We are now in Blythe, CA. We've stayed in Raton, NM and Holbrook, AZ for the last two nights. We have been road tripping. I will admit to feeling like I can drive on a freeway once again...
Tuesday was crazy. Not only did we get Jet off to school, get the van packed, but I also finished the third baby sweater of the weekend and biked to Xilinx to deliver it to an empty chair. I also got all 30 some odd tomatoes repotted into bigger pots so that I could start another round of bush and cherry tomatoes as there seems to be some demand for them not only at the OUR center but in the neighborhood. *grin*
I called the lady I gave the baby sweaters to today in order to get her address for a post card and she happily enthused about the sweaters, and when I said, "I'm really glad you liked them." She answered, "No. I didn't "like" them, I *loved* them." Not only for being hand made but for how cool they were in and of themselves. I need to accept that. *grin* She said so! But I was then very glad I'd gone to the extra effort of getting them to her before we left.
When Jet got home from school on Tuesday, I was in the shower, and we then hopped into the loaded van and left. We promptly turned back as I'd forgotten my glasses and extra contact lenses, just in case, and we got those and headed out again.
I hadn't slept well the last two nights, trying to remember things. So while Jet watched a movie, twice, I napped. Yes, there are six-year-olds who can't sit through a single movie, and Jet deliberately watches movies twice in a row. He watched Chicken Little on Tuesday, Cars yesterday, and Mulan 2 today. Twice, each.
I got to drive the night driving, and I realized that I hadn't done this in a long time and I started out quite tentatively. It's been a long time since John and I did the 24 hour drives between LA and Seattle. I really regret having a car new enough to have the daylight running lights which I cannot turn off to tell a truck that, yes, they are clear of our car now. Or "thank you" when they blink their lights at me to tell me I'm clear. It's sad to lose that small bit of communication.
But the road felt good soon enough. Rolling along and feeling like I was the real traveler and the cars that just got on and got off in the town were just short time intruders, soon gone.
Raton was nice enough. We got in late, and just went to sleep.
Wednesday we got to Santa Fe just before lunch time and went to the Tecolote Cafe! Sandy at the OUR center had recommended it to John and it was absolutely fabulous. Jet ate two whole plates of French Toast made with orange poppyseed bread. John had a Shepherd's breakfast with meats, eggs, potatoes all smothered in Christmas Chili, i.e. red and green chili on each side of the plate. I had the carne y huevos, which had a red chile cooked pork with over medium eggs, thin sliced potatoes crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and a whole basket of baked goodies like corn muffins, blueberry muffins, and biscuits. The motto of the place is "Great Breakfast! No Toast!" Hee.
It was worth the doing.
Gallup was not worth the stop, at least downtown wasn't. Depressed, depressing, and confusing in many ways. One shop did let Jet use their bathroom, even though it wasn't a "publish restroom", they made the exception for Jet, so we bought a belt for him there as he needed it. Snow came down in pellets blowing nearly horizontal in the gusts of wind. I almost bought another Pendleton blanket, but it still seems odd to buy blankets made in Oregon in the middle of New Mexico. And it seemed really bad karma to buy the Dead Pawned blankets from the Pawn shop even though they were nearly half the price of new.
While we were debating all the bad choices a drunken, big Indian opened the van door to ask us for help with some food. *sigh* He was big, too, and scary. But he did go away, finally, when John said we didn't have any food to give him.
Bad juju. So we just left.
Thinking about it, it was probably the right thing to do anyway...
We even stopped at the Gallup, NM Super 8 and found that it's pool was broken. John called ahead to Holbrook and found a Days Inn with a working, heated, indoor pool, and we took the extra hour to go there. We did get Jet his nuggets at McDonald's and we got green chili burgers at Blake's Lottaburger, a local favorite.
That and the swim got us happy again, and the Days Inn beds were very comfortable. Plus they gave us eight pillows for the beds! Jet was bemused by that, and we enjoyed the extra pillowage a lot.
This morning we drove to the Wigwam Hotel, which has individual rooms in big teepee-like structures. They seemed pretty small, but they were beautiful. They also had old cars parked out front, which were beautiful dusted with a bit of snow. I really liked that. I almost wished we'd stayed there, but it was clear it wouldn't have been as comfortable.
Also, nearly all the hotels are charging only about $40-50 a night instead of the $80-100 we were seeing in the summer. So the off-season rates really are nice.
From the Wigwam we decided to keep going West instead of back to Dinosaur Park or the Petrified Forest National Park. John drove us right to the Meteor Crater. They charged a good deal going in, but when we went in and up and up and really felt the altitude, we got out to see the actual crater and WOW was it worth it!
It's huge. Nearly beyond description. It's a perfect bowl, 4000 feet across and deep enough to hold the Washington Monument entirely in it, about 500 feet deep. The model of a six foot tall astronaut at the bottom was nearly invisibly small. They'd used it for moon walk practice, in case they landed on one of the many craters on the moon, so they could look at it geologically. It was immense and impressive, and Jet loved seeing it and all the data in the museum about how it had happened and all the related things to it. Jet especially loved the simulation game where he could pick the size, speed, density, and trajectory into the atmosphere. The first time he "played" he destroyed the Earth. *giggles*
It was good to do. I really enjoyed it and the boys did, too.
We drove further West. Just past Flagstaff, at Seligman, we headed off on the Historical Route 66. Turns out that Seligman, back in the 60's or 70's, was the first town that thought to preserve a part of the old route, as it had been breaking up and dying due to the advent of I-40. They though to keep it and hold on to it. There is a town on that leg of the route called "Peach Springs" nearly in exactly the same spot on the map as shown for "Radiator Spring" in the Cars movie. We wanted to go there.
It turns out that the terrain is very different than in the movie. Most of the red rock desert pictured in the movie was back in New Mexico. The stuff out there was browner, with bigger bushes, no cactus (later to be seen past Kingman, and further south in Arizona).
The town itself was a bit of suburbia and then just a single Spa hotel with salt water spas at the end of town. That was it. So we just drove on by. The town was also in the middle of an Indian Reservation, which might be why it is the way it is. But it was kind of a let down.
The drive was beautiful, though. And in the middle of it was a tiny town named Hackberry, which had a tiny General Store that had all kinds of Route 66 memorabilia inside and an incredible collection of stuff on the outside, including a convertible Corvette and a Model A sitting in her own shed filled with More Stuff. There were cattle skulls, rotted tires, a whole wall of hub caps, and all kinds of license plates. Inside there were shirts, cups, caps, and even Route 66 beer root beer. Hee. Both Jet and I got a bottle, and he now proudly keeps his.
John took us down 95 and both Jet and I napped while he drove. I did the bit along I-10 and we got to this Super 8 by 6. We tried to use the pool, but it was an outdoor pool and completely unheated. I guess they don't usually need to heat it in the summer, but it was too cold for us. So we just went to the Sunset Grill for dinner, and had great diner food. I really enjoyed my chicken and waffles. The skin was shatteringly crisp and the chicken was moist and tender, the waffles were crisp and rich with butter and eggs. The mash with brown gravy was savory and wonderful and the slaw was crisp, sweet and tart. Jet loved his dinosaur nuggets and curly fries. The nuggets were just nuggets and we had to "make out" dinosaurs. He loved eating something he thought was a T. Rex. Hee. John's chicken fried steak was hot, crisp and slathered in a lovely white sausage gravy. They did diner food really well.
I happily found the wireless connection here at the hotel and thought I'd finally catch people up on where we are. *grin*
I'm happy and tired and feeling like it's been worth all the work and time to do this this way. Seeing at least some of the land we go through. It was odd to catch just a flash of the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City and not stop to really look.
We're likely to take more of the back roads to San Diego, not the Interstates. It'd be nice to go back to Julian and see that bakery out there. Someone at the OUR center had recommended it to John, and I remember a motorcycle ride I once went on with Steve out there just to get some of the apple pie. *grin* We'll see if it's what I remember...