It's laundry day!
We wake up, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and rested, and leave the campground to head into town to do the washin'. We have breakfast at McDonalds (in the same parking lot), which has a newly re-asphalted parking lot -- we can tell by the smell. Laundry's done in short order, and we head south.
Just after leaving town, we hit the easternmost part of our journey, a few miles in to the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. We stop at the visitor center for an hour or so, which is amazingly high tech for being this far from a major metropolitan area. It really reminds me of a smaller version of museums you'd find in Tacoma or Seattle, with the multimedia displays, very professionally done exhibits, and access additional information electronically. This was nothing like I expected (e.g., the DuPont history museum, run by a couple of people out of one room of their house).
Outside, we walked a labyrinth and chased grasshoppers. It was already getting very, very hot, so we headed back into the air conditioned car, and drove through the Salt River canyon and Tonto National Forest. We stopped for lunch at the Country Kitchen in Globe, review the map, and decide that because of wildfires reported in the area (red triangles on the map), we'd head south to Florence and Casa Grande to I-8, instead of going through Apache Junction and Phoenix. We also had originally planned to stay at a campground in Apache Junction, which would make the next day a long, long drive, but because we were going to head west on the interstate, decided to drive untiil we got tired.
We cross Gonzalez pass, and south on SR-79, where we drive thorough what we still refer to as a Ned forest.
Just before we get to the I-8/I-10/SR-79 interchange, we stop for a few minutes to be sure we're going the right direction, and to get some snacks out of the trunk. We step out of the car, and it's very much like opening the oven door to take out a pizza, with a wave of heat washing over us. Yay, A/C.
40 miles later, the Saturn's built-in thermometer is showing that its 111° out. We need a bathroom break, so we stop at the only gas station in a 15 mile radius. Sign on the door says "No restrooms," but Kim asks anyway. They suggst we drive up SR-84 to Maricopa, but instead we hop across the freeway and go behind an abandoned gas station. While there, we check out a huge tangled cactus, and Krys gets skittish because the sound of the wind in the grass sounds to her like rattlesnakes.
We pull off in Gila Bend for dinner, and after driving the business route, don't see anywhere that we'd dare eat, so we end up stopping at a gas station / Subway / pizza place. We sit near a rowdy pre-teen table, but the food's good.
Continuing on into the sunset, I spot a Weyerhaeuser train in Dateland, and we decide to stop for the night in Yuma. We check out five hotels, and decide to stay at the Days Inn. It's dark, but still in the 90's, so we hop in the pool until we get kicked out at 11. Great day.
Miles today: 405
Miles total: 2328