Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reaching Phoenix

Breathtaking does not do justice to the diversity of the scenery that we encountered on today's Santa Fe (New Mexico) to Goodyear (Arizona) leg of our let's-get-out-of-Minnesota-and-go-watch-some-spring-training trip. As with all the images, if you don't click on it to get the bigger version, you're really missing out. "It's like riding through a postcard," Carolie said. She's right. Over every hill, there awaits quite a spectacle.

We started out in Santa Fe with the remnants of yesterday's snowstorm...

An hour later we were in Albuquerque.Somewhere atop this mountain, there is a tram and a restaurant where we were originally going to have lunch. But we decided to wait a few hours to get started today in order to let the roads clear and there were clouds anyway.

So we turned west in Albuquerque and headed toward Gallup, New Mexico.

It was a wide-open expanse. We stopped in at a Post Office to mail some postcards on one of the reservations and got back on the road for Gallup, where we hopped on route 66 for a bit. Gallup, to be clear, sucks. But the gateway to Arizona more than makes up for it.

I would have thought this the highlight of the day. Standing in the middle of the road, with nobody around, looking across the desert floor near Springerville, Arizona.

We'd gotten off the interstate and decided to take the scenic route, at the recommendation of my Tucson friend, Glenn Brasch. This wasn't even labeled the scenic route on the atlas. I wish I didn't have constant ringing in my ears (left over from the onset of Meniere's Disease), because otherwise I'd have been able to experience absolute quiet. Not even the wind.

Those mountains are 40 miles away -- the White Mountains of Arizona. I had no idea there was such a thing.

So an hour or so later, we were in the Apache National Forest with massive snow drifts on one side, dozens of miles of forest (and one huge ski area). This could've been southern New Hampshire. This shot was taken as we navigated on the down side.

Elevation here was over 7,000 feet.

An hour after that, we were in the Salt River Canyon. I'd hoped to stitch together another panorama shot, but the Internet connection is really terrible here at the motel, so I may have to wait until later.

Here's a sample:

The river is, obviously, way below.

"Let's see the Grand Canyon beat this," I said to Carolie as we got back in the car. The wind was howling through the canyon and it was quite cold.

We lost the sunlight shortly thereafter and we had another three hours of driving. We probably could've spent three fewer hours on the road, but we would've missed this.

It was weird seeing a sign for Los Angeles on the highway, but we've reached out westernmost destination on the trip (actually, the Grand Canyon might be a little farther West).

We'll stop here for three days. Tomorrow, or I guess it's today, we'll sit behind the dugout at the ballpark here in Goodyear and watch the Cleveland Indians take on the San Francisco Giants.

The Indians have the best record in spring training so far. Driving 1,900 miles to watch an Indians game was probably the only way these days to see the squad while they're still in first place in some league, even if it doesn't matter.

1 comment:

Charlie Quimby said...

Welcome to the west, Bob. And even a son of the west would agree — Gallup does suck.