Saturday, October 11, 2014

Days 9-12 Chelley, Winslow and Sexy Sedona

It has  been so beautiful and overwhelmingly peaceful in Monument Valley that Thelma and I couldn't bring ourselves to leave.  

We were again so fortunate, 
we were able to book another room for 50% less - without a view this time.  
We spoke to some British guests who said they had tried over 6 months ago to get a room here and were not able to...
and we managed it two nights in a row.
  According to the front desk Johnny Depp
 once tried to get a room - and he was refused because they were also so booked.
Boohoo  Johnny D!


We rose to the sun rise, and snapped a few photos from our terasse we didn't make it any further than that,
 but we were up pretty early - for me anyway 7:30 AM.  It was breath taking.  Maria's birthday today, so another reason to do something terrific.

There are tours along the 17 mile loops around the fantastic peaks - 
you can do it yourself,
 but we opted for off the beaten path tour with a guide,
 and so we could take some photos from 'routes that we couldn't go on ' ourselves'. 

Anywhere on the reservations alcohol is not sold or allowed .
  The view without booze is still well worth it.

The dream catchers are everywhere..
this child was there selling jewelry with his Dad for the day.

We opted for a 4X4 tour with an excellent guide, and it was well worth it.  We saw some petroglyphs.  
We did the same for him and his family, drawings in the stone that dated to 1300 apparently. 
 Also some Navajo history from the guide himself, who grew up on the reservation.  He had a little bit of a Scooby Doo amigo look. 


I tell you there is some really
lovely energy on this trip.

This is John Wayne Point you can see just i front of the jewelery being sold by Navajo people on the reservation.  
The Navajo people are gentle, kind, patient and from what we have seen quite poor. 
 It is truly sad.  This land was theirs, is theirs and many live below the poverty line. 

Maria and I raced on over to the point, 
you can see us below, and had a tourist snap for us.  

After a full day almost on the reservation - we sadly bid adieu - and decided to venture further westward with an overnight in Chinle. 
 Prior to that however we made a little detour.

The 4 corners are the only place in the U.S where four state intersect.  
Colorado, Utah Arizona and New Mexico.  
Apparently it's just for a photo op. 
 But how many times in one life will you ever be in four state at the same time?

Once in a lifetime.

After a few more hours we were back in Arizona, feeding stray dogs and of course me in tears, 
not to mention us giving away more of our food.  

We were so quiet on the rest of the drive thinking of the scrawny puppy and what we could do to save him.

We decided to ride some horses in the Canyon de Chelley - pronounced Shay.  
Our guide was slow, perhaps from too much drug abuse.  
He was kind and patient and bid us adieu with a Navajo hug...."goodbye sister" he said.  
Calm and sweet.  
He lives on the land, in a relic of a shack, 
living on 15$ per hour for each person he takes out. 
 Another person owns the horses, he just treats them as his children he says.  

We did attempt - feebly - a drive around he Canyon- 
but were both canyoned out...
so we hightailed it to Sedona via a 4 hour drive.

Oddly and again serendipitously enough,
 I looked up a town we were driving through, 
Winslow and its' claim to fame was an old, now refurbished, 
great hotel by the name of La Posada,
 designed by Mary Colter, 
who had also designed the Grand Canyon's El Tovar lodge in the 1800's.

  The reviews for the food were phenomenal, and the likes of Einstein, John Wayne, and Howard Hughes had overnighted there, 
so I didn't have to do much arm twisting.

We were so delighted.  
We had excellent blood orange margaritas in the 
Turquoise Room bar and 
two appetizers each. 

 A black bean and corn chowder soup which was outstanding and each of us 
oohed and aahed about that.

A snapshot of the La Posada hotel in Winslow.  Worth a detour!
The gentleman next to us asked us some questions and suggested we take a tour of the famed hotel, it housed a new sitting area, where there used to be  a ballroom, a fantastic shop and book store and some of the most unconventional artwork painted by the owner's wife.  A little macabre, but none the less it made his newly refurbished hotel on Route 66 a great destination.  I even managed to bump into an old Iowan gentleman who was driving  through Arizona on his own, and also suggested we just say at La Posada and how did we manage to miss it?  

Artwork by the owner's wife.

We couldn't bring ourselves to leave this lovely oasis, and finally the good food. 
 It was after 9 pm when we left that lobby to head to our own luxurious digs 
in what is called upper Sedona. 

 The Amara hotel lodged just below the canyons - where you can still see plenty of red rock, where the service and food is outstanding, and we are back in some sort of an urban oasis...something like what I  always imagined this area would be.

The view from our room, on our first cloudy day.

Enjoying some RnR.  This morning up at 7:15 for a 7:30 AM yoga class....yes that was me  and Maria....followed by a great hammam and more RnR.  
We bought some funky glasses a cowboy  hat and an American flag scarf.
  I look very patriotic.....wrong country.

         Maria - asleep on the beds by the grand pool. 
 After 1600 miles of travel, I figure she's entitled!

Lovely Navajo baskets in the lobby.

We have been taking the yoga classes daily, early in the morning to get the most out of our day. 
 Yesterday we went to see the Chapel of the holy cross Church - carved out of a mountain, designed by students of Frank Lloyd Wright.  

Another visit to a ghost town named Jerome
 brought back memories of the towns high in the mountains on the islands of Greece. 

 Just an old sleepy mining town with some unusual shops and restaurants and haunted tours.  The view from way up there at 5500 feet was amazing.  

We snagged a last minute seat by the window at sunset  at an old hospital now transformed into a restaurant and hotel called The Asylum.

Both of us were discussing how we were so pleasantly surprised by the trip and how things just fit into place without any forcing or anxiety, and how this Thelma and Louise trip has really been the trip we both unexpectedly have fallen in love with.

Every step of the way there was a new highlight.  
We loved Arizona and its Navajo, the Utah short stay and so many other things like he delicious food and weather!

Neither of us wants to leave.

I know we will be back.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Days 3-5 Days of Wonder

At the start of the day , a young girl was wearing a tshirt. 
 I asked her if I could snap it -
 cause it is the meaning of what  I want to believe in. 
 It is the first photo at the top of this entry  
One of those things that keeps happening on this trip. 

Every step of this road trip has been the adventure of a lifetime.
  Firstly I am with my best friend,
who has sleeping habits like mine, likes the music I like, 
and has a wonder and a thirst for learning that is beyond mine
 and that is welcome.  

She is a joy to be with and today, 
October 5th is her  birthday  

Our last few days have been a  whirlwind of highways, of getting lost and found 
on route 66 and making it to Page, Arizona. 

The top down, we have become masters at  keeping things in the car as the
 wind whips around us...except for that roll of hand towels...oh well. 
 Some things you must just let go paper towels!

We drove through Navajo land to the Grand Canyon and sat by its' precipice. 
Snapped photos, chatted with Texans who were a wee bit backward, and prejudiced,
 ate at the famous El Tovar hotel of the 1800's.  

A woman actual swung her legs right over the precipice.  Maria and I held our breath watching her.  Waiting, thinking she might....jump.  Maria was afraid to even go this close let alone swing her legs over.  

We finally told the lady she was 'brave'.  She said her husband was taking pictures.  I said where is he.  She pointed way across the other side, and he had managed to snap a photo of her form the distance.  That explained a bit of it.

  Above is the 'little Colorado'.  What's little?  Nothing little about this.

On the way home, in the dark, 
Maria pulled off the 2 lane highway along the Grand Canyon.
 She shut the motor off.  
We got out of the car in total 
darkness to listen to 
, and watch the stars twinkle. 
Makes you feel small, small small, and yet invincible. 
All in a day's drive.

Our days are filled with wonder at this beautiful expansive state and 
its arid desert, its' tender pink sandstone, 
its' native American Indians, canyons, grasses, cactus and rivers.
Did I mention cows?

The convertible has been a blast.  
Today we bought some cheap cd's cause 
we didn't bring enough of the music we liked, 
and couldn't figure out the blue tooth.

 Blasting "Earth Wind and Fire's famous "September".  
Could not be more joyous.
The very elements we are experiencing these days were blasting into the wind as we drove our convertible.
No fire - but there is fire in our engines!

All things have been happening with a sense of perfection.  
Without much planning,  we manage to end up on the perfect Colorado River 
expedition, we get the most fun animated guide on the
 Antelope Canyon tour named Jazz, 
made it to Utah in time for sun down and in time to snap some 
amazing photos and 
witness the millions of times the sun has set
 on this majestic, monolithic rock formations, 
snag the very last room at The View hotel this evening -
 the only one on the Monument Valley State Park of Utah.

Serendipity at its' best.

 Millions of years old, these rocks rise out of the ground.  
They are awe inspiring,
 breathtaking, serene, majestic.

Witnessing this land today brought me to tears...
as it has so many times on this trip.

Being so close to natural wonders, to the expanse of the land and watching
 something as simple as the sunset upon these giants is just beyond words.

I think that even if I tried to describe this evening it would be impossible 
to put in words the joy of seeing part of this country side.  
As I sit on the terrace of this hotel room, everybody is sleeping.
 It is me, the stars, and the monolithic rock formations that rise
 in the moonlight like alien space ships tens of miles from me, 
sky high, 
scraping the stars,
still baking 
from the eons
 that the sun has been beating upon them.  

It is silent.  

The stars are twinkling, Orion, the Big Dipper, star formations 
I have never seen before,  
the silence is enveloping, 
my blanket is keeping me warm soothing
company, as I sit here in awe of the universal energy and
 of what the earth can create.

As I write this  I am alone, in the dark, with the stars and the silence.  
Close to the earth and the wonder of life.  
It sounds so dramatic.  
Maria and I talked about it this evening and I asked if 
she felt different here. 
 The said she felt a sense of all is good, and a cleansing.

I feel a sense of wonder and awe, a sense of power 
 coming from the land that I cannot describe. 
Like a powerful pull or calling.
The movie Close Encounters of a Third Kind keeps coming to mind.
I keep humming it when we're driving.

There have been many sightings of UFO's in these areas.
Native Americans have been quiet about them. 
They do not want to be seen as 'crazy'.
There must be a reason they appear in these vast empty areas.
Maria is convinced it's cause they're hiding our stuff, 
like our peanut butter, or our iPhones when we can't find them.

When one feels awe of this nature and joy, you want to share it.
I wish that everybody I knew could experience the
 wonder of this beauty. 
 Like sharing a gift.  
I would like everybody to have
 this amazing sensation.

I share my photos with you - and my words, 
If I cannot share my emotions. 
 I wish you were here - all of you.  
To feel this sense of joy.

Antelope Canyon - or as Maria says Cantelope.

I am in  awe this evening at what a gift this trip has been.  I am blessed.
My joy is so sheer, that 
I do not want to sleep because my senses are so alive and my feeling
 of wonder is so awakened.
I don't want to miss a moment of it.  
 I do not want to sleep.

 I cannot sleep.

This evening Maria and I laughed and laughed at the way the universe works...
and it has been working in it's perfect way on this voyage. 
 I said to her, 
I am filled with a sense of joy and a sense of wonder again this is 
what these sorts of adventures do for my soul.  

As you go through time you are less and less impressed by things, 
but nature has a way of restoring that awe.  

The adventure gives to me a sense of being in awe, all over again and again. 
I am five years old and it's Christmas.

What a gift of wonder. 
The earth just keeps giving us gifts.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 1 Phoenix to Kingman along famed Route 66

Phoenix is hot.
Arizona is home to one of the sunniest place in the world on the west 'coast'.  
Made it to the Guiness world book of records for it....Yuma.   
We started off early....well early for me and Thelma by 8:30 we were out the door.

Even though you think you're organized...chances are, if you are Thelma or Louise - 
you are far from organized.

Neat we're ot - this gene skipped both of us.

Big Bertha (my luggage) and Maria's duffle bag  Sloppy Joe were stuffed into our 
Mustang  and off we were.

First stop?  Well actually our direction  was west 
bound from Phoenix to the famed Route 66.

One of the original highways that has now lost its' lustre, but is being

Kitsch route 66 signs abound, once you are on that route.

Top down, already smouldering by early morning, it was still our chance to let our 
skin catch some rays,and enjoy the wind and air.
 The wind actually feels cool when it's whipping
around , especially  because the air is dry

Every kind of cactus possible is sprouting out here.
Arid, dry, and in the world's guinness book of records for one of the cities
 with the most sun per year, is right here.  No SAD here.

Things start to feel real when you hit the California/Arizona coast line and find
 a little book where you can sign in as a real road tripper - a la Jack Kerouac.

We signed the welcome to Route 66 book like the silly tourists we are.
I wrote a happy birthday message for my nephew Nicholas,
who turned 18 on the 30th of September.

We took a short break at a cafe in Topock where there is swamp land.
We didn't expect swamp land, but we did grab some chile and some shade.

Off we went again some winding roads, then we were greeted by a surprise visitor 

Wild donkey.

Our highlight of the day, watching the wild donkeys roam the route.  
This one actually started to approach the car,
 and I was sure that he was used to being fed.

This is him coming up to my window.

I convinced Maria (afraid of being caught breaking the law)
to feed him some our rice cakes.

Our winding road through the mountains and into
Kingman was the second highlight of the day.

Day 1 Started in Phoenix and ended in Kingman.

Quip of the day by Maria:
Who expected to see so much road on a road trip.