Day 6 - Flagstaff
|Monday, June 12, 2023: We woke up around 7:00 AM to low clouds and a very light rain. We took the sun shades out of the windows, got the van put back together, ....
|... and pulled away from the parking area, our temporary home for the night.
|We were driving southwest across the narrow Oklahoma panhandle ...
|... past this Santa Fe railroad caboose in Boise City, Oklahoma, ...
|... and into New Mexico.
|A few minutes after crossing into New Mexico, we came to the northwestern corner of Texas. We pulled off onto the side of the road, got out of the van, and looked for the marker for the official corner of the state.
|After a few minutes, we found it. It was embedded in a small square of concrete.
|Let's take a closer look at this U.S. Department of the Interior disk.
|There were pretty purple flowers growing nearby.
|We saw references to Kiowa National Grasslands as we drove through Clayton, New Mexico. They were about 60 miles to the west and south of Clayton and well off our route, so we wouldn't be seeing them on this trip.
|The Luna Theater looked like it had some great neon on its marquee.
|The sky was still gray and gloomy, ...
|... with occasional spooky fog. Luckily, it was mostly uninterrupted ranch land on both sides of the road, so we weren't missing much scenery.
|Finally, we were starting to see some rolling hills as we got to the western edge of the plains.
|When we got to Springer, New Mexico, we decided to stop at Zayra's Cafe for second breakfast. Do you know about that?
|Debbie ordered an omelet with potatoes and toast, ...
|... and Tom ordered a burrito. Both were delicious, and we very much enjoyed being out of the van.
|As we drove through Cimarron, New Mexico, a pickup truck driving in the opposite direction tossed a rock from its tires that chipped the windshield. We immediately pulled off into the parking lot of a closed retail store to repair it.
|Tom got out the Rain-X repair kit that we travel with and quickly set about sealing it.
|After twenty minutes, we were back on the road, travelling on the Santa Fe Trail toward Taos.
|As we headed up into the mountain passes, the sky was clearing, giving us a much better view of the beautiful scenery around us.
|We drove through an area with spectacular cliffs on the north side of the road. We pulled off into a parking area to take a closer look. The area is known as Palisades Sill.
|Wouldn't you stop to look at this? It's just gorgeous.
|The road wound around Eagle Nest Lake, ...
|... where there are elk, apparently.
|We slowed to a halt for some construction traffic, ...
|... just outside Carson National Forest.
|Say it with us: uh-dough-beee.
|After winding through the mountains, we came out of the hills and reached Taos, New Mexico.
|Huh, Taos is flat. We did not know that. Well, that's why you go places.
|The phone number for the Topsy Gallery appears to be missing some numbers. Do they ever wonder why the phone doesn't ring?
|As we drove south out of Taos, we drove through the Rio Grande Gorge, part of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. This portion of the river is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, which was a new one for us.
|Hey! That's the Rio Grande!
|It definitely deserves the "wild and scenic river" designation in this area. Look at those rapids!
|As we approached the town of Pojoaque, an overpass had the word "Posuwaegeh" on it. This area was once dominated by the Tewa Tribe of Native Americans, and Posuwaegeh Owingeh was the name of the pueblo in the indigenous Tewa language which means "water drinking place village."
|A few minutes later, we could see the Santa Fe Opera on the outskirts of Santa Fe.
|It is a beautiful building, with a distinctive roof line.
|As we got into the heart of Santa Fe, we decided to drive through downtown. We were here in 2003 for a 4D Summit, and we stayed in this area at the Eldorado Hotel.
|There are lots of narrow, one-way streets, so it is really much better to park and walk around if you want to really see anything, but we were content to just drive through.
|Debbie realized that we weren't very far from the New Mexico State Capitol building, so we headed that way to get a better picture for our collection.
|Just after 2:30 PM, we arrived at the National Park Service administrative building for the Old Santa Fe Trail.
|It was closed to the public for renovations, but the parking lot was still open. We parked and walked up to the building, and Debbie used her camera to get a look inside by holding it up to window over the door.
|Nailed it! Check out the big portrait at the far end of the building.
|That's a portrait of Stephen Mather, ...
|... and mounted below it is a Mather plaque. You can just make it out in this photo, but that counts! Debbie had been calling the office for weeks trying to see if we could arrange to see it, but we'd never heard back from anyone, so we were so happy that we could see it even though the building was closed.
|Triumphant, we headed back to the van, ...
|... and celebrated with chocolate Frosties from a nearby Wendy's.
|Leaving Santa Fe behind, we got on I-25 headed south, thrilled to be on a multi-lane interstate once again.
|The signs still warned of elk, but we didn't see any.
|The scenery in the southwest is so stark and beautiful, with the bright red of the mesas contrasting with the greens of the low scrub.
|Rainbow shiny! We don't know what this was, but it sure was pretty.
|We stopped at McDonald's for dinner in Albuquerque, and continued westward on I-40.
|Just before 6:00 PM, we entered Arizona, ...
|... and stopped at a rest area right after the border. We like to make fun of the incorrect wording on the signs that the State of Arizona posts in their rest areas: "Poisonous snakes and insects inhabit the area." As Jill likes to say in response, "Better not eat 'em."
|We watched as a very long freight train loaded with Maersk containers went by. We had to text Jill and Jared and sent them a picture to confirm our win, ...
|... and they took it in style. Jill coined the phrase "a Maersk murder," while Jared replied with a meme reminding us that it only counts as one win.
|At the site of the Twin Arrows Trading Post, we got a photo showing that it should be referred to as "formerly known as Twin Arrows" since one of the arrows has fallen over and is lying nearby on the ground. You can just see the yellow and red of the second arrow in the bottom left of this blurry photo.
|The sun was setting behind Mount Humphreys as we approached Flagstaff.
|We passed our favorite Del Taco on the way to our hotel but had already had dinner an hour earlier so we didn't stop for anything other than a photo.
|We were checked in and in our room just after 7:30 PM. It had been two long driving days, and we were ready to relax in air conditioned comfort and sleep in soft beds that were fully horizontal.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy