|More of this coming below -- be patient!|
The map showed a very scenic route to the north from Flagstaff, but David didn’t want to take it, not wanting to end up in Denver with snow, and after his heroic driving of the day before I couldn’t argue, so we left Flagstaff on I-40, neither of us expecting much of the ride. I convinced him to exit somewhere so I could mail postcards, but there was no post office or anything else in Winona, except gorgeous views back toward Flagstaff, and that made the stop worthwhile.
We needed to stop for gas (not filling tank each time, as the car is so loaded down we don’t need the extra weight), and David wanted coffee, so we took a break in Winslow, Arizona, and discovered that the Eagles have done as much for the town as historic Route 66. As a long-time Eagles fan, I was pleased but somewhat taken aback, too, by all the "people our age" taking each other's pictures on this corner -- as we did, too!
But the best was yet to come. On our way out of Winslow, I saw on the map that we were headed toward the Petrified Forest National Monument! How could we not visit? We did not take the long road to the south, where the petrified logs are, but the Painted Desert loop was highly satisfactory. Breathtaking!
After a while, though, one despairs of capturing these vast scenes with a camera. “You can say what you want about Montana,” I remarked to David, “but how can a sky be bigger than this?” For relief, I looked to the wildflowers.
Senses sated, we continued west, but Arizona had not finished surprising us. “Oh, my god, what’s that? Look! Look at that!” The most fantastic rock formations and colors astounded us – and people and cattle and horses just live there, as if they’re on the prairie or something, which is mind-blowing, if you’ll excuse the expression. Amazed and astonished, I revert to a Sixties vocabulary.... “Oh, wow! Oh, wow!” How many times did I say that in a single day? We had not expected the Painted Cliffs!
Oh, Arizona, it’s hard to say good-by to you! Fortunately, we are on our way home to beautiful Michigan, with delights and loveliness all its own....