what I do

what I do

Friday, May 31, 2013

Standing On A Corner In Winslow, Arizona ...

We left New Mexico today and crossed over the line into Arizona. The drive is getting less and less scenic with long stretches of desert and the usual small towns of decaying buildings. It is not like it was in the mid-west where the old towns have been preserved.

We drove down this road for what seemed like forever - I was worried that our car was too low for all the holes and trenches ... only to find this at the end:

We are using a combination of a book on the Route, maps and extensive research that Griffin did on the roads ... this was not supposed to happen! But coming around the corner a bit later made it all okay ...

I will never get tired of seeing livestock roaming the streets!

I wanted to stay in this motel so bad when we first started planning this trip ... I am so glad that we didn't however. It is the cutest place ever but, no. I do not think this is for me. What we have noticed is that often the areas that the old motels are in are no longer the most desirable. Especially in the larger cities where the old Route tends to be in the seedier parts of town.

We drove through the petrified desert and saw the painted desert and we also took the drive out to see the meteor crater.

This prolonged our drive and we are tired of being in the car but not to tired to drive the extra miles to take a side trip to Sedona. We found some amusing things on the way ...

Remember the Eagles song, "Take it Easy"?
"Well, I'm a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see..."

original road remnant

The drive to Sedona was long but such a welcome change of scenery!

We arrived around 4:30 and checked in to our hotel - the Portal Inn. It is a fabulous place to stay and the owner, Dennis took time showing us the grounds, our room and sharing the history of the hotel.

We didn't have much time to spend in this amazing place so we tried to cram in as much as we could. We took a private jeep tour up the rugged roads to get a bird's eye view of the area. Our driver drove fast and talked faster. The dirt road was filled with a lot of uneven rock (boulders?) and we bounced and swerved a lot. It was definitely a wild ride!

It was fantastic. It was an hour and a half tour and it was timed for us to be at the top at sunset. And we were.

Sedona is beautiful and relaxed.
We are staying in a charming inn that was built by the innkeeper himself. He did an exquisite job staying true to the Craftsman Style - leaving no detail unturned. The walls are all thick adobe to keep the heat out in the summer and the furniture is all collected antiques. The proprietors previously lived in Pasadena and most of the furnishings were found there, either in antique stores or at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

He told me he hand made all of the doors ...

They light a fire each evening and serve wine and appetizers ... and our room ...

Was just what we needed after spending so many nights in cramped rooms!

You can be certain this was one of my favorite things about the room!

We ended our night with a long uphill walk to a restaurant in town. We started with appetizers of rattlesnake with prickly pear sauce, bison, and cactus fries. 

They served us a complementary amuse-bouche of grilled pork, and then brought us a palate cleanser of tequila sorbet. By the time our dinner arrived we were so full we could not eat it. Thankfully we have a refrigerator in our room.  I am thinking it will make a wonderful breakfast!

Moose Country?

We left Santa Fe around noon trying to see all we could in that fabulous city before we had to head out. We also wanted to do a little shopping and most of the stores closed at 6:00 PM last night. We picked up a few souvenirs (something we have not done yet) and I went back to get a navajo inspired saddle blanket I fell in love with last night. 

For some reason today was hard to navigate the road early on. Maybe we are getting tired? We got lost a couple of times and hit some dead end roads (more than usual). 

We were trying to find the oldest "pre-1937" alignment and ended up circling in a residential neighborhood. I sure loved this car!

We haven't seen any roadrunners ... well except for this one!

Route 66 has gone through many changes, improvements and re-alllignments over the years and we are trying to stay true to the oldest. It can be quite a challenge at times and we are getting used to driving down roads that seem wrong but turn out to be correct, and then other times going down roads that seem to be right, only to hit a dead end. Most of the time we can't stop laughing when it happens. Sometimes, when we are tired, it can be frustrating. 

This former gas station, garage and general store dates back to about 1935. I wonder if my mom would remember any of these places from her trip down this Route when she was a kid.

We stopped for lunch at a cute little restaurant in an historical house but we are both to tired to pay attention to the details.  No surprises here that we are again eating Mexican food. It seems we have two options out here - hamburgers or Mexican food. I am craving a smoothie. After lunch we continued to head West through Albuquerque towards Grants. Our destination tonight is Gallup. We crossed over the Rio Grande. We took a side trip to the El Malpais National Monument where they have the largest contiguous lava flow in the United States. There are fabulous sandstone bluffs and La Ventana, one of the Southwest's largest freestanding natural arches. It felt great to get out of the car and walk around a bit.

It was nice to have a change of scenery but as usual ... there was no one out here and even the ranger station was closed! 

Griffin was a bit more daring than I ... I thought one of us should stay behind with the keys to the car. It turns out they were in her pocket all along! 

I think one of the funniest moments of the day was when we saw the moose signs. We wanted to see them so badly! Really? Moose in New Mexico? That is as weird as seeing Armadillo in Missouri. 

We never saw any moose but once we had cell reception again we looked it up ... there have not been any moose since 1990. Sad.

The railroad run along a lot of Route 66 and the trains ran constantly. It became my mission to try to get a great photo while steering with one hand and hitting the iPhone camera button with the other all while the train was moving along.

I am driving Griffin crazy with my camera shots (constant stopping to get a great image) as it is but I think the train photos are putting her over the edge. And I am still obsessed with the old neon signs - thankfully they are not moving targets!

Our destination tonight was Gallup. This is our third stop in New Mexico. We are staying in The El Rancho Hotel and Motel which has quite a history. 

I am sure this was an amazing place to stay in its day. Many stars have stayed in these rooms; John Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Errol Flynn, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, Lucille Ball, and Jimmy Stewart to name a few. Presidents Reagan and Eisenhower did too.

Our room, the Jimmy Stewart room, was up these stairs. It probably looked the same back in "the day" ... I would have loved for them to "shine up" my Toms (boy were they dusty and dirty!).

You can be sure I got out the flashlight and checked between these mattresses!!!

We were grateful there was a restaurant in the hotel (I don't think there was much else in this town) and we were hungry and tired... but boy did it take me back. Griffin could not believe the canned corn, the peaches and cottage cheese and the butter floating on ice (how are you supposed to spread iced butter?). It was right out of my childhood and although it wasn't the best meal it made for a good laugh! Tomorrow - Arizona! We are getting so close to home which sounds great on one hand but one the other, I hate to see this end!