Friday, August 5, 2011

Road Trip, Summer 2011: Route 66. Day 4.

First, another great shot of the Acoma Pueblo:

Day 4: A busy one! Holbrook, Arizona, back about twenty miles, then onward to Flagstaff, Arizona.

We breakfasted at our Travelodge with a Swiss Banker and his family, who exhorted Max to attend grad school immediately after graduation from undergrad. (Max, who is a college senior now, is resisting further education at this point: he's sick of school and wants to experience the "real world." Snicker.)

Our first stop on the trail actually took us back east to the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. At the Painted Desert, we ran into two Southern Gentlemen who were touring the West together in this:

These guys had actually been on the Acoma Pueblo tour with us the previous afternoon. The older of the two men was a truck driver who has driven all over the West but, because of his rig, never was able to see the sights. So, he bought the above beauty and asked his daughter's live-in boyfriend (a retired pipe fitter) to come along sightseeing. Their transportation had already broken down several times, but at least it had air conditioning!

The Painted Desert Inn, a former hotel that is now a tourist attraction, was worth viewing:

From the Painted Desert, we headed south to the Petrified Forest:

And then from there, we made haste to Flagstaff, one of my favorite towns in the United States. I've been through twice before and it's so pretty, and the people seem so cool, that I was excited to visit once again...this time, in the summer.

Our agenda when we arrived in Flagstaff was 1) eat lunch; 2) find a place to stay; and 3) drive up to the Grand Canyon.

Driving into town, we saw a guy rolling a cigarette on a street corner and asked him where we should go to lunch. He recommended the Lumberyard Brewing Company. So Max and I walked past the Train Depot and into the restaurant, enjoying a tasty lunch and a couple of fresh-brewed cold ones (yes, my baby boy is 21).

As we ate, I checked out my Road Trip 66! iPhone app for recommended hotels in Flagstaff. I fully intended to stay in a Quality Inn or motel of equal caliber, but the app suggested the Hotel Monte Vista, built in 1926 and not only the favorite of many a Hollywood legend, but haunted as well!** I immediately called and booked the Jack Daniels suite--the rooms are named for their famous occupants. Thus, lunch taken care of and a room reserved, Max and I were off to the Grand Canyon.

Max had been to the Grand Canyon when he was five, but he had no memory of that visit, so he was really excited to see it again as an adult.

Although we didn't do anything special at the Grand Canyon, like hike or take a helicopter ride, we stopped off at a number of overlooks and were, of course, amazed and impressed. I would love to take a rafting trip down the Colorado and through the Canyon someday.

Back to Flagstaff, where our first mission was to hit up the hotel bar! There, we met a Burlington-Northern Santa Fe train conductor (I've never met a train conductor before!) and then two Flagstaff guys who told us that everybody in Flagstaff--including the teachers, the attorneys AND even the judges--gets stoned regularly. (Don't worry, we didn't. But still, what a town!)

There are two more Flagstaff restaurants I need to mention. That evening, we dined at a wonderful wine bar called Cuvee 928. The food was delicious the wine selection lovely, and the prices were reasonable (I had the fish tacos). The next morning, we had a fabulous Mexican breakfast at MartAnne's Burrito Palace. Whoa, boy, my eggs + chorizo, hashbrowns and beans was spicy and filling. Perfect start to the last leg of our trip...across the desert to L.A.

**Sadly, I didn't see any ghosts in the Jack Daniel's suite at the Hotel Monte Vista. But apparently John Wayne did while he was a guest!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Road Trip, Summer 2011: Route 66. Day 3.

Route: Tucumcari, New Mexico to Holbrook, Arizona.

Breakfast at Cline's Corners, New Mexico. The coffee was strong and so was the morality:

Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico. Max and I toured a still-inhabited ancient pueblo village on the top of a 367-foot mesa. Our tour guide, Joseph, was amazing, but it was incredibly hot on the top of the bluff. And I somehow thought Birkenstocks would be appropriate footwear. Nonetheless, our visit was totally cool and I highly recommend a detour from Route 66 to see Sky City.

Me climbing down from the mesa on the original stone steps. In Birkenstocks.