|From Meteor Crater RV Park, between Flagstaff & Winslow, AZ.
As we made our plans to travel from the campground in Williams, AZ, to the Grand Canyon campground, there was only one route option…..a couple of miles eastbound on I-40, then due north on Colorado Hwy 64. That road turned out to be almost arrow-straight with little elevation change for the full 60 miles that we needed to travel.
As we made our plans to travel from the Grand Canyon campground to our next stop, we had two options. We could either backtrack along that same road to I-40, which would have dumped us onto the “big road” about 25 miles west of Flagstaff, where we would then hang a 90-degree left turn to follow I-40 due east for about 65 miles. Or, we could hang a half left about half-way down Hwy 64 onto US Hwy 180 that cut a diagonal into Flagstaff before hitting I-40.
So, option #1 kept us on a road that we knew to be relatively flat, straight & smooth with no congestion until we got onto the interstate, while option #2 put us onto a road about which all we knew was that it appeared to be a few miles shorter but passed through the San Francisco Mountains. It was coded on the map as being a scenic highway, but we were ignorant as to its curviness, hilliness, smoothness, wideness, etc.
What do you think?? Even as we made the miles from the canyon to the decision point, I was flip-flopping……the previously traveled road known to be good, or the untraveled road that might afford new scenery but at the risk of elevation changes, curves, bad road, etc???? A 1/2 mile short of the intersection, I told Vicki that I had decided to take the known road, which at the time I had full intentions of doing…..& then just as the turn lane opened, I hit the blinker to take the unknown road.
Decisions like that one happen often in our travels. Maybe not a decision between taking a known versus an unknown road, but a decision much like the one that Robert Frost wrote in his poem “The Road Not Taken”, which ends with the words
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference”
Of course we have less flexibility in those decisions when driving Phae than we do when in the Jeep, but still it is always fun to make an impromptu decision about our routing.
The width & quality of the new road surface was comparable to the known one, but it was definitely curvier with more elevation changes. The elevation rose about 2,000 feet to get over the mountains & then fell the same as we got into Flagstaff; the known route would have skirted the mountains. We also had to deal with a couple of miles of city traffic & several red light intersections before getting back to I-40.
But, the new road was well worth the disadvantages. We were passing through forest area most of the way. The highlight of the trip was sighting a herd of 12-15 mule deer elk. We didn’t see them until we were almost past them & had nowhere to pull off for a better viewing, so it was just a quick sighting. Oh yea, you might be scratching your head about “mule deer elk”. I’ll explain.
We had several sightings of a solo specimen of the same animal while in the Grand Canyon. Vicki was adamant that it was a mule deer, & I was just as adamant that it was a female elk. So we compromised & called it a mule deer elk.
We got through Flagstaff & on down I-40 to arrive at the campground by early afternoon. We had a little bit of trepidation about the campground & the area, because it seemed to be so remote from anything. It seemed to be incidental to the Meteor Crater tourist attraction. I’ll tell more about it after we have actually toured the site, sometime while we are here.
As soon as we pulled off of the interstate exit, which bordered the campground, we began having a really good feeling about it. Our good feelings have not diminished. It actually has some really nice green grass, the first that we have seen since somewhere back in Missouri in early June.
We had the same experience last year after traveling through parts of SW America. It is just something about the sighting of lush green grass that is so exciting after there has been so much brown for so long.
The campground does not have a swimming pool, but is excellent in all other respects. The north side of the campground borders onto the interstate right of way, but is wide enough that traffic noise is not a problem. The south side of the campground is bordered by a remnant of Route 66; so much of a remnant that it is only a dirt road now.
We see a lot of relics of Route 66, particularly as we travel I-40. The sad thing is that in many areas it is so abandoned that it is no longer usable as a public road. Often we see roadside businesses that have long-since been abandoned because they are no longer accessible or appropriate to the interstate traffic…….a sad consequence of “progress”.
We are 20 miles west of Winslow, Arizona. You probably recognize Winslow from the Eagle’s song titled “Take It Easy”
and such a fine sight to see
It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford,
slowin' down to take a look at me"
Wikipedia says, about Winslow……
“The town had suffered a loss of commerce when Route 66 was supplanted by I-40 but the popularity of the song led to renewed attention for Winslow and a commercial renaissance.
The scene described in the song was replicated as a mural painted on the side of a building in Winslow. On October 18, 2004, a fire destroyed the building on which the mural was painted. The wall and the mural were preserved, but the park temporarily closed.
In November of 2006, the city of Winslow purchased the property where the building had stood. The wall with the mural was secured and the rest of the building torn down. As of August 2007, the corner of the park, with the statue and the mural, is accessible again.
Plans are underway to expand the mural to cover the remaining wall, and to expand the park onto both sides of the wall. The town also posted a billboard on I-40 with the words: "Winslow, Arizona says 'Take it easy'".
We drove through the town, visited the corner & a couple of souvenir shops, then went to the WalMart Supercenter for a grocery run. We will be going back to Winslow some additional times while we are here, both to do more sightseeing & touristy things & to revisit the WalMart.
Storm clouds rolled all around us the first early-night that we were here. They looked much worse to the east than they did to the west. They were bad enough that wisdom suggested to me that I should go to the office & ask about them.
The lady in the office, who had also checked us in earlier in the afternoon, poo-pooed the severity of the clouds, telling me that they are an almost-nightly occurrence this time of year during the “monsoon season”. Sure enough, each of the first three evenings here have had the same storm clouds rolling in; we have had light rains the previous two nights.
We did a full day of sightseeing today, going down to Sedona & some other areas, but I am going to save that for another journal entry that I will have prepared & posted in a day or two.
I’ll leave you from this entry with a poem that I have copied from the travel blog of Jim Montgomery, in his journal.
Jim was one of my very early readers who began his own full-timing adventures & journal in the final days of 2007. I enjoy reading his journal; he has a much more humorous & folksy way of telling about his adventures than I will ever have. Anyway, the poem goes………..
”You are blessed, right here and right now, with the miracle that is your life. With magnificent abundance swirling all around you, the possibilities are more numerous than can be imagined.
Yes, the setbacks and disappointments can be acutely painful. And yet the only reason you're able to feel the pain is because you know that joy and fulfillment are always possible.
There is no limit to the potential that is in this moment. For in this moment you can put your highest, most treasured values into action.
In this moment, you have a choice. And you have all that is necessary to follow that choice.
In this moment you can choose to benefit from a lifetime of learning, experience, dreams and longings. All that has brought you to this day is yours to make use of in fulfilling your best possibilities.
Every bit of energy you sense around you can be focused in the service of the most wonderful possibilities you can imagine. Go ahead, imagine, and bring those possibilities to life. “
-- Ralph Marston
Those are not my words, I just copied them from Mr. Marston via Jim's blog.....but I do agree with them!!! Enjoy life.