Thursday, August 22, 2013

9 days away from home (Sunday, August 18th, 2013)

At 8:30 AM we left the hotel in Albuquerque New Mexico.  When Gregg came out of the hotel to put the bags in our car, this is what greeted him.  



On the road at 8.56 a.m we have traveled 2383 miles so far.

We stopped at a Whole Foods to purchase a ready-made sandwich to share and instead of water, for a change we bought a cream soda for me and a cherry soda for Gregg.  Also sour cream and onion potato chips but it's Whole Foods, they were baked so it's healthy.  I also picked up Pineapple and Strawberry Greek yogurt and a small container of fruit.  Whatever we have left over we put back in the ice-chest and it makes a nice snack later on in the day.   We have enjoyed our picnics along the way.  (Added note: yesterday we sat on a bench overlooking Bryce Canyon for our picnic - I am still a few days behind on posting our travels.  Right now we are in Moab, Utah and we intend to go to The Arches National Park today.)  The ice chest gets packed each morning and Gregg fills it up with ice from the hotel. We travel with lots of bottled water.  There were also some neat greeting cards at Whole Foods, one of which was a Road Runner.  When the lady cashier saw the card she told me all about this comical bird.  She said they like to hang out at the mall!

At 9 AM we saw a car broken down and a police officer had stopped to help. The car had a humongous teddy bear tied to the top of the trunk.  I wish I had that photo!  

It's beautiful country out here. We are loving it!


In parts it gets very gusty and there are wind socks to show you how windy it can get, so I guess that's when people grab their wheels a little tighter.  We didn't have any problems.


When we get near a community the billboards start showing up miles before.  They make for interesting reading on a long journey.


When we started out it was 323 miles to Flagstaff, Arizona.  At 9.18 we have 295 miles to go.

10.19 a.m. Since we have been driving in the desert areas I have noticed big boxes on the roofs of houses.  Gregg said they are called swamp coolers, a humidifier that puts moisture into the house.  The air is so dry out here.  No kidding, my lips are feeling really chapped.  I remember that from our last visit.

Saw a train at 10.20 a.m. with hundreds of cars carrying coal.  Three engines on the front and three engines on the back, the biggest one we have seen so far. 


 10.28 a.m.  just passed the continental divide at an elevation of 7275 feet.

10.45 a.m. It seems like we are in the middle of nowhere and we stop for gas.  We are actually only 17 miles east of Gallop, NM . 


We met a crow looking for a handout.  It might be my imagination but crows seem a lot larger out here.


11.24 a.m. we went through Gallop.  Don't know much about it, must read up.

11.27 a.m and sitting on the edge of the exit ramp we saw our first hitchhiker.  He looked like a man of the road, long hair, well-worn clothing with a straw floppy hat, tall and lanky.  I hope he gets a ride.  We don't feel comfortable picking up hitchhikers sad to say.

11.40 a.m. at 2540 miles into our journey we crossed into Arizona.


11.51 a.m.  passed sign elevation 6,000 feet.

Last time we drove across country was 31 years ago.

12.20 p.m.  Stopped at The Petrified National Forest and The Painted Desert.  The Visitor Center is always the first port of call.




We met a lovely Quarter Horse called Trooper, 11 yrs. old.... 

  
and a very nice lady Park Ranger. Trooper was very gentle with this little girl from Germany.  


Gregg and I found a bench inside a lovely courtyard behind the center where we proceeded to eat what we had put away for lunch, and who should start coming towards us but the Park Ranger and Trooper.  We had a lovely conversation with her.  We told her how much we admired Trooper being so gentle and she said his previous owners didn't train him very well, and when she got him he was all over the place.  Now he is a calm, beautiful horse.  Later I asked her if I could stroke his neck.   When I spoke to him you could just tell he was paying full attention.  I sure wish I could remember the name of the Park Ranger, but she is a credit to the park service, and so is Trooper for that matter.


Horses have the most soulful eyes.

Next stop overlooking the Painted Desert.  It is gorgeous!  We watched a girl run up the hill.


These people were waiting for her.  When she joined them they got in their car and drove away.


I was just amazed at the vastness of it all.




We stopped off at Rt 66 and met a British couple from Newcastle called Michael and Patricia.  They were finishing a three week driving tour of the United States and were going home on Tuesday.  They were from Newcastle and offered to take our photo, and we took one for them.  By this time another young lady came up to us offering to take a photo of the four of us, thinking that we were traveling together because of our British accents.  

Here's the photo the couple took of us....


and this is the one the young lady took of all of us.


This is the photo I took of them while Gregg was taking a shot with their camera.  They were traveling across country and were moving to Southern California to meet up with their Dad.  There was a friend traveling with them also.


That old grill was actually attached to a concrete bench on the other side.  The kids had just had their photo taken by their mother behind the wheel of the old car.


Those telephone poles in the background mark out the spot where the old Rt. 66 used to be.




So after everyone had gone and with all that beautiful desert around us, what does Denise find to take a photo of?


Why flowers of course!  Pretty desert ones.  







The roads are very wavy, up and down and bumpy.  It is like riding a helter-skelter in parts.   Lots of fun!


and here are more crows.




We saw crows all over the place.  Definitely a little more different from ours, a little more straggly looking but still very striking in there own way.  They are bigger too and I could have sworn they followed our car to the next destination.  When I looked behind us and as we gained speed we lost them eventually.


What do you think of those crows Gregg?  


I can't leave without you showing some of those petrified logs.


If you want to find out more about the Petrified Forest you can go here.


We left the Petrified Forest at 3.00 a.m.
  
4.39 p.m. we reached the hotel for a night in Williams, Arizona.

And so ends another day.



Added note: both Eileen and Daniel believe my crows are actually ravens.  Thank you both, and now I know.