Walnut Canyon, Flagstaff & Rt. 66

New Windmills with Old Powerlines
New Windmills with Old Powerlines

CAWe left Palm Springs and drove across the Mojave Desert floor.  There are hundreds and hundreds of windmills strewn across the desert floor around Palm Springs.

 

 

Needles Sign We made our way to Needles, where we stopped for lunch at a Route 66 Cafe & looked for Snoopy’s brother Spike who  was nowhere to be found :(.  The BF used the cafe’s wifi to do some rate sheets, then we were on the road again, headed for Flagstaff.

 

ArizonaIt was late by the time we arrived,  6900 ft above sea level, and back about a month in time weather-wise. Meaning it was COLD.  The temp at breakfast was in the high 70’s , it was in the 40s when we climbed out of the car.  Cherry blossoms are in bloom in Flagstaff, making a nice contrast to all the pine trees in town and on the surrounding hills.

I spent a day recovering from the drive and adjusting to the altitude doing promotion for Something To Sell About, then working on an article for TheNewStack.io (earning money, woot!).  On Friday, we took some time off to go visit Walnut Canyon, home to ancient cliff dwellings.  I saw them in 1994, when I took a trip with my husband Jeff and best friend Jan to Sante Fe.  We’d stopped in Flagstaff for Easter Brunch (and bonus photo with the Easter Bunny herself!), then saw the signs on the way out of town and took a detour.

WC Visitor Center from the loop trail
The Visitor’s Center perched on top of the cliff, as viewed from the Loop Trail

I knew this would be a strenuous day for me, but I had rested for a few days and wanted to make the trip.  The website said the trail was .9 miles.  They lied.  Or perhaps they meant .9 miles AFTER you climb down 165 steps in a steep switchback trail descent to the “island” where all the cliff dwellings were (there are hundreds of cliff dwellings in the park, but only these are open to the public).  I went slow and the park thoughtfully provided a lot of benches along the way.  I bought some gatorade thinking I would need to replace electrolytes along the way. (note: apple green gatorade tastes like one would think radiator fluid would taste.  Not recommended.)

Once on the Loop Trail, there are a lot of remnants of the dwellings

Closeup of the rock wall along the Loop Trail
Closeup of the rock wall along the Loop Trail

abandoned around 1250 a.d..  Wind had carved away caves in a layer of soft sandstone, and the inhabitants built rock walls to make rooms and protect themselves from the elements.  One side of the loop faced North and one South; they don’t know if the people moved from one side to the other (north-facing in summer, south-facing in winter), but I like to think that.

Three rooms with cliff roof
Three rooms with cliff roof

There were two ravens and a golden eagle, but they blended so well into the canyon walls, I couldn’t capture them.

Going back up, the there were 330 stairs.  It took me a long time, but I am very proud of myself for making it without hurting myself.  The BF was awesome, carrying the gatorade, resting with me and encouraging me along the way.  So I ended up at the top exhausted, but happy.

 

Western Hills Motel on Rt. 66
Western Hills Motel on Rt. 66

Last night, (after I rested all day), we went out at sunset looking for Flagstaff and wandered up and down Route 66, which runs directly through downtown.  Neon signs and Motels abound.  We hit the timing just right, the sun was setting the neon signs looked great.  We drove the full length of the city and found the Rt. 66 restaurant of the BF’s dreams:

The Crown Railway Cafe, complete with model railway running loops

Rt 66
Rt 66

around the restaurant.  We had a good, American Dinner (meat loaf and mashed potatoes for the BF) and apple pie for desert because Murcia.

Today, I’m catching up and waiting for the BF to finish the second day of his new gig!  If there’s time, we might scoot out to the Grand Canyon for  sunset.  Tomorrow, we’re off to Mesa to see the A’s in Spring Training.

Next up: The Grand Canyon

Want to follow along?  The trip starts here.

 

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