I woke up super early this morning so I could get moving quickly. The plan was to attempt to make it through the big stretch of empty desert before the peak heat of the day in hopes that my car won’t overheat. I was sent on my way with a packed lunch that could feed two people several meals. I gobbled it all down before the days end. I have been so fortunate to have been taken such good care of by every person I visited on this trip. I appreciate each one of them, and hope to return the favor some day.
Off I went, into the desert a little nervous about the day. I’ve crossed the desert before, but never alone, and never in this vehicle, so I had cause to worry a little. I drove away from the coast and watched the landscape change dramatically while listening to Tim Gunn tells Vivian Vance stories on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Or were they J. Edgar Hoover stories? Funny stuff. I decided to pull over and get gas in a tiny town because I didn’t know how long it would be before I found another gas station. I paid $3.67 a gallon, the most I have paid this entire trip. I guess you can charge whatever you want when you’re the only gas station for miles. Oh wait, there was one at the casino just over the hill. Face palm! I eventually lost that station in the Volcan Mountains. I lost all but two stations actually, a Spanish station and a religious station. Once I reached the other side of the range my selection came back, and I found an amazing hip hop station that ended up following me all the way to Sedona. Score!
I watched my temperature gauge while driving through the desert, and to my surprise it didn’t budge. I love my car! I saw a sign for a Painted Rocks display, and, feeling confident, decided to drive the 10 miles off the highway to see the exhibit. When I pulled in I nervously turned off the car wondering if it would start again when I was ready to go. I got out with my camera and walked the loop, mesmerized by the fact that anything existed out here. It was hot. Like, I was in an oven on broil hot. It reminded me of the page in my elementary school spelling book that asked why there was only one “s” in “desert” with the response of, it’s too hot for any other “s”s to grow. For real. If letters had to grow, there would be no language in the desert. In the 10 minutes it took me to walk the loop I think I turned another shade of brown. But I got to see some cool stuff while cooking. Here are just a few of the photos I took of the painted rocks and the signage. Some of these were scribed as far back as 7500 B.C.!
I got back into the car, and it started right up. Sweet! I got back on the highway and bounced to the hip hop station until I reached my destination, Sedona, AZ, passing overheated cars along the way. I had told a number of people that I was going to stop into Flagstaff. Each of them urged me to drive through Sedona on my way. So of course that’s what I did, and I didn’t regret it. When I dropped into the Red Rock section I may have cried a little. Seriously, in minutes the landscape changed from this…
I walked around a little, then decided I should find the campground before I lost the sun. The campground I had chosen was full. I bet it was a good one. So I kept driving. This is one of those places where you just know you’re going to find something, and I did. I found Cave Springs Campground. It was packed with lots of families. And there were plenty of trees making this the first spot I could hang a hammock. What a treat! I set up the hammock and Ethel because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sleep in the hammock. I read for a bit, you know the summer book assignment we have for school, and I wrote. I ate dinner, and I eventually decided to sleep on the air mattress.
Tomorrow I hike!