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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Monday, March 11, 2013

Standin' On A Corner in Winslow, Arizona! ( at last)

March 11, 2013 3:53 PM (PST sort of ) Quality Inn Room 102 Winslow, Arizona

Up at 7---beautiful day, cloudless, sunny, 39 degrees, so we decided, in Amy's words to " blow this popcorn stand!". Got on the road by 8:30 and headed west on 60 toward Magdalena. We've been this way before several years ago and returned from the Painted Desert/ Petrified Forest this way 2 years ago.  As we drove along, Bill told me that the nicotine patches he's been wearing in an attempt to kick the habit give him dreams--not nightmares, but strange dreams. Seems last night he dreamt he was with a bunch of guinea pigs or some animals that snorted. He was quite amused when the dream woke him up and the noise was my snoring!!! LOL  Very funny, Bill!

 I found directions to a ghost town, Kelley, just outside Magdalena and so we detoured on to FR 505. Now in Texas, FR means farm road, here in New Mexico it means forest road. Kelley is about three miles off the paved road but after 1 mile on this Cibola Forest road we began to worry that we were going to blow a tire or find ourselves unable to turn around, so we abandoned the venture and got back to civilization.  Strike one!




Having watched the second link, I think it best we didn't continue--it would have made me sad, I think. On we continued, 'til we came to the  Plains of San Agustin, home of the VLA, or Very Large Array. Gloria wasn't impressed--she says " big deal, a whole lot of satellite dishes" --and she is right. However, any kid who ever studied General Science in a certain period of time, remembers the black and white picture of this strange looking group of " things" spread out as far as the eye could see. No one had satellite dishes then or even knew what they were. They looked alien and since they were being used to detect signals from outer space they were more science fiction than science. The first time I saw them spread across the plain on both sides of the road I was so impressed. Today, there was only a fragment of the number just two years ago and they were all bunched up near the visitors' center. These dishes have become obsolete and I had read somewhere that this and two other locations were basically being replaced by more modern technology at one central location--where, I cannot remember.


As we continued to higher elevations we realized that we had made a good decision in waiting out the weather. The higher we went the more snow we encountered alongside the road and in places it was evident that there had been both plowing and heavy use of salt. When we arrived in Pie Town I asked Bill if we could stop for pie and coffee since we have never done so and I've always wanted to stop....As we came into town a large Thunderbird demanded that we STOP and so we did, only to find, along with a couple from Iowa, that neither pie shop was open. Second strike!

On we continued, us high plains drifters, came upon a heliport complete with wind sock in the middle of nowhere--not a thing in sight but shrubs and little trees and hills!  Crazy--but a nice cement pad, securely fenced and locked so somebody must have reason to appear in no man's land at some time.

In time we reached Quemado, an interesting looking place with a cute little adobe church. I wonder who the famous rodeo riders were who lived there and when. Found this tidbit of info about the surrounding area--but guess what?  We've missed it everytime we've driven by---don't think I mind.


Moving along we came upon a beautiful snow covered plateau which is actually a mountain of over 10,000 ft high. Don't have my map handy so cannot tell you its name at the moment--but then you probably don't care. Soon Bill felt that we'd come upon a sufficiently isolated spot to relieve himself--I was very amused to notice that he had an audience anyway!  Both horses looked but one went back to grazing and the other momentarily looked away but then could not resist another look.

And then we were in Arizona!  Ahead of us we could see the mountains on the Apache reservation. It is a gorgeous trip from Springerville over those  mountains to Snowflake, but missing the turn we followed 60 into Show Low. Strike three, since Bill wanted to eat at the restaurant we'd enjoyed in Eager. At Springerville we had to pass through a cut in the rock and though I didn't take a picture there was a work crew repairing the guard rails that someone had taken out coming round and down the grade. Route 60 to Show Low was a new path for us and that was nice since lately we seem to have been over the same ground--not that we don't love the places we've been but we thirst for new things to explore at times. This strange looking bunker like decorated building on the bluff outside Springerville is actually the rest area building. Very unusual.

This path led us up in elevation but unlike the Apache reservation which takes us through tall trees and a high mountain lake this route took us through hills that looked like buff colored suede dusted with confectionery sugar.  It is never hard to see where the road is going to lead, even when it is taking a sharp turn into the wooded hills ahead--you can see for miles and miles out here--it is so amazing! Then you are spilled out onto yet another high plain like dice rolled out of the hand of a giant.

In time, we reached Show Low, Az. I love this little burg--though in actuality it is rather monied when you go into the main area--a bit Hanoverish--but here at its southern climes it is little businesses and car dealerships.  And so --there it was--today's home run--Jalapenos Cafe--the most delicious chili burgers you could imagine--a fun lady owner and her husband, the cook. She says she read the blog of another customer and they said she talked too much--LOL No way, her husband was terrific--told Bill that the chili had a bite but not super hot, came around and gave us utensils and told us how to eat a really delicious burger that I got so busy eating I forgot to photograph!! She was fun and said the chili was terrific and was a third generation recipe from her family. She did not lie. I returned Betsy's call from here--she'd called while we were in the boonies--no service. Got her earrings and loved them. Also a package from Gurney's. Bill told her to open it and see if they sent his peach tree--said it was early and they should not have--but if they did, she needed to open it and keep the roots moist. She said--he's kidding right?  I said, nope!

Picked up 77 here and passed through farmland into Taylor which in turn runs directly into Snowflake.  I love the fact that the two towns have obviously cooperated in having a seamless blending with the streetlamps that runs through them both. I liked them the first time we came through here from Holbrook headed back to NM a couple of years ago. Now, after Snowflake we entered mirage territory- I'm fascinated by mirages. They even reflect just like a real puddle and yet they are not real. What refraction of light can do!  Science everywhere one looks.

And then, Holbrook!  Rte 66 once more. We called to make sure we could get a room in Winslow from here. If we couldn't we were going to explore the possibility of a night at the WigWam Motel--a relic of the heyday of the Mother Road. But Winslow had room and it was truly too early to stop.  We'll do it on another trip, I know we will!


Doesn't it look like a kick??

Now, for the last 30 or so miles we got on the I 40 which for the most part has followed the route of 66. It was fun to see an exit built especially for the Geronimo gift shop, which advertised for several miles. It was less fun to see a power plant opposite some really colorful bluffs. Passed a cop on the Interstate who was supporting the arrest--one can assume since the guy was handcuffed and being patted down by another cop on a frontage road--of a pedestrian on the side road. Shortly, thereafter we came upon a work truck spraying the center area between lanes--for insects? for shrubs?  Don't know but it was strong and made me sick to my stomach. Then there was JackRabbit Rd leading to the JackRabbit gift shop etc.

At last, looming before us were Winslow's peaks--the East and the West Sunset Mountains. I bet they are gorgeous when the light of sunset hit their snow covered caps. And so, our day ended --in a place that did not spring ahead. The hour we lost Sunday night, regained. The desk clerk said that for six months of the year Az is in MST and then it jumps a time zone, into PST. On the other hand, should we go to Tuba City ( a plan, at the moment) which is on the Navajo Nation, we will lose it once more.

Ate in DJ's and chatted with a young guy--in his 40s--who lives in Needles, indeed, grew up there. Interesting history of the town and his life there. Mostly, it is railroad, railroad,railroad. Speaking of which, we're thinking railroad to the Grand Canyon, but that's another installment. So for now, I'll say good-night from the corner. We're going to catch another episode of House of Cards and then to bed. For now--here's your lullaby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZwFmNmB0OQ

And as a final note:  When Bill Pond and Addison Pond were riding down the road--and this song came on--Addison Pond turned that radio right off. Sort of the same thing--when Kathy Brown was listening to Jerry Lee Lewis singing Great Balls of Fire and Joe Brown came into her room and smashed the record. Well, Bill Pond and Kathy Pond never censored Betsy Pond's music--guess we were scarred--oh, dear, better make another shrink appointment!!! Nightie night, gang!  KandB

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