We flew out, this time Southwest Airlines, on August 29, for Las Vegas – plane change in Albuquerque. When we arrived in Vegas, we got our rent car (a cute red Caliber) and headed up to the Hoover Dam. Awesome, do I need to repeat, awesome! It so amazes me that this engineering marvel was built in 1936 in the middle of a desert. Of course, it took a mind boggling, beau coups amount of cement, men, dirt and sweat! We walked across the dam, as did many tourists – and, yes, it was definitely a hot day! We left the dam and drove south to Route 66 and headed over to Flagstaff. This took about 3 hours, if I recall properly.
After arriving in Flagstaff, we finally located our little motel – I think we actually drove by it several times. Upon checking in, we set out on foot to explore the town. I fell in love. It was such a charming town; easy to navigate, attractive and quiet, a comfortable atmosphere. We stayed around Flagstaff the next day, visited a branch of the Public Library – it was a nice facility, a cooperative effort between the community college and the city. We discovered Riordan Mansion State Historic Park and toured the homes of a prominent pioneer family. Two brothers built the mansion in 1904; one had one side and designed it to his taste. The other brother designed the other half to fit his family. Different and fascinating.
The next day we had tickets for a train trip on the Grand Canyon Railroad. We boarded at Williams, Arizona and rode the train to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. What a fun trip. Leaving at 10:00 a.m., the train took almost two hours to get to the rim. Sparkling wine was served along the way! When we arrived, the first thing we did was walk up to the edge – and there was my first view of the Canyon! Unforgettable! I was speechless for several minutes. It was hard for me to believe that I was standing on the rim of one of the world’s wonders – spectacular – miles and miles of sliced rock before me – haunting nature exhibited. Colors changing as the light changed, purples, oranges – so many colors. We were hungry, so we had lunch at one of the oldest hotels at the rim, the Grand Canyon National Park Lodge. Yummy! Then, we walked the rim as far as we dared since we had to be back by 3:45 to board the train back to Williams. This was one fun filled tiring day!
On Saturday, we drove south from Flagstaff toward Sedona and Prescott, Arizona. We decided to take the scenic route – and, yes, it most certainly was. Gorgeous tall trees and very windy roads! A stream occasionally presented itself alongside the road. We found Sedona, parked the car and walked. No longer in the “forest”, there is nothing to compare with the vivid color of the red rocks and striking vista. Awed, we returned to our car and set out for some wineries I had wanted to find. We stopped at Oak Creek Vineyards in the flatlands, and Page Springs Cellars. Very nice products – I was impressed. Our next visit was to the Jerome Winery. Omigosh, what an experience. After a paper clip shaped road up a tall hill with a multitude of curves, we found this utterly charming mining town of Jerome. Settling on a place to park, we located the winery and I enjoyed a tasting. Very, very nice! Then, we found a delightful bistro and had an amazing lunch. We did a bit of shopping in Jerome – an artsy town on its way to rejuvenation. Since we had had such an experience with windy roads, we opted to return to Flagstaff and did not go in to Prescott. On the way back, we took the Interstate – this was a straight road! However, we most certainly had a lovely day.
Sunday dawned and we decided to go to Mt. Humphreys. We had heard about it, seen some information, so we drove over to the base – bought some tickets for the ski lift to the top of the mountain. This was one of the most wonderful experiences – we could see forever! When we got up to the top, we could see the Grand Canyon in the distance! After we returned to the base of the mountain, we hit the road for the Petrified Forest. My friend drove this time as we viewed miles and miles of sandy flatland, no trees but plenty of various cacti. Finally we see a sign for our destination. We head the direction indicated, pay the park entrance fee, stop at the visitor center, and then proceed through the “forest”. I had long wondered what the Petrified Forest was like. Now I know. Marvelous pieces of wood long past the “wood” stage, now rock, large trunks on their sides – so amazing. We stopped at a hiking area, but didn’t hesitate too long because we could see a storm brewing. We were able to leave the park without being pelted with rain, but on the road back, had to pull over several times. The water on the road was dangerous. I am so impressed with my friend’s driving ability and credit her with the fact that we made it back to Flagstaff unscathed, albeit a bit wet.
Along came Monday – we had to pack up and leave Flagstaff. I want to go back – I love that town. But, we had reservations the next day to return to Texas. So, we got in our little Caliber, headed out on Rt.66 to Las Vegas – had a charming lunch at a café in Seligman, Arizona. We finally arrived at the Hawthorne Inn and Suites in Henderson, Nevada and returned to Texas the next day. Arizona experience over, but certainly will not be forgotten.