Saturday, March 21, 2015

New Mexico, Arizona, California and Oregon

My next destination was Tucumcari, New Mexico. I wanted to stay somewhere with a little character and landed on the Blue Swallow Motel, which is located on the old/original Route 66. Tucumcari was a little strip of a town. Both larger and smaller than I thought. I got there with a few hours of sunlight left and after settling in a little, I drove around to see what there was to see. Some mesas...I think that's what they were? Some beautiful light. Some run-down homes. Some ice. It was cold there too. Really cold, actually.

I decided to have Mexican for dinner, which was definitely a cut above any of the Mexican joints I've most recently enjoyed.
I did like all the neon of this motel and of the few others on the strip. A definite aesthetic.
The next morning I left early. It was still dark actually. Or was it? I think it was. My goal was to make it to somewhere in Arizona, but I hadn't entirely decided. I did know that I wanted to stop and see the Petrified Forest State (or National?) Park, which I achieved. As with most all things on my drive, it was rushed. I wanted to see everything, but I also only wanted to give myself about two hours to do so before getting back on the road and covering some more ground. It was all very interesting to see. At times you'd think you were on really flat - consistently flat - ground, and then you'd go around a bend in the road and realize there was an epic canyon to your right or left.
This is out of order. This was something I saw when I stopped at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break. The animals you see are fake and there were many more scattered about the cliff.
Me, at the Petrified Forest.
More forest views.
It was not warm.
But it was beautiful.
My next resting place was a Native American-run hotel/casino. The price wasn't terribly bad, and I did feel like the bathroom was the best bathroom I encountered on the trip. The casino itself was kind of depressing. I won $20 on a slot machine I didn't understand...and then lost that $20 continuing to play the slot machine I didn't understand.
The next morning I backtracked a bit to see the Meteor Crater. It was interesting.
A huge piece of space debris landed here a bazillion years ago.

After the Meteor Crater I got on the road and headed north and west with the intended purpose of going to the Grand Canyon. That purpose was accomplished though if I thought I felt rushed with the Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon was even more of a rushed situation. I half wanted to stop at each and every vista, and half realized that if I did so I would never get anywhere very efficiently. So I did the best I could. There sure were a lot of people there.

Me and the canyon.

Another view of the bathroom break.
I stayed somewhere pretty weird that night. Somewhere in Arizona I think? It was just a place to sleep. I had bad food and a waiter suggested I read Dan Brown books. The next morning I got on the road with a general desire to get to California.
Which I did. I have to say that while the desert is certainly striking in its landscape and open-ness, I don't really like it. Too much brown. Way too much brown. So I really was tickled to start my way in California and find myself driving past orange orchards - with actual oranges on the trees! I was less pleased with the factory farms and obviously cramped and unhappy animals and facilities.
I stayed in a fancy hotel in Sacramento for the night. It had a really great bar/restaurant that I enjoyed, but Sacramento itself seemed pretty weird. Then I kept driving. I forget the order, but I was quite taken with Sonoma County. Beautiful stuff and views everywhere. I saw sheep with lambs already on the ground, which got me excited to return to the farm. And so much green and hilly loveliness. I was super pleased.
I got on 101 heading north and passed many of the same sights as I had in October. I didn't stop to see more redwoods, but I did stop to take pictures of this herd of elk...some of which were humping.
The Pacific coast really is gorgeous. I'd love to spend some time there in the summer. Camping and whatnot.

I think this was New Years Eve. Or maybe day? The risk you run when you take forever to actually get around to posting on a blog is that you no longer really have a linear sense of the experience.
I stayed in Bandon, Oregon for New Years, at a funky little motel that was just fine and quirky, though not perfectly situated. I turned off the main road for a second at some point, and found myself with this view.

My last night was spent in Astoria, Oregon, which I found fitting, as it was the last place I stayed before arriving at the farm last year. Or, no, I stayed with M&A for one night before that...but it was the last place I stayed alone. This was my hotel view.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like you missed my favorite part of the desert , if you ever go back go farther south in AZ to the Saguaro forests plenty of green there :)