Friday, February 27, 2015

Road Trip

SWMBO and I went on a road trip yesterday.  We'd been talking for months about making a trip up to Williams, since "it's only 50 miles." Ah, old age and a faulty memory. I was remembering the distance from the north side of Prescott to Ash Fork, or the junction with Interstate 40. But it's 8 to 10 miles from our house over to join the highway north from Prescott and then another 15 miles from Ash Fork back east to Williams.  So that 50 mile jaunt turned out to be around 73 miles. But we got there.

These bronze sculptures mark the east entrance to Williams.  It's up in "tall pine" country or as a sign alongside the road noted "elk country." These, typically for me, were the only elk we saw.

One other thing I forgot about - the weather. The town sits at about 6,700 feet, nearly a couple of thousand higher than home and the temperature was in the low 40's and there were occasional snow flurries. Not a good day for ambling along the street visiting shops. And Williams has plenty of them, mostly devoted to the fact that it sits on a famous highway.

We spent quite a bit of time wandering through one huge business that must have had every known item of kitsch to remind the shopper that they were in Route 66, Harley Davidson and gun country. But we also visited a wonderful business devoted to Native American art and jewelry. The proprietor was very knowledgeable and solicitous, without putting "the sell" on us.

Then it was time for lunch.

The restaurant we selected was quiet and very tastefully decorated. It sort of gave me the feeling of being in a Dutch Master painting, not what I would have expected in a western town that is not only on Route 66 but also bills itself as "the Gateway to the Grand Canyon", about an hour to the north. I'm not sure which came first, the restaurant or the iconic bird it's named for.

Nevertheless the food and service was wonderful and the Bourbon Ale draught beer wasn't bad either. ☺

After lunch we decided to head east to the outskirts of Flagstaff and then take the highway down through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. On the way we encountered more snow as we climbed ever higher.

Yes, folks, that IS Arizona you're looking at . . not Michigan or Minnesota. But never fear. Dropping down through the canyon the temperature rose 10 degrees and the snow quickly disappeared as we entered the Red Rocks region.

(By the way, just to allay the fears of Nervous Nellies, SWMBO in the co-pilot's seat was the on-the-road photographer.)

World-famous Sedona was, as usual, hopping. It never ceases to amaze me that what was once a tiny isolated village has become a tourist mecca, 12 months a year. 

I spoke to one visitor who said he was from Pennsylvania. I asked him, good-naturedly,  "don't any of you tourists know it's February?"

He responded, "it's a lot better than the 17 degrees back home!"

He probably could have said "what are you talking about?", as I licked my ice cream cone. (It was delicious, by the way.)

But it was getting late in the day so we bid Sedona and the road a fond farewell.

An hour later we were back in our warm home. A good day.