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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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scenery

Day 18 – Rt. 66 trip

When we got to the car this morning we found our low tire light on. This happened a few days ago, we got air and it hadn’t happened since. We probably have a nail or something that is causing a slow leak when the tire is in just the right position. So, we went in to the town of Williams to find an air pump and discovered there were many Rt. 66 attractions we missed by not venturing away from the hotel. We are still learning we don’t quite have this touring thing down pat, but we sure will be able to give other travelers advice.

The next few pictures are scenery between Williams and Oatman, AZ. There was some spectacular sights I didn’t photo because we were on a road with switchbacks and no guardrails. It actually made me sick to my stomach and I was doing my best to not look. Bob thought it was great, the curves and the scenery.

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We also were treated to three Burma Shave signs.

If Daisies are your favorite flower

Keep pushin’ up your miles per hour          Burma Shave

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These signs cost money so roost awhile

Just don’t do anything funny        Burma Shave

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Cattle crossing means go slow

That old bull is some cows beau           Burma Shave

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We spent most of the day on Rt. 66 so we could get to the the town of Oatman. As I said above, the last six miles of the drive almost had me in tears, but the destination will be one of our top three talked about by the time we get home. The story goes, when the mines in the area were shut down by the government, the burros that were used in them were left to fend for themselves. Their descendants now freely roam the town. They all have names and when we asked where they sleep, the answer was where ever they want to.

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I have been on the search for some big cacti. I found some.

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Three of the many burros.

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If it’s an animal, I have to pet it. This one wasn’t too interested since I didn’t have any sweets or food to offer.

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The town had good old fashioned boardwalks rather than sidewalks. We were lucky to get a parking place in the town center.

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This sign was outside Patty’s Place where we had lunch. The wording isn’t quite right, but who cares. The sentiment sure fits.

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The ice cream bar decorations inside Patty’s. I love the old cash registers.

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Patty’s lunch menu. My chili dog was ample and Bob’s BLT salad was good sized too.

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This guy looked over the hallway to the restrooms. He is supposed to deter people from taking the signs off the walls.

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Below is the men’s bathroom wall. No I didn’t barge in to see, the door was open and I thought this some good memorabilia. Of course the mustache caught my attention right away. Not too many people said anything about’s handlebars today, everyone was too interested in the burros.

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The town is shoved right up against some cliff walls. The scenery is beautiful but I’m not sure I would like living where there are no trees.

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The burros spent a lot of time in front of one particular store. The lady who runs the store was constantly yelling at them like they were her children. They tried to walk in inside to get carrots. She told us they will try to take ice cream cones out of your hands and will steel whole bags of candy. One of them took a bite out of my shopping bag and it din’t have any food in it. They run along the board walk and also get into squabbles. Quite the free entertainment. The town looks after their well-being.

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We  left Oatman and Rt. 66 to head north to Las Vegas which was still two hours away. Once again we were driving through arid country and mountains. When we got to Laughlin, AZ, we stopped at a Walmart for some necessities and it was 102 degree.

We passed the largest solar farm I have ever seen. It sure is a good place for it. I’m sure there is plenty of animal and bug life in the arid fields, but very few people to complain the don’t want the “farm” in their back yard.

Our GPS took us around the back side of Vegas to find the Mirage Hotel which was nice of “the lady.” Problem was, we were driving right into the setting sun. At least it wasn’t rush hour. I don’t know how Bob kept the car in the right lane it was so hard to see. Then we went into the wrong parking garage, walked to our hotel to check in, than had to go back and find the car which turned out to not be as hard as we thought it might be. The outcome, the Mirage got us for Valet parking, one person to unload the car, and another person to deliver out stuff to our room. We can’t use the fridge in the room without paying to open it because it is actually a mini bar. There is no coffee maker and our usual drinks were double the normal price we pay at home. I know, we are in Vegas, probably the first and last time for me.

Day 15 – Rt 66 trip

We got up when all the people walking past our door and slamming car doors woke us. Some hotels are just better than others. Last nights was the old model with all the doors outside and a parking lot between two buildings so every noise reverberated off the walls. Oh well, it was time to get up anyway. We had a small breakfast that came free with our nights stay.

We backtracked on Rt.40 to visit the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. It was worth every penny of the $20.00 fee. One scenery picture is as good as or different in some way to the one before. Even the little kids were going, “Wow,” when they saw the sights over the railings.

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Painted desert. Needs no other explanation except the pictures don’t do it justice. It was cloudy and misty the whole time we were there. Some sunshine would have made everything more vibrant.

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Another view.

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And another. Sorry my finger likes to get in the shots.

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More depth.

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Below was taken straight down over a railing. The shiny copper color at the bottom center is a petrified tree. You must see these views for yourself to appreciate them.

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The blackness comes from volcanic rock and basalt.

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So much of 66 in this area is buried under Rt. 40, not driveable anymore, or inaccessible on Native American lands, but going through Winslow, Arizona, the route is alive and well for a few miles. We guess it is probably the most famous corner of the whole route because of the Eagles song, Take It Easy, which mentions standing on the corner. Some guys that had just arrived on their Harley’s took this picture for us. Everyone was very friendly and having a good time. The eagle on the window sill and the couple seen above us are paintings. Really good ones.

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Below is Glen Fry, one of the musicians in the Eagles band.

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A brewery down the street was serving lunch to football fans, beer fans, and travelers. Bob and I both ordered a salad.

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The server brought us our beers and said the glasses looked different but were both 16 oz. We told her we would share a water so she brought a large mug and two straws. It was just like being at the old fashioned soda fountain again.

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We got back on Rt. 40 and decided we didn’t need another gift shop or similar museum to what we had already seen, so headed to Flagstaff. Below is a mountain that loomed large on the horizon and the fields were still arid. There were signs to watch for Elk and deer, but we were lucky enough not to see any.

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That mountain range is getting closer and now we have fur tree lined roadways.

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The closer we got to the mountains, the less easy it became to get another picture. We did stop so Bob could put a coat on. We had the top down and the temp had fallen to 68 degrees. There’s a pretty good wind chill when you are going 75 mph. We hadn’t seen any real trees in three days.

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Tonight we are sleeping in Williams, AZ, in the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. The building is a huge and shaped like a baseball diamond with a nice courtyard in the middle. The ticket office and restaurant are in different buildings so we are getting our steps in. We bought a package so  had dinner in the buffet room. I had penne pasta with pesto sauce and shrimp and a salad. Dessert was a apple pie ala mode.

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Singing folk songs during our meal was Jason. We sat and listened until he finished for the evening. I got another spurt of country music. Live at that. You can tell how good he is by the over flowing tip basket, and a lot of those bills are fives.

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The internet has been going off and on all evening. Tomorrow we are going into the park and will stay on the South Rim. I don’t know how the internet will work, so if I miss a day, check my regular Facebook page at Sue Carmichael Spitulnik for pictures.

 

Day 14 – Rt 66 trip

Do you know the meaning of guide? We learned today that our EZ66 guide is just that. A guide meant to lead, but it is NOT professional exactness because businesses close, schedules change and volunteers choose not to do as they have said they will. Plus, the author of the guide is only able to drive the route every few years so the information isn’t always up to date. Keep that in mind as you go through each of our days.

This morning, once again, we had a little trouble finding Rt. 66 as we left Albuquerque, but once we did, we thought we were on our way. Wrong! We came to a spot where we should have turned, but we decided to go straight because there were no signs to direct us. We saw the sign that said “no outlet” and thought it meant no access to Rt 40 rather than dead end. Well, we ended up on a barely paved, narrow road that was like driving on a washboard. There was a silver Nissan that followed us till I told Bob to pull over and let him pass. It felt like we traveled 20 miles, but it was probably two, at 15 to 35 mph. Then we came to a fence and our only choice was to turn into a one lane underpass that went under Rt. 40. We didn’t like the option, but it took us back to Rt. 66 and then we drove for miles at 55 mph with little traffic coming at us and little behind us.

IMG_1286Above and below, typical scenery in New Mexico. Lots of buttes, and redness.

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And then you go around a huge curve and the “dirt” becomes black. Still beautiful, but different.

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An underpass, but a planned two lane one, very friendly compared to the one lane we entered earlier in the morning.

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Below, inside the graffiti covered underpass. This one wasn’t full of glass and debris.

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Coming out of the underpass into a big curve. After the one lane one earlier, this one was almost a piece of cake.

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More red dirt buttes. These pictures are being taken with my phone so you can imagine the beauty if I had had a real camera or you had seen them in person.

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Another butte, the train cars give a better perspective of the vastness.

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And then the Continental Divide. A note of interest. Along the highway, in Mew Mexico and Arizona, when you exited a work zone there was a thank you sign to the company that did the road work. Nice touch. There were also signs indicating a damaged guard rail ahead. If they did that in New York, you would see a sign every mile or so.

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The sign below is a bit of irony. Historic 66 lives in the minds of many, but it is actually only in existence in bits and pieces. We are surprised that the amount of money it brings in through tourism, that  more signs aren’t posted so it is easier to follow.

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Back to scenery, now in Arizona.

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We stopped in Gallup, AZ so we could visit the Rex Museum to learn more about the Navajo Code Talkers that served during WWII. Unfortunately it is not open on weekends. The picture below was hanging above our table where we had lunch. We did stop at the Gallup Cultural Museum which gave us a hint of creativity of the Navajo when it comes to sand painting and weaving. As we left there two teen girls approached us and asked if we wanted to take home a kitten. When they walked towards us we expected them to ask for money or the like. We explained we were traveling and they apologized for bothering us.

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Above, Jerry’s Cafe. We waited in line at 2 pm with the locals.

Below; chili rellenos. I knew I would get better Mexican dishes in this part of the country. Delicious.

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The other diners at Jerry’s. I have to admit a blue eyed caucasian is not the norm in Arizona. I am having to rethink my old belief that USA citizens all look alike.

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We moved on to Holbrook, AZ where we went to the Painted Desert Quilts shop. I was so taken with the quilt top below, I forgot to take a picture of the store sign. We got some more fabrics for our memory quilt.

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We checked in to our hotel about 4:30 pm then took a nap. Having had a big lunch, we decided to look for a bar to have a couple of drinks and a conversation. We tried the Empty Pockets Saloon first, then moved to the Corral. Roland was our bartender and we met Larry, who they soon asked to leave. He wasn’t a problem, but had been there too long. He was telling us all sorts of stories, so we were glad he left. Next, the young man that sat next to us was from England. Sit down if you aren’t….he was in the silver SUV that we let pass us this morning. He was also born in a town just a few miles from the town my daughter was born in, in Suffolk county, England. It is indeed a small world. We had a grand time talking with him, and then the band started and we got in some dancing to a live-music, country band. Side note, the band, us and maybe a third of the crowd was caucasian, the rest were Latino or Native American. We met Crystal who was doing a promotion for a specific alcohol distributor and she introduced us to the owner, Mark, who stood about 6′ 7″ and probably weighed close to 400 lbs. While we danced, he sat at an out of the way table and just watched the crowd. I imagine he could move fast if any trouble presented itself. We saw about seven cars pulled over while we were there. The rodeo was in town and the police were busy. It was a fun, fun evening and we didn’t want to leave.

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Below, a picture embossed under the shellaced bar surface. And only one guy in the whole crowd mentioned Bob’s mustache while we were there.

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Day 13 – Rt. 66 trip

The last picture I posted last night was of our new Irish acquaintances dancing. After the musicians finished, four of them and we went to dinner, at different tables, in the hotel dining room. The restaurant called, Peace, Love and Avacado, had a full, interesting menu. What I didn’t take a picture of was my southwest chicken salad. Some of you are telling us we will have to diet when we get home and some are even claiming we are making you gain weight. I want you to know that when we aren’t eating we are usually in the car, getting to another tourist stop, which I share with you, or another food stop. Today I took quite a few pictures from the car to prove we are doing something other than eating.

But first; our guide book let us down again. We went to the Rt. 66 Diner in Albuquerque only to find the open sign not turned on and the door being “guarded” by a very thin, seemingly old female that we guessed was a street person. On the loading dock next door there were two young men that also seemed to be street people. They had looks that said, you lock your car, we will still relieve it of its goods. I was glad the diner wasn’t open. We asked Siri where to eat and she sent us to The Shop. We had to order our food at the counter, and for the second time on our trip I was told, “We don’t serve decaf.” Bob got a burrito that was huge because it was filled with potatoes and I got my “usual,” Huevos Rancheros. As usual it was different than any I have had, but delicious. I ate most of it.

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Our next stop was at a very nice quilt shop in Corrales, NM. I got more fabric for this trip’s memory quilt and Bob had a grand time chatting with the ladies. One of the fabrics has “cat”tus on it. Bob groaned. I bought it. We will be getting a new cat, or two, when we finish our travels.

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I haven’t found any good bathroom signs lately, so thought I would post this one for the ladies. Eleanor Roosevelt was a “tuned in” woman and the saying is too true.

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Leaving Corrales, I was able to get a picture of a typical adobe style house. All day I kept saying, “They are so small and they are all the same color.” Very few have an actual grass yard. It gives, go outside and play in the dirt, a whole new meaning.IMG_1247

The mountains off in the distance were beautiful. Most were so far away, they were lost in the haze, but this one was pretty close.

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We dove highway 25 North to Santa Fe. Again the speed limit was 75 mph. Places are  spread out, but still accessible.

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A first floor retail store and upper floor apartment in Santa Fe. The same color as everything else. Not to my liking.

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We found Marcy Street and discovered the town square of shops, street musicians, local jewelers trying to sell their creations and very interesting people to watch. Bob told me if I saw something I wanted in one of the stores to not hesitate. I decided the fur coat I loved in one of the shops, for $3,400.00 might make him have a heart attack, so I didn’t buy it. I did tell him about it, but he didn’t tell me to go back and get it.

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So many jewelers and musicians with Spanish or Native American backgrounds, and here is a blue eyed, blond, cellist. Bob listened to the chamber music he was playing while I drooled over the furs.

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A church. I know nothing more except it’s the same color as every other building.

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Leaving Santa Fe on highway 25 north. Some beautiful scenery.

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Another shot of scenery on 25 north.

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The small town of Pecos is also on 25. This is what I call a full service stop. Food, liquor, groceries, gas, and the necessary room. I didn’t see any ammunition, but it might have been there.

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We were getting short on time so we decided to take Rt 3 south to Rt 40 to get back to the hotel. Well, we had a beautiful, peaceful ride mostly by ourselves on a road through the mountains. The curves kept us at 30 mph for the first half of the route, so it was not a shortcut, but we didn’t mind. We crossed many “cattle or deer guards,” that were as rough as a bad train crossing. (Deer grates, mostly derived from the cattle guards long used on ranches, allow your driveway to stay open while keeping out the deer. They do this by placing a massive grate in the ground that deer generally will not or cannot cross.) We eventually ended up back on Rt. 40 so stopped at Clines Corners, a truck stop that touts it is the largest in New Mexico. We concur. I found some slippers I have been looking for and some good postcards.

The picture below of a turtle is especially for our friend Rhonda. It’s not as nice as the painted one we found. but it’s pretty unique.

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We hadn’t eaten since breakfast to we stopped in Moriarty because Siri told us this place was good. We can agree. The building is the same color, but the semi-like trailer next door where they do all the food preparation was shinny red and silver. Dinner, shown below, was excellent. We have enough left overs for a snack in the morning before we get on the road.

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My two sides are potato salad, which is like a lumpy mashed with seasonings and relish, and the other is a chopped coleslaw. It has seasonings I can’t decipher, but I enjoyed it. See, another vegetable. The corn bread was dry and crumbly, but yummy.

While at the Wild West, I had the chance to talk to a deputy. He said the bars on the windows and doors is “just a thing.” The crime in the local area is not all that bad.

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We ended our day in the hotel lounge with a couple of “toddies.”

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