Saturday, April 22, 2017

To Phoenix...and Beyond! Part Two

Thursday dawned warm and dry--not only is the UV index higher in AZ, the humidity is lower. It is, after all, a desert.

Summer had mentioned needing a bit of time before we left on Thursday to check in with her online classes, and I had brought my running shoes because my momentum has been really great lately and I didn't want to lose it.

I ran two miles, but it was definitely more labored than usual--the dry air and the elevation difference (I later Googled it, and Peoria is just a hair over 1,000 feet higher than Antelope) took their toll. Still, I felt good, and glad I'd done that for myself. In a smart move, I'd brought my hydration belt with me.

Summer's neighborhood--I didn't worry about getting lost,
there's lots of looping streets and I had GPS on my phone,
of course.

If you look closely, there are two small birds on the two
small round parts of the cactus on the right. I didn't realize
this when I took the pic. 

Proud desert runner. 

Summer and Ben's house, and the awesome tree in the yard.

Buddy. I have a favorite thing with him. I say, "Buddy" in my
best silly voice, and the tip of his tail thunks on his bed. We
do this over and over, and he gives me those puppy eyes. 
By 8:30, we were on the road for the two-hour drive to Flagstaff...with a twist. It would end up taking us all day to get there, because we had Plans.

While Summer had been teaching her class, I was perusing Google Maps and our route to Flagstaff. I found something called Montezuma's Castle, and it turned out to be a Native American site--an 800-year-old cliff dwelling. I suggested it in a semi-pleading voice to Summer as a possible stop, and she enthusiastically agreed.

As we left Peoria, I caught this sign pic.

Leaving the greater Phoenix area.

Montezuma's Castle is a national park, but it's not a very big one. The total loop walk is one-third of a mile, but it's a lovely walk, and, of course, you get to see what I saw described online as "eight hundred year-old apartments."

Oh, I will. 

You come around a bend in the path, and there they are.

I asked if I could take a picture, and he nodded.

Of course, I took some pictures with my Canon, too.

Before hitting the freeway, we stopped for gas and bottled water--I was thirsty the whole time I was in Arizona--and I saw a Kettle Corn food truck in the gas station parking lot, which struck me as hilarious.

Our next stop was Sedona, and before I post pictures of the town, let me make one thing clear: 

Yes, I probably saw Snoopy Rock. Here's the thing, though: I didn't recognize it, so I can't tell you where it was...because (here comes the unpopular opinion) it doesn't look like Snoopy. Trust someone who knows Snoopy very well. I saw a lot of red rocks. Some that vaguely resembled Snoopy on his doghouse. But none that screamed, "That's it!!" Because the rock. Does. Not. Look. Like. Snoopy.

Enough about that.

After Montezuma's Castle, we left the main highway and turned off onto a smaller one towards Sedona. We were happily driving along, and then we came around a bend. BOOM. The landscape went from low green scrub to red rocks. It was pretty amazing.

We stopped at a rest stop and visitors center to take some pictures.

I got my Canon out, of course.

Then it was onward towards Sedona.

Sedona is one of those artsy places that springs up from time to time--very spiritual and with tons of chi-chi shops and restaurants. It was very cute, of course, and we enjoyed looking around a large shopping area after having lunch.

Of course Cali Swimmy came with me! It's not too hot in
Sedona, but he was still grateful for a quick paddle. 

A random little chapel in a shopping area.

Of course, Kokopeli is everywhere.

Einstein, just hanging out. We also saw Mark Twain.

From Sedona, it was not too far to Flagstaff--the endpoint of our journey for Thursday. We had booked a hotel room in the small city, and I was anxious to see the famous historic Route 66 (now Highway 40), which runs through town.

There were a few of these in the historic district. I didn't try
one out.

We had to cross a busy track to get to the brewery for dinner, and
both times, we had to wait for very long trains. It reminded me
of my Chico days, when I'd have to wait for a train before I could
get the last half-a-block to my apartment.

Yes, I bought one, and yes, it was delicious (strawberry).

Flagstaff had lots of great signs.

Longest. Train.


The disembodied hands on this one were a bit creepy.

We were both exhausted from a full day, and we had a very early start the next morning for a very Grand adventure (I'm not being subtle at all). 

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