Although we were only there for two nights, we were happy to leave Seligman and head to Flagstaff, Arizona for many reasons. Partly because it only took an hour to “discover Route 66” in Seligman and partly because our campground was not much more than a dusty parking lot. So, we aired up the tire, fortunately there was a truck stop only a few miles away, and headed to Flagstaff looking forward to our base for Sedona, The Grand Canyon, and discovering what else was in the area. It was all of that and more!
On the way, Kathryn asked me, “if I had lost my enthusiasm for our trip.” I guess after the excitement and variety of Las Vegas anything would be a let down. But, I had to admit, after the disappointment of Salt Lake City, the heat of Lake Havasu City, the dust and poor conditions of Seligman, my frustration was mounting. Flagstaff brought the trip back to life. What a great stop! (photos on the Post Cards 2021 Page)
We stayed at J and H RV Park, a small fifty site privately owned campground, meticulously maintained by the resident owners. Ratings: Kathryn 8, Paul 9, out of 10. We were here for two weeks which gave us plenty of time to discover the area and also have nothing to do days. When we are at a stop for two weeks, I have to decide whether to make the stop post part one and part two, or just recap the highlights. I am going with the later:
It was so nice to turn off the air and open the windows. With an elevation of 6,909 feet the daytime temps reached only mid eighties and the morning temps were in the high forties.
Downtown Flagstaff is dominated by NAU, Northern Arizona University. You have to love the vibe of a college town! And the constant rumble of long, long, freight trains going right thru the center of town. The railroad was a large part of the history of Flagstaff. We are surprised how much freight still moves by train here in the West. It is also the location of The Lowell Observatory although we did not visit. The area is huge for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, camping and ATVs, so there are many places that service those activities. And of course, the remnants of the original Route 66.
Flag as the locals call it has every store you could want, and close by. I even rented a carpet shampoo machine from Home Depot to clean our small carpeted area. See, it’s not all vacation out here on the road. The REAL discovery was Charles Lewis, who is a home baker who goes by the name of The Pie Guy’s Pies. Not only are they made fresh to order with a variety of fruits but they are also GLUTEN FREE. We ate one and have two in the freezer for future enjoyment.
We visited Sedona twice. The twisty turns of Route 89A head down into the canyon and are beautiful. The river drops off on the one side and the mountains sore upward on the other. Since the geographical area is limited by the surrounding mountains, the town is 95% built out with little area to expand. That makes Sedona a crowded tourist trap with the constant buzz of restaurants, shops, Pink Jeep Tours, surrounded by the beautiful juxitiposition of the colorful mountains. It is known as an art community highlighted by galleries, museums, street musicians and statues placed all around downtown. Sedona is also known as a power of vortexes, thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration.
On one day of our visits we took the trolley tour (yes, Usher too) out to The Chapel of the Holy Cross. Marguerite Brunswick Staude built the Chapel “not only as a monument to faith, but a spiritual fortress so charged with God, that is spurs man’s spirit God-ward.” Enough said. On the other day we just drove and enjoyed the views, especially from the airport at the top of the hill. You can see the whole valley! We added a new entry into the “Best Burger on the Trip Contest” with the Morning After Burger from The Outlaw Grille, currently in second place.
Flag was a great place for a variety of hiking. One day I descended 150 feet down into Walnut Canyon to discover 300 dwellings, sheltered by overhanging cliffs, where inhabitants lived more than 800 years ago. Another hike was The Picture Canyon Trail to view the petroglyphs. Another was The Lava’s Edge Trail in the Wupatki Sunset Crater Volcano, to walk on hardened lava, with the peaceful sounds of the wind blowing thru the ponderosa pines above. And another hike was in the Wupatki National Monument to view the pueblo ruins. I never studied geology but this is the place to do it!
We decided to use the car for a day trip to Winslow to “stand on the corner,” and not risk trying to park in the coach on our way East. People drive from all over just to stand there and have their picture taken next to the Flatbed Ford, the statues, and the corner. With Eagles music blaring in the background and people smiling while finally visiting here, it is a happy place! The annual 22nd Standing On The Corner Festival was the next day, but we were glad to be there before the crowds.
As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, my Honey surprised me with an early birthday present, a small fixed wing plane ride over the Grand Canyon!! Yes, all three of us. I’m telling you, Usher has more travel experiences that people three times his age, even in dog years. We drove to Grand Canyon Village, on the South Rim, for our one hour flight. It is THE only way to grasp the size and grandeur of The Grand Canyon. We flew at 8,000 feet over the canyon not too close to the North Rim which is 9,000 feet. Photos and words can not do justice to this experience. What a trip! What a present!! What a woman!!! I am a lucky guy!!!!! After our flight, we visited the Canyon from the ground. Still very impressive but not as extraordinary.
On to our next stop on Route 66, Gallup, New Mexico.