STATS:Left Yuma at 8:40am and arrived Winslow AZ about 7:15pm. Drove 412 miles today. Low altitude we saw was 168 feet in Dome Valley near Yuma and 6,988 just south of Flagstaff. Winslow is at 4,800. 88 degrees near Yuma. 66 in Winslow.
First off we went left instead of right on I-8, so after 12 miles of looking for US-95 we decided we were lost and actually looked at a map. To recover, we took a really cool rolly-wavy road through Dome Valley to get back to US-95. Looked like fruit trees, rice, and some unknown crops growing. Cows were lined up under long roofs with big fans every few feet breezing them cool.
Went through the U.S. Army Proving Grounds. Very cool for Mike as he was in Army Aviation. Lots of "Do Not Enter - Hazardous Area" signs. We did not stray. Crossed a Border Control check-point. Saw many elaborately decorated roadside crosses in AZ, where people died along the highway. Good reminders to drive sane and sober. Lots of highway round-abouts in this state. We still have not mastered them.
Only wildlife were yellow-orange butterflies and chipmunks, although there were many signs to watch out for mules, deer, elk, and cattle. Big cacti country--saguaro, ocotillo, yucca, prickly pear, mesquite, pink barrel, and others. The saguaro are the coolest--big with many weird "arms." Saw a field full of dust devils. Spotted a huge solar "farm" from a high hill pass looking down over the valley. Biggest we've seen so far.
Stopped in Wickenberg AZ (per Unc's recommendation) for a walk to stretch our legs. This is a cute town that is set up so you can easily learn about it in a fun way. There is a walking tour with statues of people from the old days. You can push a button nearby and they "tell" a little bit about the area history. Wished we had more time to saunter around. On the way out of town, saw a sign saying "Some one else for President." Thought that was clever, not liking either candidate. Caught sight of a great steel silver colored '55 Chevy. Mike lusted.
Mike's favorite driving trip so far was AZ Route 89 from Wickenburg almost to Prescott Valley. It was narrow, winding, and old, but no traffic. Perfect for a motorcycles. Only hiccup was near the top of a high pass at Yarnell. There were several miles of dirt road. They were replacing the ashphalt. Bumpmpmpyy. Dusty. Slow. Back downhill stopped at the Skull Valley General Store (recommended by Ben). It was kitchy and cool. Kind of like a small version of the San Gregorio General Store just south of HMB. We bought T-shirts.
Two highlights today. Homemade chocolate chip cookies from Aunt Joan to snack on along the way. MMMM good. And a visit with my best-ever boss Ben and his delightful wife, Judy. We met at their home and got caught up on what's been happening in our lives, toured their lovely home, played with their sweet dog Ginger (looks like a mini-wolf), had a look-see at their very cool school bus yellow Honda Goldwing Tryke. Ben offered me a ride, but I didn't bite. We loved their eclectic home decor of NYC photos/posters and artsy SW copper plate collection.
They asked where we should have lunch and we advised we were still hankering for good Mexican. They took us to a convenient spot called Puerta Vallerta Cafe, which was down the road toward our exit from town. I had a peachy margarita, so Mike did the driving after. Everyone enjoyed their meal and conversation. We are gonna miss this southwest Mexican food. CAN NOT get it in Kalamazoo.
Ben and Judy both have traveled a lot and also have fantastic sense of humor. They kept us laughing throughout the whole meal. Don't remember exactly what Italian-y thing we were talking about, but Judy waved her napkin in the air and said, "Hello, I'm Italian!" Cracked everyone up. Finally had to say our good-byes and headed on down the road for our overnight in Flagstaff.
We were going to stay in Flagstaff, but Mike is a little iffy respiratory-wise at higher elevations (see STATS above). So we soldiered on after sunset to Winslow. Found a so-so Best Western near the highway. Convenient at least.
Solar energy promotion goes to AZ. Sierra Nevada earlier in the trip gets very close second place.