Thursday, November 08, 2007

Time flies when you're having fun...

When we left the Grand Canyon, we returned to Flagstaff and back to Kathy and Ralph's where Kathy and The Shepherd proceeded to evaluate everyone in the barn - whether whey wanted evaluated or not! We had another couple of fantastic dinners out and Kathy, the Master Spinner, gave me some helpful hints for a beginning spinner (yes, that would be me).

We really felt like we were leaving life long friends - and made big hints as to appropriate areas that we thought they should retire to (Wisconsin not being among the chosen places...)

Sunday a.m. before we left town, Kathy fixed us the best biscuits and gravy you've ever tasted as a "going away brunch". We bid them farewell - but who is that on the table? Could it be Penelope? No, I think it was Penelope's sister.

At any of the "Scenic stops" on tribal lands, there are many tables of vendors. I'm kicking myself, because the ones at the Little Colorado stop had these great ceramic Christmas ornaments that looked like they had been sand painted - between my inablity to choose "just the right one" and thinking we'd see them again, I didn't buy one - and of course, we didn't see them again - (you'd think I'd learned that lesson when I was in China years ago)

The quality of the goods at these vendors was generally quite good and much less expensive than in the stores "in town" - -plus you knew your money was going to the vendor/artist and not just to a "shop keeper".

We followed the Oak Creek Canyon route down through Sedona - which not surprisingly was one of Arizona's first "officially designated" scenic highways. Every turn brought a view more spectacular than the last.

We drove through the little town of Jerome - an abandoned mining town that, according to legend, was re-patriated by the hippies and artist types in the 60's. It's a harrowing, tight windey road - trailers and motorcoaches are not allowed on the highway because they would never make the turns.

We left Jerome, went "Up and Over" the mountains to Prescott - where we planned to have lunch - they must have some kind of laws banning restaurants in the city of Prescott - we drove around looking and looking, for about 45 minutes - finally ended up back out at the freeway interchange at a huge mall and gratefully found a Wendy's. (I don't think my bladder could have stood another mile! It certainly didn't like all the speed bumps in the mall, ha, ha, ha)

Lunched and rested we headed off to the last stop on our vacation - the town of Wickenburg, where The Shepherd lived as a child. The school he attended is on the national registry and has been preserved. The house he lived in has been replaced, but some of the neighboring houses were still there and occupied. He has a very uncanny sense of direction and was able to find all kinds of landmarks he remembered from the 5 or 6 years that they lived there.

The church where his parents worked as caretakers was still there. Seeing it again, he suddenly remembered the old fellow who was in charge of "ligurtical matters" and realized why he feels so strongly about ceremony and patterns of worship - apparently this gentleman ran the church with somewhat of an iron fist - because those traditions are still ingrained in his memory.

Wickenburg is a town where the cowboys load their saddles up in the Ford and take it to "Ben's Saddlery" on main street for repair.

It's a town where the store called "Ranch Dressing" is not a restaurant, but "A Clothes Store for Cowgirls".

It's a town where some of the kids he grew up with are still listed in the telephone book. It's a town that has a lot of restaurants, and we happened to pick THE WORST ONE for dinner :-(

It is also a town that is growing like topsey. There were huge tracts of land north of town that had been cleared and were very clearly "staked out" for subdivisions.

So there you have it and so ended our vacation - not much between Wickenburg and the Phoenix metro area. The little towns that used to be "Out in the Booneys" are now all connected. In 2006, Phoenix was the 5th largest city in the US, and the 13th largest metropolitan area in the country with a population of over 4 million people.

But you know what Dorothy said in "The Wizard of Oz"? "There's no place like home, there's no place like home"

Grab your ruby slippers, Shepherd, we're outta here!


Anonymous said...

What a great vacation you squeezed into a few days! And I commend your bravery for taking the Oak Creek Canyon Rd. It happened to be my turn to drive when Glenn and I hit that spot some years ago; it would be fun to go back and let him drive so I could watch the scenery! What a challenge! Kinda like the "back road to Hana", only seriously downhill in addition to the tight curves.

Kathy L. said...

What nice comments about your friends! :) (We JUST got back from taking the Kids to Las Vegas. From there, they've flown out to San Francisco, then home after a few days. Boy am I tired!)

Sharon said...

Home for me *is* the high desert and even now I'm shocked when I hear me say how much I love it, but I love it and I'm glad you got to spend some time in that rugged beauty.

Beth & Dennis @ Milehaus Farm said...

I've enjoyed the pictures of your vacation - what spectacular scenery . It is a trip we plan to take one day.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I enjoyed joining you vicariously on your trip. Thanks for sharing!

shepherdchik said...

Great pictures! Is that a picture of you or is that Kathy and Ralph? Kathy never shows her face on her blog but I thought the hair looked a little familiar...

Kathy L. said...

You must've missed the main part of town in Prescott as Whiskey Row around the Courthouse has every kind of food you could wish for. Next time you're here, I'll drive! I know where the absolute best SW Corn Chowder is!