Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh, My Goodness! I almost missed a stop!

Well, back to "What we did on our vacation" - Flagstaff, full steam ahead...

My "local friends" are amazed at the number of "blogger friends" that I have made. They were even more amazed when we announced that we were going to VISIT one of these blogger friends - and going so far to do it! Well, it wasn't exactly like we were going to visit strangers - after all, Kathy & I have been friends for over a year (at least) and she does raise Shetland Sheep, so she couldn't be all bad, right?

Like my sisters, Kat checked on me nearly every day last winter when John was hurting and Michelle from Boulderneigh and I waited on pins and needles to hear how her surgery turned out last summer - so we had a little bit of history here. But, to some extent, it was a leap of faith on both our parts.

Anyhow, we got kind of a late start out of Tucson, and it is a good 5 hour drive to Flagstaff under the best of circumstances. Count in lunch and a couple of rest stop stops and you have about 5 in the evening - almost dark - but there was time to freshen up at our hotel and head out to "Sheep Thrills Farm" to meet the Shepherds and the sheep. This is Skittles - He sent John a get well card last winter and John has wanted to meet him ever since. (Were Kathy & Ralph just and ends towards a means? I wonder)

We visited for a bit at their house, then headed into town for a delicious feast at the local "Outback Steakhouse". Pickin's on the flights down the day before had been pretty slim (granola bar, peanut butter crackers or ginger cookie - Delta Airlines doesn't skimp on the snacks - ha, ha) so I was really hungry - and the Outback Steakhouse is a good place to solve that problem - Yum...

We were up and att'm at the crack of dawn the next morning though - rather than just drive straight north to the Canyon, John took his favorite route a little to the east, past the lava fields and Sunset Crater (who'd have thought there would be lava fields in Arizona?) and mountains of black pumice - amazing!

We drove through the tribal lands - and miles and miles of pinyon and juniper -

Miles and miles and miles -

Our first stop of the day was the Wupatki National Monument - the pueblos that are preserved at Wupatki National Monument were constructed in the years following the eruption of nearby Sunset Crater, sometime between 1040 and 1100. Daytime summer temperatures hover around 100 degrees in
this area of the Colorado Plateau. Volcanic ash, deposited in thin layers, retained moisture and improved farming for an increased population at Wupatki.
(Info from National Park Service web site)
It was a little bit of a walk from the park center out to the ruins - John took these pictures - I shopped...
Kathy and Ralph had told us about a great place to have lunch in Cameron - there is a HUGE trading post (aka -tourist trap) there - every type of Arizona Curios that you could ever want - but in the back is a dining room decorated in the most beautiful Navajo rugs you have ever seen, serving some of the best food you'll have while you are in AZ. John had Navajo stew - it came with a plate size piece of fry bread - I had a Navajo taco - it came ON a plate size piece of fry bread - and the cool thing was it was not just the tourists eating there - there were a lot of locals - generally a very good sign for good food - I have a story about THAT (ie - lots of locals indicating a good restaurant) for later in our trip.

The thing about driving up to the Grand Canyon this way is you get the teaser of the Little Colorado Canyon - beautiful in it's own right.

Next up? The BIG Kahuna - The GRAND Canyon.


Kathy L. said...

Great post! Those mountains of black lava rock are dug and crushed into what they call "cinders" and are used on our roads in the winter instead of salt. Great for traction! :)

I will let Skittles know you posted about him. I just hope it doesn't go to his head!

Sharon said...

Great fun! Isn't Indian fry bread just the best?! One of our staff treated us to it one staff potluck and I couldn't believe how bad it looks and good it tastes. She no longer eats it because it's such a health risk, but I'm glad she gave us the experience.