bit of the “road-to” scenery on the way.

I caught up with Jim earlier in the year to ask him about his route for our Road to Arizona piece in the Jan/Feb Snowbirds Guide to Riding in Arizona feature, wherein we featured three possible routes to the state from various take-off points in Canada. I kicked it off last week with a familiar route for Albertans.

Here is Jim’s route, along with a few tips from the well-travelled horseman. By the way, this year’s edition of the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show – its 59th edition – runs Feb. 13-23. Believe me, you don’t have to have an Arabian in your barn to love this show. If you’re in the state, be sure to make it a part of your plans. If not look for Jim and other Canadian riders through Iequine’s excellent feed of the show.

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Abbottsford, BC to Phoenix, AZ, with an overnight in Bakersfield, CA.

Border Crossing: Huntingdon, BC/Sumas, WA
Total time: 25 hours (Day One: 17.5 hours to Bakersfield. Day 2: 7.5 hours to Phoenix
Distance: 2,637 kilometers
Road Conditions: Interstate all the way. It seldom happens but occasionally the Siskiyou Mountain Range Pass may close for snow, in which case be prepared to stop in Medford, or Yreka, Oregon.

Jim’s Trip Tips
• Try not to hit the Siskiyou – the mountain range between southern Oregon and northern California at night.
• If a nearly 18 hour drive is more than you’re hankering for in one leg, plan for a two night overnight – one night in Medford, Oregon (fairgrounds will stall overnight), then Bakersfield the second night. Besides the easier drive, you’ll land a stunning view of Mount Shasta on the morning of day two, just past Yreka, CA.
• Fuel up before the Mojave Desert and drive the speed limit in California.

BAKERSFIELD 
To Stay: The Bakersfield Fairgrounds offers overnight stabling. Find the Triple C Ranch Horse Hotel on Facebook or (661) 845-6937. They offer indoor box stalls, indoor and outdoor arenas, alfalfa for sale, parking and hook-ups for big rigs and campers. Close to motels.

To Do: Visit Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace and Museum – a combination theater/museum housing memorabilia spanning Buck Owens’ 40 year career in country music. See what’s playing at the Fox Theatre, an historical 1930’s theatre with extraordinaire acoustics in an intimate setting.

Food & Drink: Named “Best Basque Food Restaurant of 2013” stop by the Wool Growers Restaurant where pickled tongue is the house specialty. After a long haul, a margarita is in order – enjoy Mexican food and drink at Mexicali. Fill up with a good breakfast before hitting the last leg of your trip at the local favorite – 24th Street Cafe.

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