Facebook Page
Verde Canyon Railroad - Clarkdale, Arizona Blazin' M Ranch - Cottonwood, Arizona Jerome Grand Hotel - Jerome, Arizona

Verde Canyon Railroad - Clarkdale, Arizona
Jerome Grand Hotel - Jerome, Arizona
Blazin' M Ranch - Cottonwood, Arizona

A Rail Destination Report by Carl Morrison, Comments welcomed at

September 17 - 18, 2014
Photos by Carl Morrison

Verde Canyon Railroad

Blazin' M Ranch (Jim and Jeanne Martin, Bill Bassett)

Jerome Grand Hotel

The idea for this rail destination trip started when I attended the Los Angeles Travel Show on January 18 and 19, 2014.  Verde Valley Area, Arizona, had a booth that combined both the Verde Canyon Railroad and the Blazin' M Ranch.  I enjoyed talking with Teresa Propeck of the Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarksdale, Arizona, and Lori Mabery of the Blazin' M Ranch in nearby Cottonwood, Arizona.  Back in February, 2011, I visited both of these venues and wrote a rail destination report at and  After chatting with both ladies, I decided to visit their attractions again to write an updated report which includes Jerome, Arizona, and the Jerome Grand Hotel.

Don Roe, my clergyman and rail-buddy, accompanied me on the overnight Amtrak Southwest Chief from Fullerton, California to Flagstaff, Arizona where we spent a couple of nights then rented a car to Jerome a bit over an hour's drive south of Flagstaff.  A second report on that trip is at

Getting There

I found the most convenient way to get to the Verde Valley Area of Arizona from Southern California (or from Chicago) was to take the Amtrak Southwest Chief to Flagstaff.  From the Los Angeles end of the route it is an overnight trip.  Rent a car from the rental agency about a block from the Amtrak Station and drive to Jerome.  We drove south through Oak Creek Canyon and returned via I-17, taking a little over an hour.

We arrived at the Verde Canyon Railroad Depot before the train left on its Wednesday trip, even though we had tickets for the Thursday trip.  It is not hard to drive from Flagstaff to the Depot before the train leaves at 1 p.m., even with a short stop in Sedona.  I wanted to get some photographs from off the train as it left the station, which I would not be able to do on the day I was to ride.  This gave us time to check into the Jerome Grand Hotel and photograph old vehicles at the Gold King Mine Ghost Town north of town.

Recent History of the Verde Canyon Railroad

The first excursion train of the Verde Canyon Railroad rolled out of the Clarkdale depot on November 23, 1990. It carried neither freight nor ore, only people. They were not seeking a better way of life, but the beauty of a wild river-carved canyon where eagles nest among high cliffs and wind makes music in the cottonwoods. Along the way they hoped to catch a glimmer of the ones who came before, whose perseverance, vision and hard work made it all possible. That’s what a railroad is: not just lengths of iron linking one place to another, but a symbolic connection of the past to the present.

Today people travel from all over the world to ride the rails into the Verde Canyon — an average of 90,000 people per year. They come to experience the sights and to revel in the casual elegance of train travel as they discover the heritage of the landscape. It’s a journey worth taking. It is the scenery that lures them but it is the Railroad that still brings them … because it’s always a good day when you’re on a train.


Ticket Prices

First-Class (all ages) $79.95
Adult $54.95*
Seniors (65+) $49.95*
Children (2-12) $34.95*
Caboose Charter $600.00*
(Private Party of up to six adults)

Special Events
Chocolate Lovers’ Festival: First-class seating $119.00*
Tequila Sunset Limited: First-class seating $119.00*
(Ages 21 & older)
Grape Train Wine Tasting : First-class seating $119.00*
(Ages 21 & older)
*Rates do not include sales tax or applicable fees

Train Schedule 2014-2015  (




Locomotives No. 1510 and 1512 stand ready to pull the excursion train north to Perkinsville through the Verde Canyon for its 4-hour round trip.  Locomotive No. 2164 does freight duty at night from freight accounts south of Clarkdale to Drake, Arizona where this line meets the BNSF mainline. 

The Arizona Central Railroad (reporting mark AZCR) is an Arizona short-line railroad that operates from a connection with the BNSF Railway at Drake, Arizona. The AZCR runs 37.8 miles (60.8 km) from Drake to Clarkdale, Arizona.  The AZCR handles 1,500 cars per year of inbound coal to the Phoenix Cement Company and shipping outbound cement.

The Verde Canyon Railroad carries 100,000 passengers per year (2013 figure). 

The AZCR has four locomotives that were all built in the 1950s. The railroad has one EMD GP7 (AZCR 2279), one EMD GP9 (AZCR 3413) and a pair of EMD FP7s (1510 and 1512, used to power the excursion)



Freight locomotives and cars tied up at the depot are blocked from view by the excursion train, so photographs of this running stock are best taken while the excursion is out of town.



I asked the conductor on the excursion train where I could get a good shot of the train underway.  He suggested the crossing just north of the depot, which is within walking distance from the VCRR parking lot.  Otherwise, the only spot for off-train photos is out a fire road in the Tuzigoot National Monument which I did not want to chance in a rental car. 


As the cars pass this location at a slow speed, you can select which cars you want to photograph.  These outdoor cars are between all the excursion cars and provide shade or rain protection and benches while you ride outside.  All passengers have an inside assigned seat as well.


The private-party caboose has two platforms but no access to an open car.



The modern depot has a ticket counter as well as souvenirs, a cafe and staff offices.


I enjoyed a turkey sandwich, soft drink, and chips before our ride.  First class tickets include appetizers which might suffice as your lunch.  There is a bar and free bottled water and ice in each first class car as well.



My purchase from the gift shop was a cool hat and shirt to wear on the trip.


Linda operates the Gift Shop.


The Museum has a Hobo Joe character.  My father spent one summer as a hobo following the wheat threshing circuit in Kansas, and his first name was Joseph.  When I have a free train ride, I use the "Hobo Mo" monacre, so I have some connection to Hobo Joe.



Ellen Roberts, Group Sales, reserved space for us in the Phoenix Car so we could "photograph the entire train ahead of us going up the canyon."  We arrived early enough so that she could take us on a complete tour of the train starting with the caboose.


Fermin is the long-standing host in the caboose.  He was raised in nearby Jerome.


The cupola is the most popular seat in the caboose.


Lower level seating is very comfortable.



Eddy was the car attendant in the Phoenix car and pointed out all the sights.


Kenna was the bar tender in our Phoenix Car and Ellen said she was the model for the lady's clothing sold in the gift shop:










Verde Canyon Railroad's most vintage passenger car dates from 1936. The Santa Fe Bell, a first class car that seats up to 27 of your favorite friends, was originally part of the Santa Fe Railway's El Capitan.


Hopi-inspired artwork in the Santa Fe Bell car.




Local wines served on the Verde Canyon Railroad


Ellen and Don in the Santa Fe Bell car with mirrored ceiling to make this smaller car in the fleet look larger.


When tied up at the station, the train is on land-based power.



Under way, the generator car provides power to the passenger cars.


FP7s 1512 and 1510 were built in 1953 for the Alaska Railroad and are ex-Santa Fe.


Passengers board pre-assigned cars and have reserved seats in the 8 First Class cars.


Ready to head for Perkinsville.


As you leave Clarkdale, the staff bids you goodbye.


Verde Canyon Railroad Depot.  On a day of predicted thunder storms, the weather was perfect thoughout the 4-hour ride.


Jerome, Arizona from the VCRR train. The Jerome Grand hotel is center left.


VCRR produces a nice "Rail" magazine with a map of the route on the back cover.


As soon as we left the station, Matthew proposed to Kat and she said "Yes!"



Typical First Class accommodations with access to an open car.


Appetizers, a bar, restrooms, luggage rack and comfortable seating are available to First Class passengers.


Copper mine slag train tracks over our route.


We pass the 40-acre, 40-ft. deep slag heap from the former copper mine. Originally they were only interested in extracting copper, but the slag heap is now being mined by Clarkdale Metals for billions of dollars worth of precious metals.



Sinagua Indian Ruins from the VCRR.


Terry, our car attendant, took caboose passenger photos while enorute.


The "Dirty Verde".  Because of recent fires and rains, the Verde River is so muddy that the resident bald eagles cannot see the fish in the water, so they have moved to better hunting grounds and none were seen from the train.  When the water clears the bald eagles will return.


The FP7's eagle paint scheme looks great on the trestle in the red-rock canyon.


Ellen was right about being able to see the entire train as it curves ahead of the Phoenix.  The S.O.B. bridge is in the foreground...Superintendent of Bridges.


680 ft. tunnel, a highlight as you near Perkinsville


The turnaround point on the excursion is Perkinsville.   Parts of "How the West Was Won" was filmed here.



At Perkinsville, the locomotives use a siding to run around the train and take it back to Clarkdale, caboose first.  If you see a photo of the train with No. 1512 on the lead, it was headed southbound.


Somehow one of the crew took on ice cream sandwiches in Perkinsville and they were for sale in our car for $1.


The trip back to Clarkdale was an opportunity to take in the Verde Canyon, and the great weather, again.


The Connection between the Verde Canyon Railroad, Clarkdale, and Jerome, Arizona.

The Little Engine That Did. Verde Canyon Railroad.

Along with the State of Arizona, Verde Canyon Railroad celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2012. As the Railroad shifts into its next 100 years of rail service, it is still significant to reflect on the journey that brought them to this celebratory juncture.

It all started in the tiny town of Jerome, Arizona that clings to a steep-angled mountainside two thousand feet above the valley floor. There is nothing easy or accessible about Jerome, yet during its heyday, over 15,000 residents called this vertical burg their home. They were here for the mines, which through the decades, churned out a billion dollars worth of gaudy ore. It was the wealth of the mines that lured them but it was the railroad that brought them.

The railroads were the arteries that conquered the unforgiving landscape and fed the communities of the Verde Valley. While the mines have been closed over half a century, the Railroad continues to be an economic engine for the region.

In 1895, the first track laid directly into Jerome was the United Verde & Pacific Railway, which originated from Jerome Junction near Chino Valley. With 186 curves on the short 26-mile narrow gauge stretch, the Railroad became known as the crookedest line in the world. The builder, William Andrews Clark, also owned United Verde Copper Company and would continue to leave his indelible imprint on the area, including a town with his namesake.

The shift from underground to open pit mining led to a complete restructuring of Jerome and the surrounding area. Construction of a new smelter began on the valley floor and on an entirely new town. Clarkdale — named after William Andrews Clark — was Arizona’s first company town and designed with precision planning and technological advancements far from the norm in the early 1900s. The community of sturdy brick homes included modern conveniences such as electricity, sewer and copper piping.

In 1911 Clark financed construction of the Verde Valley Railroad, a 38-mile standard gauge line from Clarkdale to Drake. It took 250 men using picks, shovels and DuPont black powder one year to complete the task. It was an astonishing feat considering that the line included a 680-foot tunnel carved through a mountain and a trestle spanning a 175-foot gorge aptly named S.O.B. Canyon.

Verde Valley Railroad proved to be a workhorse, continuing to haul passengers and freight even after the mines closed. In 1988 Dave Durbano purchased the line. On his first ride through the unspoiled wilderness, he knew that this was a treasure, both scenic and historic, that must be preserved. Verde Canyon Railroad was born.


Jerome Grand Hotel - Jerome, Arizona

We stayed at the Jerome Grand Hotel the nights before and after we rode the Verde Canyon Railroad excursion.  Because Jerome is only about 8 miles from both the Blazin' M Ranch and the Verde Canyon Railroad Depot, the two nights at the Jerome Grand Hotel worked perfectly.  We arrived from Flagstaff in our rental car before noon in Clarkdale allowing us to see the Verde Canyon Railroad excursion train as it left.  Afterwards we checked into the Jerome Grand Hotel, had lunch at the Asylum Restaurant in the hotel, and explored the nearby
Gold King Mine Ghost Town north of Jerome.

Our second day in Jerome, we took the Verde Canyon Railroad excursion followed by an entertaining evening of a western supper and cowboy entertainment at the Blazin' M Ranch.  We still had time after the show to drive the short 12 minutes back to the Jerome Grand Hotel.  The following day we asked for late check out of noon and had ample time to take some more photographs of town, have lunch, return to Flagstaff, turn in our rental car, and board the westbound Amtrak Southwest Chief for California.

“America’s Most Vertical City” and “Largest Ghost Town in America”

Jerome, Arizona

Located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community. Four disastrous fires destroyed large sections of the town during its early history, resulting in the incorporation of the City of Jerome in 1899.

Founded in 1876, Jerome was once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory. The population peaked at 15,000 in the 1920′s. The Depression of the 1930′s slowed the mining operation and the claim went to Phelps Dodge, who holds the claim today. World War II brought increased demand for copper, but after the war, demand slowed. Dependent on the copper market, Phelps Dodge Mine closed in 1953. The remaining 50 to 100 hardy souls promoted the town as a historic ghost town. In 1967 Jerome was designated a National Historic District by the federal government. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist and artist community with a population of about 450.

Jerome sits above what was the largest copper mine in Arizona and produced an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper per month. Men and women from all over the world made their way to Arizona to find work and maybe a new way of life. Today the mines are silent, and Jerome has become the largest ghost town in America.

Jerome’s personality has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. Once a thriving mining camp between the late-1880s and early 1950s, Jerome is now a bustling tourist magnet and artistic community with a population of about 450. It includes a modicum of artists, craft people, musicians, writers, hermits, bed and breakfast owners, museum caretakers, gift shop proprietors and fallen-down-building landlords.A view of Jerome from the air

What is the Town of Jerome like today? Is it worth your time to visit? The answer is a resounding yes! Jerome is an enchanting town, and a photographer’s paradise. From its external appearances it hasn’t changed much in nearly 100 years. Many of the buildings used by present-day business folks are those built after the fires of 1894 and 1899. A number of the buildings have been restored and more are planned for restoration. Due to the 30-degree incline of the mountainside, gravity has pulled a number of buildings down the slope. To the delight of some, one of those buildings was the town’s jail. Those buildings still standing make for interesting visiting and with a little research you can find their historical significance. One notable section is the “Cribs District.” You will find this area across the street from the English Kitchen, in a back alley where all the buildings were are part of Jerome’s ill-famed “prostitution row.”

Make Jerome your destination for your next trip to Arizona. Being centrally located, a stay at one of Jerome’s bed and breakfasts, inns or hotels is perfect for a home base to explore the entire northern Arizona region from. Drive from Jerome to Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff and even the Grand Canyon and then return to Jerome to relax for the evening and dine at one of the fine restaurants in Jerome. Then just relax to the peaceful surroundings that no other city in Arizona can offer.

Jerome is located in the heart of northern Arizona only 90 miles from Phoenix, 60 miles from Flagstaff, 20 miles from Sedona, 30 miles from Prescott, 20 miles from Camp Verde, 10 miles from Cottonwood and about 6 miles from Clarkdale. You can even make a day trip to the Grand Canyon from here.

Once in Jerome, there are many things to see and do. Why not check out the many unique shops in Jerome, or relax and have a bit to eat at one of our many restaurants, listen to some great music at one of our saloons or sit and relax with a glass of wine at Jerome’s own Jerome Winery.

Once you have spent enough time shopping and relaxing in Jerome, why not check out one of the communities close to us to see what they have to offer. There is just about everything one could desire in the vicinity of Jerome, Arizona.


Hotel History

This Spanish Mission style building, constructed in 1926, started out as the United Verde Hospital, opening January, 1927. In 1930, it was written up as the most modern and well equipped hospital in Arizona and possible the Western States. The Hospital was closed in 1950Side view of the Jerome Grand Hotel as the mine operation was being phased out. The building stood unused for the next 44 years until the rehabilitation plans started in 1994.

 The building is one of the highest public structures in the Verde Valley, (5240 Ft.). As the last major building constructed in Jerome, the building was not only to boost the pride of the town in its classic design, but was built fire proof and able to withstand the blasts of up to 260,000 pounds of dynamite set off by the mine and sometimes felt as far away as Camp Verde, a distance of 20 miles. How this 30,000 sq. ft., five level building of poured in place, reinforced concrete, was constructed on a 50 degree slope is an engineering marvel even by today's standards!

 A time Capsule! Purchased by the Altherr Family in 1994, from the Phelps Dodge Mining Corp, the restoration and rehabilitation was started. Having been closed for 44 years, there had been no changes to the original building except for the enclosure of the roof top deck in 1929, The building has withstood the tests of blasting as well as the tests of time. This has to be one of the best preserved buildings in Arizona and extreme measures have been used to protect the interior and exterior integrity.   

Hotel Room and Ride Package

One night lodging plus tickets: 10% off room rate.Package is pre-paid; time for cancellation notice varies for refund.  With the hotel room and ride package, you automatically qualify for a 10% discount on additional consecutive night's lodging at the Jerome Grand Hotel. No other discounts apply. Please call our toll free number 1 888 817-6788 for additional information and/or reservations.

Hotel Room and Rates

Guest comfort is a major concern at the Jerome Grand Hotel. "Diamond Award" Serta mattresses, which are used mostly in high-end resorts are provided in every room. All rooms have extra pillows and satellite TVs. We offer a comfortable, safe place to stay while you explore Jerome, the Jerome State Park or one of the many attractions in the area. Enjoy our million dollar views! We hope you will spend some time with us and our Front Desk Staff is available to help in any way they can. We are a non-smoking hotel. AARP discounts available weekdays.

Standard Guest Room

    With one queen
    Mountain View $130 & up
    Valley View $135 & up
    Sleeps 2 (3 with rollaway)

Deluxe Guest Room

    With two Queen Beds
    Sleeps 4 (5 with rollaway)
    Valley view $180 & up 

Balcony Room

    Private Balcony
    With one queen bed
    sleeps 2
    Valley view $190 & up 

Garden Room

    Access to Sun Porch
    With one queen bed
    Sleeps 2 (3 with rollaway)
    Valley view $195 & up

Connecting Rooms

    Two standard rooms connected with one bath
    Sleeps 4 (5 with rollaway)
    Mountain view $210 & up 

Two Room Suite  (The accommodations we had and which I recommend:  See my photos below.)

    Access to Sun Porch
    Sleeps 4 (5 with rollaway).
    Valley view $275 & up

Grand Suite

    2 Master Bedrooms
    2 Baths
    Full Kitchen
    Media Room
    Formal Entry
    Dining Room
    Mountain & Valley view $370 - $470 & up



The Jerome Grand Hotel is by far the main reason to go to Jerome, Arizona.  Photo taken from former Jerome High School which is now an art campus.


Jerome Grand Hotel. We had the third floor two-room suite on the left end with the enclosed sun room, 39A and 39B.


The Lobby is easily accessible from the parking lot in front.  With your room key you get a key to operate the original Otis elevator.  At the front desk, Chris welcomed us and gave us all the information we needed about coffee and morning Danish.  Current construction work includes balconies for some of the back rooms and more canopies on the front.


One morning the garage door below the Asylum Restaurant was open revealing a Rolls Royce.


The view of the Jerome Grand Hotel as you drive up the one-lane street is of the west end of the hotel.  The Asylum restaurant's entrance is at the top of the many stairs.  It is also reachable from the Lobby by elevator.


We had lunch at the Asylum Restaurant in the Jerome Grand Hotel.  Their butternut squash soup is famous.



View of the Verde Valley from a table at the Asylum Restaurant, Jerome Grand Hotel
.  It reminded me of Ital with cactus rather than vineyards on the hills.


We had the "Two Room Suite  Access to Sun Porch  Sleeps 4 (5 with rollaway).Valley view $275 & up"
Room 39A with Murphy Bed and shared bathroom with 39B.


Shared bathroom with 39B.  White fixtures and tile reminds you that this was first a hospital.


Looking south in the Jerome Grand Hotel's east sun room on 3rd floor accessible from two rooms, one being our 39A.  This was my favorite part of the Two-Room Suite.  We opened the French doors in the mornings and evenings and enjoyed the cool desert weather.  We even brought the morning coffee and Danish from the Lobby to enjoy in this perfect environment.  Chris explained that when this hospital was built sunlight and fresh air was believed to be healing elements.


Hallway with antiques leading to Otis elevator.


"Million Dollar View" from our Room 39A Sun Room includes a rainbow and the red tiled roof of the former Jerome High School campus.  The Verde Canyon Railroad Depot is in the shadow in the center of the photo.


Near the base of the town is Old Jerome High School, is an art deco cluster of buildings erected in 1923 and closed in 1972.  Classrooms with lots of character and wood accents have been given a new, vibrant life as artists have made themselves at home to work and exhibit.


   Old Jerome High School


Connor Hotel, downtown Jerome, Arizona.


Connor Hotel, downtown Jerome, Arizona.


One of the more interesting restored buildings in Jerome.


One thing I looked forward to while in Jerome was taking some HDR photographs at the Gold King Mine one mile north of Jerome.  The admission charge is only $5, $4 for Seniors, and you can tramp around the hills and through the weeds looking for photo opportunities.  Here are a few that I found.


Front of the entrance building.


Back of the entrance buiding.


It seems the old saying, "FORD stands for Found on Road Dead" might apply here.



The yellow dirt track car has an engine from the first school bus in Jerome.


Don Robertson, owner and curator of Gold King Mine.


My favorite truck in the yard.  It is hard to tell the original color of this GMC dump truck especially after decades of desert sun, snow, and rain, plus an HDR painterly effect added by me in Lightroom at the end.

Blazin' M Ranch - Cottonwood, Arizona

A very popular activity after riding the Verde Canyon Railroad excursion train is to go about 4 miles on 89A to the Blazin' M Ranch for activities there.  They have a replica of an old western town and provide a tasty chuck wagon dinner followed by a western cowboy music show.  Put on your boots and hats and enjoy your time there.


To see the Blazin' M Ranch's own video about their venue, Click this link:


(Courtyard / Shops / Activities / Attractions / Saloon)

Recommended Check-in:  5:00-5:30PM

*Holiday Show Schedule:  Nov. 28th through Dec. 27th, 2014

Check in at the ticket booth upon arrival to pick-up dinner tickets and receive table assignments.  

Before dining, guests are encouraged to meander through an Old West courtyard laden with events that also entertained early settlers. Visitors may indulge themselves in a lively game of horseshoes, try their skill in the shootin' gallery with a real Colt .45 with wax bullets ($4 for 6 shots or 18 shots for $10) and compete for the coveted Sharp-Shooter prize awarded each evening, learn to rope with a mechanical horse and steer with one of our resident wranglers, or grin at family or friends from behind the bars of the local jail house.

Belly up to the bar in the Copper Spur Saloon and quench your thirst as cowboys once did after their long ride on Arizona's dusty trails. A clatter of footsteps can be heard on the wooden boardwalk that connects our four rustic Western shops that line the courtyard. Suited in a fancy saloon ensemble, dead eye gunslinger garb or lacy Victorian regalia, one may immortalize his or her frontier experience at the Red Garter Olde Tyme photo studio.

Your ticket includes free admission into the only-one-of-its-kind-in-the-world "Wood-n-West" Gallery and is a must-see during the Blazin' M Ranch visit. The miniature, movable Old West scenes, created by a master woodcarver, are sure to add another smile.  Hop aboard our vintage Tractor Pull to view the charmin' farm critters and learn a bit about the ranch history along the way.


When the dinner bell rings, guests enter the climate-controlled dinner barn and will feast in rustic splendor. Dinner is served on a tin plate and cup; our cowpokes will fill your plates with the best chicken and ribs in Arizona and all the fixin's (beware of flying biscuits).


 After dinner, sit back, relax and enjoy the smooth harmonies and rip-roarin' comedy of the Blazin' M Cowboys. Authentic, award-winning cowboy music, tall tales, tomfoolery and other side-splitting surprises will keep you wanting more!


 The Western Courtyard re-opens for photo opportunities, shopping and creating one last memory of your visit to the Blazin' M Ranch.

ADULTS $35.95 +tax

SENIORS (65+) $32.95 +tax

CHILDREN (3-12) $19.95 +tax

CHILDREN 2 & under-Free
- From:   





Red Garter Old Time Photos by Brooke Akridge and Kayla Walker


Their press release: A classic John Deere tractor pulls riders in wagons around the Ranch, past vintage farm equipment, farm critters and far into the depths of the Old West where graves are shallow and tales are tall. Everyone has fun trying their hand at roping, pitching horseshoes and target shooting with a real Colt .45 six-shooter.
- See more at:



Jim Martin gives a humorous narration on the John Deere tour. Later he sings at the dinner show.



Mr. and Mrs. Gary De Lepp of San Jose, California were at our table and shared information about the Sumpter Valley Railroad near Baker City, Oregon where they had recently visited.


Bill Basset Originally from Seattle, WA, Bill is the show’s emcee and he has been performing throughout the West since 1971, and his talent even led him to Nashville where he played back-up for many of country music’s greatest artists. In 1999 Bill was inducted into the Swing Hall of Fame.
- See more at:  


It looked like a full house this evening with at least three tour bus groups in attendance.


Perfect inside barn-type accommodations for the dinner and show regardless of the weather.  Capacity is 280 friendly folks.


Jim "Too Tall" Martin


Jeanne Martin




Jim and Jeanne Martin started out early in their Career as a Duo in 1991 performing in LOS ANGELES CA. at the GENE AUTRY WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM, & SILVER DOLLAR CITY in Branson MO and have performed together for audiences all around the US for the past 24 years.  Their music has allowed them to perform with such well known Great Western Artists as Riders in the Sky, Rex Allen Jr. & Sr., Michael Martin Murphey, Johnny Western, and Patsy Montana to name a few.

In Feb. 09 Jim and Jeanne Martin along with Rollie Stevens were featured performers at The Moab Music Festival  and special Tribute to Marty Robbins concert with Don Edwards and  were the opening act for the great Suzy Bogguss.

Their love for the history and music of the American West has led them on many exciting adventures.  Because of this, they have had the opportunity to meet many of the childhood heroes they grew up watching on television.

 Jim stated:

“While growing up as kids, we watched our heroes on TV - like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, but never dreamed that we would some day actually get to meet them.  Over the past 20 years our love for the history and music of the American West has grown, and has led us on many exciting adventures that have given us the opportunity to meet many of our childhood heroes.  We didn’t realize until after we met and got to talking that we both were listening to Sons of the Pioneers music as kids.  Our parents played their music often.  I would have to say that the Sons of the Pioneers have been the greatest influence for our harmony and yodeling that we do today.”

It was an honor for them to be part of the 60th Anniversary Concert of the Sons of the Pioneers in Tucson, AZ. where they were featured performers, and got to meet “The King of the Cowboys”, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans, the Queen of the West, and all of the Sons of the Pioneers that were still living at the time.

As featured performers for the past 21 years at the National Festival of the West at “Rawhide” and "WestWorld" in Scottsdale, AZ they have had the honor of meeting such great western film stars such as Gene Autry, Ben Johnson, Richard Farnsworth, Harry Carey Jr. Buck Taylor, Robert Fuller, Dale Robertson, Will Hutchins, Patsy Montana, Johnny Western, Michael Martin Murphey, and the list goes on.

In December of 2007 they made a trip to Washington, DC where they were featured on a new XM radio broadcast titled “Tales from the Trail”. It is hosted by well known western recording artist and song writer Royal Wade Kimes.  The Martins met Kimes at an event for the Western Music Assoc. in Tuscon AZ a few years ago, and they have been friends ever since.  The show features performances and interviews, of some of the best western music performers and song writers in the business today.  The Martins encourage any and all that have access to tune in to XM radio Channel 10 America and support this effort to keep the music of the American west alive!

The Martins are looking forward to many continued happy trails as they share their musical talents with audiences at the Blazin' M Ranch. 


Jim and Jeanne Martin are six-time Harmony Yodeling Champions - Western Music Association, Best Harmony Duo Award - 2010 - Western Music Association.  They perform Western Music, Gospel Music, and Comedy.  Now based in Cottonwood, AZ    719-429-2166

For a video of the Martins before they joined the Blazin' M Ranch, click:


We were assigned "Front and Center" table B1, a great vantage point for photos.
(Canon EOS REBEL T3i, f/8 @ 18 mm, 1/25, ISO 3200, No Flash,)


At the end of the show they bring the whole crew out from the kitchen so the audience can thank them.



My Summary

While on the Verde Canyon Railroad Excursion, a passenger asked what was my favorite Tourist Train.  My response was, "For scenery during the ride, I like the Verde Canyon Railroad because it has interesting scenery from start to finish.  The Grand Canyon Railway, of course, has the Grand Canyon at the end of the excursion, but the ride itself is not as interesting, geographically and photographically as the Verde Canyon Railroad.  And, the Verde Canyon Railroad has the Blazin' M Ranch dinner and show for evening entertainment which is better than after any other tourist train I have been on."

For an excellent two days of entertainment, I recommend following the same itinerary that I followed for this Verde Canyon Railroad, Blazin' M Ranch, and Jerome, Arizona vacation:  Two nights at the Jerome Grand Hotel, Verde Canyon Railroad excursion one afternoon, Blazin' M Ranch one evening, and a half day at the Gold King Mine if you like rusty trucks and cars. 

On this same trip, I took Amtrak from Fullerton, California to Flagstaff, Arizona and visited the Grand Canyon and photographed the Grand Canyon Railway train at the Grand Canyon and in Williams.  That report is at:

Comments about this report or the venues which I visited are welcomed at:


Verde Canyon Railroad  800-582-7245 300 N. Broadway, Clarkdale AZ 86324 :

Blazin' M Ranch  1875 Mabery Ranch Road, P.O. Box 160, Cottonwood, AZ 86326, Phone: 800-937-8643 or 928-634-0334

Jerome Grand Hotel  Phone: 928-634-8200  Toll Free: 888-817-6788  Email:


More of my photos of Verde Canyon Railroad than what I used in this report.  Click Slideshow in the upper right corner at:

More of my photos of  Blazin' M Ranch than what I used in this report.  Click Slideshow in the upper right corner at:

More of my photos of   Jerome Grand Hotel than what I used in this report.  Click Slideshow in the upper right corner at:

Webpage visitors since September 29, 2014: