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Such a Fine Sight

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:13 pm - September 6, 2006.
Filed under: Travel,Vacation Blogging

Usually when I make long-distance drives, I tend to push myself and go further than I had intended, but tonight, I decided to stop at Flagstaff. It seems I was rewarded for my efforts for I was greeted by a very cute man at the desk. Now, to figure out if he’s gay or not.

I began the day in Raton, New Mexico, where I decided to avoid the Interstate for a while and drive through Cimarron and Taos, New Mexico. Up until Cimarron, I enjoyed the drive, delighting in the vast open spaces with mountains just to my north and on the distant horizon in the south and west. It seemed I was the only person on the road. And the colors of this empty landscape were wonderful, soft browns and greens of the earth against red-tinged rock, all set against the blue sky, decorated with white and gray clouds.

Something went wrong in Cimarron. The coffee machine was broken at the Shamrock Grocery. Maybe it was that I had just bought a T-shirt at the allegedly haunted St. James Hotel where Jesse James had once stayed. Wherever I stopped after that, the people were friendly, but the coffee was terrible.

Despite the beauty of the landscape from Taos until just north of Santa Fe, I became anxious in traffic as my turn signals stopped working in the New Mexico mountains. Maybe that was why I starting I feeling off, experiencing different sensations that I normaly experience when I drive through mountains or across open spaces. When, about an hour west of Albuquerque, I stopped to get gas, it started raining cats and dogs. After filling my tank, I rushed in to relieve myself to find the men’s room being cleaned. When I asked how long it would take to clean, the lady at the counter (in the adjacent convenience store) was downright rude.

Finally, I could use the facilities, but still felt off. They were working out the road outside the filling station and I had to wait for 10-15 minutes before the construction worker directing traffic signalled for me to get back on the road. Ever a bit superstitious, I wondered if the T-shirt were jinxing me. So, once in Arizona, I decided to throw it away with my trash. And suddenly, things started to change. While the woman at the Subway (in the roadside convenience store) told me to wait, I realized I really didn’t want a sub sandwich anyway. On my way out, I discovered this yummy Quaker Baked Cheddar Snack Mix on a chips shelf.

As I noshed on that, sipped coffee, then water, I began to feel better and delight in the scenery once again. Even the rain clouds didn’t bother me. Indeed, I delighted in the beauty of the dark clouds hovering over a distant mountain.

It was beautiful driving across northern Arizona, seeing the dark shadow of mountains in the distance, across the vast plain. I stoppws in Winslow, Arizona where I stood on the corner. I took a few pictures, bought a few T-shirts, then decided to make it as far as Flagstaff where I would call it a night.

I found a great hotel and learned upon entering my room that I had gained an hour, so will relax a bit and decide on my itinerary for the last day of my trip.



  1. “I found a great hotel and learned upon entering my room that I had gained an hour”

    Yes, here in Arizona, we don’t observe daylight savings time. Except on the Indian reservations. Too bad you didn’t stop for the Petrified Forest or Meteor Crater. Flag is a great little place and a nice escape from Phoenix in the summer heat.

    Comment by Ian — September 6, 2006 @ 11:29 pm - September 6, 2006

  2. Actually, I very much wanted to stop at the Petrified Forest. If I had thunk this out, I would have gone by Interstate all the way and then arrived there with at least 2 hours to visit the park, not enough time for a thorough visit, to be sure, but enough to see a few things.

    As my Governor might say, I’ll be back.

    Where in AZ are you?

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — September 6, 2006 @ 11:36 pm - September 6, 2006

  3. “Where in AZ are you?”

    Phoenix. But I’ve always liked Flagstaff and wish I’d bought a condo there back when I had the chance. It’s 30 deg cooler typically and only a 2 hr drive north. Flag is a great base from which to explore northern AZ including Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Sedona and Monument Valley.

    Comment by Ian — September 7, 2006 @ 12:21 am - September 7, 2006

  4. Flagstaff is one of my favorite places on the planet. The interface between the crunchy NAU students and the more Earthy locals gave it a unique feel. It’s been about six years since I’ve been there, and I imagine some or most of that may have gone the way of gentrification by now.

    There’re few other places where you get that kind of feel. Asheville NC still has a bit of it, although it’s being rapidly over-run with New Age moonbats.

    Comment by V the K — September 7, 2006 @ 8:15 am - September 7, 2006

  5. Re: your “jinxed day”…

    You might have been experiencing a touch of acrophobia from all the open-spaces. It can sneak up on you when your driving alone in the open-country; rude people just increases the anxiety since it preys on the “fight/flight”-centers in the primative part of the human brain.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — September 7, 2006 @ 2:23 pm - September 7, 2006

  6. It’s been raining in New Mexico since the beginning of July. There were incredible thunderstorms up by Colorado when I drove to Minnesota that month. There were dense banks of black clouds that seemed to swirl around mesas rising out of flat rangeland. The center of the storm raged with lightning that we could see striking the highest rocks. It was practically cinematic, a vision of the opening of the gates to oblivion.

    Then we saw the exit sign for Taos and thought, perhaps that’s what it was. 😉

    Comment by Synova — September 7, 2006 @ 5:50 pm - September 7, 2006

  7. Years ago when I was a kid, we were driving west across the prairie in Minnesota one evening as a thunder-front boiled out of the Dakotas miles in the distance. It was clear and starry above and to the north and south, but the entire western sky was a vertical wall of boiling clouds stretching almost from horizon to horizon…with lighting continuously illuminating across the entire front for maybe 40-miles in each direction. A curtain of electrical fire from one horizon to the other…yet the stars shown above the front outlining the tops of the clouds 30-miles or more in front of us. Yet all you could hear was a faint rumble…..

    I miss the open spaces of the prairie. People who have only flown across the Plains have no idea to true “scale” of America.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — September 7, 2006 @ 10:02 pm - September 7, 2006

  8. Forget fly-over. There is nothing to put scale to the nation like a nice drive.

    (Even driving speeds on by it all, but months to cross the prairie in a covered wagon is a bit much to ask.)

    Comment by Synova — September 7, 2006 @ 11:46 pm - September 7, 2006

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