Monday, March 2, 2009

Highways and Byways

As we headed out of Tucson last Sunday morning(2/22), bright blue skies led us through Phoenix. Just north of Phoenix, we stopped at 2 old pueblo ruins – the Tuzigoot National Monument and Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. Both places were fascinating, examples of housing built and used by Sonaqua Indians in the 1300s. We had no idea we would be passing near them, but my friend Pete recommended them and we were glad we stopped.
The next stops were in the Sedona area. What a spectacular drive! I’ve always heard about the red rocks of Sedona, but we were absolutely amazed by these spectaculars mountains. We all decided it’d be great to spend a few days exploring the area more. Almost by accident, we found two great places to take pictures. We stopped at a “Tourist Information/Souvenir Shop” to ask where we might get some good views of the surrounding areas. The clerk gave us a little map and suggested an airport road and a chapel in the hills. The airport road overlooks the city and had some pretty terrific views. Then we headed up a little side road, which was under construction and quite narrow. When we finally got to Chapel Road and turned the corner we were amazed!! The Chapel of the Holy Cross was built into the hillside in 1957. It was a really neat spot and we are so glad that we found it!!

Traveling up Oak Creek Canyon toward Flagstaff brought cooler temperatures and some pretty views of this small creek. And snow!! Yes, first we saw it in the distant mountains, then it got closer and closer until it was right beside the road to welcome us to Flagstaff. It was about 40 degrees when we pulled into our hotel – they had the fireplace going in their lobby.

Monday’s drive brought us to the Hoover Dam and then into Las Vegas. We took the dam tour and walked the grounds there marveling at the dam and the new road being built to help bypass the dam. Next it was into Vegas and checking into The Flamingo. We spent the evening wandering down the strip and gawking like a bunch of tourists - it was great! A couple of the hotels have music/light/water fountain displays going all evening so we watched that and then spent some time watching people play Texas Hold 'Em -- none of us had a clue about how to play that game. On Tuesday morning we walked the other half of the strip. The M & M store was interesting - but we didn't buy anything. M&Ms went for $11.95 a pound!!! We stopped at the CVS on the way back to the hotel and bought a bag there... We did see a replica of the M&M car that Kyle Busch drove when he won this weeks' NASCAR race - in Las Vegas! At the end of the day, we said our goodbyes and dropped Larry and Sue off at the airport. We sure had fun with them and will miss them on the rest of our adventures.
From the Las Vegas Airport we drove south to visit our friends, John and Grace, in Lake Havasu. They were having a Fat Tuesday Party at their house - we missed dinner, but they saved us some yummy gumbo and jambalaya. During our week in Havasu we enjoyed beautiful weather, toured the city, including the Colorado River as it goes thru town and under the London Bridge. We spent a day traveling on old Route 66 to the little mining town of Oatman. It is about 4 blocks long and the big attraction in town each day when the wild burrows come into town. They were pretty funny - acted like they owned the place! Another highlight was driving out to the Desert Bar near Parker, AZ. It's about 5 miles off the highway on dirt roads in the middle of the desert - Great music, cold beer and spectacular views. I do believe I need to get back to this area when the desert is in bloom!!! We had a great time in this little town and I'm sure we'll get back there again someday.
This morning (Monday, 3/2) we bid goodbye to John and Grace and headed the car to the Grand Canyon; tonight we find ourselves back in Flagstaff, AZ. The Canyon was absolutely awesome - I'll have to write about it in my next blog... for now, enjoy the images I have here. In the morning, we will drive over to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I can't believe we've been on the road for 7 weeks already! We'll be home a week from tomorrow - whew!!

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