I woke up this morning in my room at the Quality Inn in Winslow, AZ, and thought about what my day should look like. I spent a little time putting together a blog post, then got to planning. My first stop would be the corner. You know the corner? …the one mentioned and made famous by the Eagles song Take It Easy. Winslow is an adorable tiny town with potential because of its landmark and location on the Historic Route 66. In its present state, it could really use a little tlc. I drove through town, found the corner, took some photos, and watched groups of tourists come and go taking photos with the sign. Cute! I wonder how many people stop just for the photo, and how many stay and patronize local businesses.
I got onto 40 east, and I need to mention here that yesterday I saw one person on a bicycle towing a baby carrier full of his belongings going west bound on 40. About an hour later I saw a different person on a bicycle with bags of his belongings strapped to every possible place on his bike going east bound on 40. I wondered how far they were traveling. I thought about a man I know who walked across the country in the 70s with his wife and newborn and wondered if these guys were also crossing the country or just traversing Arizona. I mention this because today I saw the same guy going east bound. I don’t know how far he’s going but he’s definitely going a distance.
Today I stopped in the Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert. It’s a big park with a lot of miles to cover. I made a few overlook stops, which were beautiful, then headed to get back on the road. I had been alone for a few days now, the reality of returning home was setting in, and I just wasn’t feeling it today. I may or may not have had a little related temper tantrum.
I got back onto Rt. 66 for a bit in Gallup where I picked up an all Navajo radio station for a short time. They were speaking in their native language and I couldn’t understand a lick of it, but it was interesting to listen to, and the music was something to experience. I also saw some of the prettiest stretches of buttes I could ever imagine.
I reached Albuquerque, NM where it must be a requirement to drive like a maniac. So I pretended I was on 495 in Tysons and went with the flow. Traffic calmed down when I reached Santa Fe. At first I was wondering where the city was. I had heard about what a cool place it was. Then I started noticing that the buildings were all hidden in the landscaped. I was too late to check out their museums, but I drove around anyway just to get a closer look. I stopped at Trader Joe’s and picked up some supplies for the night.
I had gotten off 40 and onto 25 north around Albuquerque to get to my final destination for the evening. As I came around a turn following Santa Fe I caught a glimpse of heavily treed mountains and cloud spotted blue skies. The mountain range here reminds me of the Rocky’s. I think I hadn’t seen clouds or green mountains since leaving Donnor’s Pass in the Tahoe National Forest on June 28th. I hadn’t realized how much I missed them until I felt myself being overcome with joy to see them here. I reached the campground just outside of Pecos, NM, and got settled.
Tonight I am staying at Field Tract Campground in the Santa Fe National Forest. Let me start by saying that Pecos is a beautiful tiny town situated just outside of the Forest. It seems to have a great deal of Catholicism in its culture. There is religious artwork at every corner and a convent just outside of the entrance to the Forest. It also has a great deal of history as a place where a historic Civil War battle took place.
It seems like the Santa Fe National Forest is a great destination for people who like to fish. The Pecos River runs right through it, and ran right past my campground lulling me to sleep. I cannot recommend this campground enough. The sites are spread out and the location is quiet. It seems like the kind of place adults come to hear sounds of nature. There were no posted warnings about wildlife. Every few sites had a lean to with a chimney. People must like to camp here in the winter. It was $8 for every site. There were lots of tall trees, and there was even running water in the bathroom. It’s always a treat to not have to smell a pit toilet. I ate dinner and wrote for a while. I met a fella a couple sites down from Carolina. He didn’t say which Carolina, but he fancied us neighbors. A man in a trailer another site down played the trumpet as the sun set. I stretched out on my picnic table and watched the stars emerge until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, so I put myself to bed. I could get used to this place.