May 7, 2006

Durango, Colorado.

No Beauty Left Behind.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

Earl and I left Phoenix around 9:00 a.m. MST and started the journey northward to our next planned destination, which is Deadwood, S.D. We originally planned on sticking to the interstates, going up to Flagstaff, over to Albuquerque and then up to Denver. However, about half way to Flagstaff we took a look at the map and decided it would be fun to go through Four Corners, where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah come together. There’s a monument there and everything and it would make a nifty picture to have me straddling two states holding Earl’s hands while he’s straddling the other two states. One of our legs would be an hour behind the rest. More on that in a moment.

We had a nice little lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Flagstaff (the name escapes me unfortunately) and then jumped on I-40 for a bit until we reached US 191 North. From there we drove across the wide open desert, drinking in the beauty and reveling in the desolation. Earl took a bunch of beautiful pictures, including the one pictured above.

After several hours, 5:08 p.m. Arizona Time to be precise, we arrived at “Four Corners National Monument.” I was ready to take this wonderful picture I’d been thinking about all afternoon.

The friggin’ place closed at 5:00 p.m. I don’t know if it closed at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (NM, CO, UT at that point) or Mountain Standard Time (AZ).

It’s so nice when we mess around with time, isn’t it? For example, I had a hamburger at 4:00 p.m. and belched it out at 3:05 p.m.

But I digress.

Anyways, the Four Corners National Monument is apparently on a Native American Reservation and they aren’t going to let you see this little manmade wonder unless you pay first. And they weren’t having any at 5:08 p.m. MST or MDT, we’re still not sure. There were several other tourists there, all equally disappointed that we couldn’t get into this unique piece of American geography enclosed in a “fee area”. Some ignored the fences and climbed passed the “No Trespassing” signs and hiked in, but Earl and I decided to skip that opportunity. We weren’t in the mood to spend the night in jail or pay an Indian fine that didn’t have the promise of a jackpot on it.


Not to be deterred, I took the first left once we were in Colorado and made a quick side trip to Utah. Once we snapped the obligatory photos, we headed back to Colorado and continued on to Durango, where we have installed ourselves in the Hampton Inn for the night. It’s decidely cooler here, but nowhere near uncomfortable in our “desert clothes”. Tomorrow we drive through the Rockies as we continue on to South Dakota. I’m looking forward to the experience.

Sign Geek strikes again.

Sign Geek strikes again.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

I’ve mentioned before that I am a huge “road enthusiast”. I love driving. I love roads. And I especially love road signs.

ADOT, otherwise known as the Arizona Department of Transportation, has the best signing practices in the entire country, bar none. Whenever I complain about another signing gaff to NYSDOT, I always tell them, take a vacation in Arizona and see how they do it.

To the average motorist, you probably don’t see much of a difference in the design of this sign from those on your own commute. But there are subtle differences that makes this sign better. I won’t bore you with the details, but I just had to say that ADOT rocks.

By the way, I climbed up an embankment at a rest area to get this shot.

Phoenix, Arizona: Until Next Time.

The Shadow Over Phoenix.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

Earl and I are packing up and getting ready to hit the road again. We were originally going to stay until this afternoon, but we’ve decided that while we’ve had an absolutely wonderful time with the other bears here in the desert, we are ready to move on to our next adventure. We met some wonderful people at our little stop in Phoenix and we look forward to following new found blogs and chatting/exchanging e-mail with our new friends.

Earl took this picture yesterday on South Phoenix Mountain. I love the creative look to it, especially the natural framing from the lookout tower. It has such a Frank Lloyd Wright feel to it. If you click on the picture and look on the biggest version, you’ll notice that you can see the Phoenix skyline in the background. Very cool.

Traveling through the desert has put me back in touch with my spiritual beliefs; the dancing of the desert wind, the sound of silence in a canyon, the natural beauty of it all, all of this has made me love the Universe, and myself, again. I am looking forward to taking a little piece of that grounded feeling home with me.

Today we head toward Flagstaff and then over to Albuquerque before starting north toward Deadwood, South Dakota. It looks like we’ll have a lot of desert scenery ahead of us today before moving up into the Rockies tomorrow.