Standing on the Corner

The night was restless. I tossed and turned, and my room upstairs had exactly two heating options: freeze or burn. Flagstaff is cold in the winter, and I opted for the burn since the motel blankets (both of them) weren’t enough to keep me warm through the night. I woke up several times to adjust the temperature, looked out the window to see if my car was still there and in the same shape that I left it in. It was. My nose started bleeding from the dry air by 5 am and I was relieved that it was almost time for me to leave.

Motel cuppa

After a quick shower and improvised breakfast (instant oats and a Styrofoam cup of coffee), I headed out. Except the car had other plans. Of course I had negotiated with Hertz forever in order to get this car and not another one that was more convenient for THEM, so after an hour, I was ecstatic that I even received this one. Right now, it requested for its tire pressure to be adjusted. The air at the Flagstaff gas station was broken, and I headed over to the Pep Boys auto repair, where everyone was very quick and helpful and had my tires checked and aired up in no time. Beautiful. Minor hiccup. Let’s get back on the road!

The in–drive entertainment for that day was Enigma’s Fall of a Rebel Angel, followed by the podcast Serial: This American Life, the first season.

Well entertained, I made it to my first stop: the Meteor Crater off of Route 66. It doesn’t have a name; it’s simply called “Meteor Crater”, conveniently located on “Meteor Crater Rd”.

On the way up to the crater

It was cold, but I came prepared. The friendly cries of a crow on top of the administration building fascinated me and showed me the way. It was more of a screech followed by a cough… maybe the crows are different up here.

I was by myself on the rim of the crater for a good 10 minutes. It was eerily quiet, like time stood still. No evolving, no change, just stillness.

Silence

I’m not used to this anymore. I grew up in a small town, but became a city girl somewhere between Madrid and Los Angeles. Cars and neighborhood noises are soothing to me. Except when it’s your direct neighbors and you hear every peep – not a fan of that! There are places out there where you can have absolute silence (the last time I experiences this was in Marina del Rey where I went parasailing). You can’t even hear the wind up there. And everything is tiny, insignificant, quiet, beautiful.

Meteor crater

I enjoyed every moment of the silence, but then headed towards the city of Winslow, Arizona, located in Navajo County along Route 66. It really almost doesn’t get more Route 66 than this. The city became famous via the Eagles’ song “Take it Easy” which has the line “standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona” in it. So I stood on the corner, walked around, had coffee, took my pictures and a few minutes to stretch and reorganize the passenger seat, and moved on out.

Route 66, standing on the corner
Take it easy

The route took me all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Very Breaking Bad. My motel, once again, was one of those typical motels where the doors lead directly to the outside which I have realized I dislike because it makes me incredibly nervous. I didn’t consider this in the planning phase. I went by the price, reviews and location, and it turned out fine. I had a nice talk with the owner while he was checking me in, and he suggested a cozy little Diner which I promptly went to.

66 Diner

66 Diner – one of the most authentic American Diners. Food is good, but the decorations and staff are what made this dining experience unforgettable.

Inside diner
Diner drinks

The sunset wasn’t bad either. 4 more travel days. I’m still alright. It’s December 1st.

Albuquerque sunset

Road Trip Part III

 

If you missed it, read Part I here: http://wp.me/p51E95-qY

Part II here: http://wp.me/p51E95-rk

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Never Look Back

Find Road Trip Part I here: http://wp.me/p51E95-qY

I drove past the building displaying the Selegna Sol (Los Angeles mirrored) advertisement in the dark, turned left and followed the car’s GPS instructions from there on out ($17/day, plus Google maps, plus Road Atlas… you see why it was necessary…). And I became the waterfall.

There was nothing and nobody to stop me. Except the on-setting rush hour at 6. The sun came up. I would normally consider myself an enthusiast when it comes to sunrises and sunsets. Especially when I get to get up while it’s still dark and just head out with my camera to enjoy the silence and magic of early mornings. I have never less enjoyed a sunrise. I couldn’t even look back. Although I don’t look back whenever I leave Germany either… Ever. I hug, I turn around, I cry, and I go. Never look back.

The sun rose to my right and I still felt like a foreigner in the rental. The back was completely stuffed with my belongings except for 10 cm of room between the stuff and the car ceiling for me to look back… which I didn’t do until I was well outside of the LA area.

With my snacks, entertainment, and my travel teddy buddy next to me, I was starting to let the incredible sight of the California mountains impress me. I made it a habit to stop every 1 to 2 hours for fresh air and to stretch my legs, and inform close friends and relatives where I was. Barstow was my first stop and I took a break at a Starbucks near the Interstate.

I then continued on toward Flagstaff. The scenery changed from rocky, dry and chilly California to a relatively green, foresty, icy roaded Arizona . I’m not even sure I considered winter tires on the rental (which I was lucky to get as it was… as your experience has probably taught you, rental companies rarely have the vehicle that they advertise in their category).

Mountain sunrise
Mountains
Wild wild cold mountains

 

Arizona winter

I reached Flagstaff after a good 7 hours. There was snow on the road. I hadn’t been in the snow in years, but you very quickly remember why you don’t miss it. I also made it a habit to arrive at all my hotels around 4 or 5 pm before the darkness prevailed.

After a quick orientation in my room, I set out to see the town. I went to the spot where Forrest Gump was running and came up with the idea of “shit happens”. I bought two scones at a local bakery, gave one to a homeless guy at the corner. Dinner was Subway. Once around the block in the snow was enough in my converse sneakers. Time to head back to the hotel and call it a day. It’s November 30th.

Downtown Flagstaff
Shoes on snow
Forrest Gump “Shit happens” ;)
Motel sunset

Road Trip Part II