Southwest Road Trip • Day 10

I will end our trip with a toast to the best vacation, ever.
We arrived back in Vegas and will be homeward bound tomorrow, comfortably nestled with the all of the doggies tomorrow night.

Southwest Road Trip • Day 9

Sunrise at Zabriski Point was just as spectacular as I wanted it to be. Arriving in the pure darkness, we watched for 1.5 hours as the sun made it’s way over the point. Wow.
After a speedy but awesome breakfast at Furnace Creek Ranch, we rode on over to Rhyolite, Nevada. A ghost town.
In 1906, it was quite the booming mining town.
We then spent the next hour or so scrambling up the sand dunes outside of Stovepipe Wells.
According to Karen, we were just going out a little ways. But she kept going and going and going.
Daylight continued to burn way to quickly, but the mountains over the valley were incredible. Next stop, sunset.
Sunset at Dante’s View was amazing. The 13 mile drive up a winding road with a 15% grade at the end was worth it.

And ladies at FMC West, as much as we hate to admit it, vacation is almost over. Square pants sponge boss will soon be on her way back. Just a fair warning.
And so, we watched the sun come up and the sun go down in Death Valley. This has been the best trip ever. Many thanks to everyone who helped make this possible for us.
The next leg of our journey will not be a mystery. We will head out for Las Vegas tomorrow so that we can catch the plane home on Thursday.

Southwest Road Trip • Day 8

The road has lead us to Death Valley National Park.
I can’t even begin to describe the beauty here. It is a treasure, everyone should plan to come at least once in their lifetime.
The colors that have surrounded us are amazing.
Sunset at Badwater. 282 ft. below sea level.
We are staying at a place called Furnace Creek Ranch. Once again I can’t begin to describe it. There are at least 30 katrillion stars. The Internet is limited, we have zero cell phone service and it is going to be a sunrise kinda morning tomorrow.
I promise I will post more pictures of Death Valley when we return.

Southwest Road Trip • Day 7

In Williams when we strolled into the bakery for breakfast it was 33° and snowing with a promise of 8-10 more inches of snow.
It was time to rock ‘n’ roll.
We headed west staying on I-40 to the California border where we picked up Route 66 just outside of Essex.
The clouds were absolutely beautiful once the snow quit falling and the rain quit falling and the wind quit blowing.
Still fascinated by the miles and miles of trains, we stopped on the tracks in hopes that a train would pass by.
There were no Burma Shave signs in California like we saw in Arizona, but the highways were painted the entire way.
Abandoned café and gas station in Essex.
Along the entire route in California, people had gathered rocks and written messages along side the road. Some looked recent, some looked like they had been there for years.
Outside of Chambliss a shell of a building remained. Behind it was a dumping ground. Seeing this gave a whole new importance to reduce, reuse, recycle. What are leaving for future generations?
Looking out a window through the graffiti.
The Roadrunner Retreat.
Looking back at the beautiful mural on the side of the building of the Roadrunner Retreat.
A vacant but beautiful Roy’s Motel and Cafe.

A final sunset on Route 66.

Southwest Tundra Road Trip • Day 6

Our second night was over at The Red Garter and during breakfast, I challenged the proprietors for a reason to stay one more night.
They gave us a reason.
I-40 to Highway 89 and then on 89A to Jerome and Sedona.
First stop, a herd of antelope. I haven’t seen antelope since I lived in Wyoming.
Just above Jerome was an old mining ghost town. It was a little more like a junk yard, but it was filled with treasures.
A resident rabbit (just for the greyhounds).
And many old trucks, including this 1923 Ford Model TT hand-cranked dump bed truck.
Before we reached Sedona, we wound our way through Red Rock State Park.
As the sun broke the through the clouds, the views became more amazing.

Another great day on the road. Where tomorrow? Well, guess that depends on whether or not we get the 8-12 inches the weatherman promises.
Oh, and hey Hollyannakins, if you are reading this, Happy Birthday kiddo!

Southwest Tundra Road Trip • Day 5

We decided to take the train to the Grand Canyon. At 9:15 am we prepared to board.
Complete with train robbers…
and outlaws…
We found our seat in the observation deck of the Grand View car.
And slowly the train made its’ way to the Grand Canyon.
Totally excited and prepared for hours of photos, we didn’t expect snow and limited visibility.
It only took about 30 minutes before the clouds had taken over the canyon.
I’m sure if we could have seen the canyon, it would have been beautiful, but I never saw the other side, or the bottom.
At one point we couldn’t even see the closest canyon walls. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the red sky yesterday morning.
We enjoyed what we could and headed back to the station to catch the train.
The engine patiently waited for us in the snow.
And the lights were lit in Williams when we returned.
Not sure where we’re going tomorrow. Could be east, west, north or south. Guess we’ll know when we get there.

Southwest Tundra Road Trip • Day 4

And this is what we woke up to today. You know what they say “Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.” Oiy vey.
After a delightful breakfast at West Side Lilo’s in Seligman (which I highly recommend), we hit the streets. The temp you ask? A frosty 4°.
Even in snow, cars still needed to be repaired.
Deliveries had to be made.
And cars still lined up at the pumps for gas.
How appropriate, the Snow Cap Drive-In.
We ran out of Route 66 about 17 miles east of Seligman. Looking west on I-40.
We landed in Williams, Gateway to the Grand Canyon.
And what better way to earn a little extra cash than to stay at the Red Garter, originally one of the better brothels in town.
The road to the Grand Canyon.
Still traveling by horse and buggy.

Home to the Polar Express, the train arrives at the station.

Families lined up in anticipation of their trip to the North Pole to see Santa.

Christmas trees lined the streets.
And angels lined the pathways.

Southwest Tundra Road Trip • Day 3

We checked out of the Brunswick Hotel this morning. Sadly, we never experienced the ghosts that roamed the halls. Go figure.

And we waved good-bye to Kingman, promising that we would return.
Just a few years back nearly 90 trains a day passed through Kingman, my stay in Kingman was not going to be complete until I saw the Santa Fe “warbonnet” engine. I asked at the tourist center about them and was told that it was catch as catch can. And I did. Since Burlington Northern and Santa Fe have merged, there weren’t many warbonnets pulling the long trains and what few I did see all had BNSF in place of Santa Fe. Guess it was my very lucky day.
Next stop: Hackberry. It was a Greyhound bus line stop. The temptation to shimmy up the post and steal the sign was almost uncontrollable.

There was plenty of parking.
All along Route 66 we have enjoyed the Burma Shave signs.

Time to fill up the rental car with gas.

Two of our favorite things, greyhounds and Coke.
Chevy fire truck, ready to roll.
A wildlife rescue park in route just outside of Valentine grabbed our attention. These deer were so sweet.

Loving the rust.
The hint of snow in the mountains became a reality the farther east we drove.

The higher we climbed the deeper it got.
And then, we knew we were in the tundra.
Each time I stopped for a picture the snow got deeper and temperature got colder.
Until we reached the end of the trail in Seligman. I-40 had semis back up for miles. The roads had been closed and they all spent the night in Seligman, even though the power had been out for hours. The roads were open, but an accident caused by ice on the highway had stopped traffic dead in its tracks.
We had no TV and sketchy internet service. So Karen and I found a close-by truck stop that sold DVDs, we plugged my trusty little laptop in and watched a movie on the laptop.
What an awesome day.

Southwest Arctic Road Trip • Day 2

Breakfast at Mr. D’z… Absolutely fabulous.
We had to come back later so that I could belly up to the bar and have another of their homemade root beer.
You would never know that when we pulled into town yesterday it was raining sideways.
Arizona, desert and cactus with a splash of snow for the backdrop.
Road closed just beyond the bend.
Surprised my mom, hadn’t seen her for 6 years. We had a wonderful time. Love ya mom.
We’re hoping this sign will be in our rear view mirrors tomorrow. Weather permitting of course, but it looks promising.
A bluff outside of Kingman.
I am totally blown away by the beauty down here.
Many thanks to Casey, Tracy, Alesha, Alex, Diane and Deborah for letting me take Sponge Boss Square Pants away. She misses you, but I keep distracting her by stopping for yet one more picture. We are having the time of our lives.

Good night all. Hopefully will post again for tomorrow. Unlike Oregon, Arizona does not have a coffee shop every two buildings with Wi-Fi. I remain a hostage to technology.

Southwest Arctic Road Trip • Day 1

We’re flying the friendly skies. Temperature in Salem when we left, 24°. Brrrrrrr.
Flight was uneventful, leaving Las Vegas was uneventful and now the Southwest Arctic Road Trip of 2009 is ready to begin.
Gas, given my history of empty gas tanks, I promised that I would keep the tank on the top side of half. Ummmm, guess not.
If we could do the entire route, here it is.
Karen not looking at the map, but rather counting the shot gun holes. Note to self, be prepared to duck.
The landscape was peppered with cairns. I was hoping that the paved road would take us where we needed to go and I would not have to rely on them.
So different from Oregon, even in the overcast skies, Arizona is truly beautiful.
An Arizona Christmas tree.
Property for sale?
Oh lookie, shaggy greyhounds. Have I mentioned we really miss the doggies?
Seeing the wild burros on the sidewalks of Oatman was a trip. However, seeing a herd of wild burros in one of the gulches was a treat. We think we counted a dozen of them.
It’s mining country in them thar hills. Signs were posted everywhere to keep out and no trespassing. Hmmmm, maybe we’ll have to go back. Sounds like an invitation to me.
We found a century old hotel in Kingman. Rumor has it that it is haunted. You’ll have to come back to see if it really is.