Monday, August 29, 2005

Road trip - Day 6

Day 6 – June 30 – Grand Canyon to Pinetop/Lakeside

Up early, we grab breakfast at the Surly Café, then walk to the Red Line tram to see the canyon before we go.

Surprisingly, we're sharing a tram car with the "Swedish" family we sat next to in Kingsman, 150 or so miles earlier. They -- and several others -- are from a tour group from Iceland. We stop a few times on the way to the end of the line, at one point sharing an overlook with just one other person. It's a 3000 foot drop, straight down, and (happily) Krys is very hesitant to even get near the fence at the edge.

We tram to the end and back, check out of the hotel, hop in the car, and hit the road again. On the way to Flagstaff, we stumble across a gift shop that we'd heard about, and we've really got to use the bathroom, so we stop. Bathroom use costs 50 cents, because they have to truck their water in, but we buy a few trinkets (and a really neat gift for someone). It's dark, too, because their generator's out. We're talking ruu-ral.

We arrive in Flagstaff, and take a left turn towards Albuquerque. We stop at Albertsons for gas and -- you guessed it -- bottled water, and get fixin's for lunch and dinner. Back on the road, where signs urge us -- beg us, please! -- see the meteor crater! give us your tourist money! We pass.

Similarly, Kim was not impressed, but I was looking forward to standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, so I took a detour off the interstate in the hopes that I'd find it. It was surprisingly simple, because it's at the corner of the main eastbound street in town and Kinsley Ave. If I'd have been coming westbound, I don't know that I'd have found it.

I'd never thought about it, but of course your standard intersection will have four corners, and this one was no different. The northeast corner had a Route 66-themed Hallmark store with a wooden cowboy out front. The southwest corner had an Eagles themed gift shop blaring their music across the intersection. And the real corner, the northwest one, has a bronze statue and a trompe l'oeil painting of windows reflecting a girl (my lord!) in a flatbed Ford. (The southeast corner, incidentally, has a visitor information kiosk in a parking lot.) Sadly, the park with the bronze statue is next to a JC Penneys that burned down last fall, so the entire area is cordoned off with a chain link fence.

We hit the drive-thru at Sonic (the first time I've ever been to a Sonic) for a cold drink, and head a few blocks down the road to a rest area, where we can use the bathrooms (locked?! doh!) and eat our lunch fixins from Flagstaff. Krys, for no readily apparent reason, wants to stay in the 100+ degree car, so we leave the doors open while she eats there.

We hit a truck stop for the restrooms, then back on the interstate. Kim and Krys sleep for the next 60 miles as I drive past tacky teepees and metal dinosaurs advertising free cactuses and petrified wood if we stop in and look at the gift shops. No, not this time through. We arrive at the Petrified Forest National Park visitor center, and watch the movie about how the petrified wood was formed, which is a great film until the end, where they preach for about five minutes straight about how never to take any of the petrified wood from the park, or you'll get handcuffed and stuffed into a police car and have to spend the next ten years in a national park prison cell with some furry guy named Yogi.

We buy a few chunks of petrified wood from the gift shop (huh? guess it's OK if the guvmint takes it), leave the visitor center, and enter the park, but not before being warned by the cashier at the gate not to take any petrified wood under penalty of Yogi, and having to declare the rocks we just bought. We drive through the painted desert, and admire rocks that look like Wile E Coyote stacked them.

We stop at the Crystal Forest, read the display (paragraph two again threatens us with Yogi), and check out the wood.

On the way out of the park, there's a stop sign at the cashier's kiosk, which forces us to stop. Apparently nobody called us in, so the guy in the booth just waves us past, and the threat of jail for being accused of taking a rock is over. Whew.

After leaving the forest, we drive through the town of Show Low (main road: Deuce of Clubs Ave., get it?) and soon arrive at Lakeside Campground. Close to the highway, but plenty quiet and warm enough for the night. We fix dinner, play a board game, then head to bed.

Miles today: 301
Miles total: 1923

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