Climbing into the Pines

ArizonaIt happened again.  I checked Google Maps and Waze, who both told me it should take about 5-1/2 – 6 hours to get from Palm Springs to Flagstaff.  Ten hours and 370 miles later, we pulled in, navigating the last few miles in the dark.  We did take a bit over an hour to stop for lunch and wifi access in Needles, on Route 66, at a local cafe.

Still, we enjoyed the drive.  The BF sneakily bought me a CD that I’d talked about for a while and I finally opened the package just outside Needles where we stopped for gas ($2.49/gal).  George Martin (the 5th Beatle) chose to make his last CD by recording Beatle’s songs done in unusual ways.  I saw a documentary special about the album years and years and years ago but had never heard of it since.  It’s got Jim Carrey singing “I am the Walrus,” Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin doing “Come Together” and Goldie Hawn singing a slow, chanteuse version of “It’s been a Hard Days Night” among other treasures.  It was spectacular.

A thought had been bubbling up the last few days and there, on the desert highway (no wind in my hair because air conditioning), listening to a gifted CD, I told the BF that if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would not change a thing.  I would still want to be on the road with him, in Toa, traveling around the United States.  Oh, I would remove the limit on how much we can pay for a night in AirBnB, and would probably include some high-end hotels with spa service in the mix, but there is now where else I would rather be, no one else I would rather be with, no journey I would rather be on.

For someone with the complicated life I’ve led, I am finding this rather stunning.

The Kelly dividend (Kelly being our tour guide at Joshua Tree) is still paying off.  He taught us to pay attention to the subtle changes in the desert with the change in altitude.  While we only went up to around 4000 feet in Joshua Tree, Flagstaff is 6,900 ft above see level and the changes are starting.

This morning we treated ourselves to breakfast at a Brandie’s Restaurant and Bakery (turns out to have been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives).  The food was good and they had trivial pursuit cards in a sugar caddy to pass the time. Afterwards we did some adulting and went to the grocery store to stock up on healthy foods.

Being able to see Flagstaff in the sunlight is a treat.  At almost 7000 feet, the air is hella thin and I get winded doing even a little walking.  I keep pushing myself, which is to the good.  This is also good because adjusting to the altitude this week will be helpful when we move to Sante Fe at the end of next week.  There are Ponderosa Pines surrounding our place, which is pleasant.  Because we’re so high up, spring is in it’s early stages here and cherry trees are in bloom.

And it’s COLD.  For us, for where we just came from.  As I write this, it’s 2 in the afternoon, and 49 degrees outside.  So today, we’re resting, adjusting to the altitude and the chill.  Tomorrow is a work day for me and Saturday and Sunday are work days the BF, so we may go poking around on Friday.

The Grand Canyon is on my MUST list, and it’s just over an hour away.

Next Up: Walnut Canyon & Route 66

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