Friday, January 4, 2013

Almost there!

My last two stops - Santa Fe, NM and Flagstaff, AZ were exactly what I had hoped.  From Amarillo, straight (and I mean straight/flat) across West Texas, to the land of mesas, gulches, arroyos, Tejano, nopales and jackalopes - Santa Fe, (which I hadn't visited in over 10 year).  A soak at one of my most favorite spas, Ten Thousand Waves and dinner at Pasqual's. The former, a hot tub under the stars in bitter cold and an altitude of 7,000+ feet - heaven; the latter, sharing a community table with interesting dining companions from Denver, New Orleans, Sarasota and Oklahoma City. Incredibly enjoyable - and a bit raucous.

A quick stop at Baja Taco for a breakfast burrito the next morning, shared with friends in the know via text (and a tradition,  in my opinion, that can only be beat by the ones eaten at sunrise at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque), a zip with Emmy around the Plaza and then in the car to Flagstaff.

Quite the drive, that. Twelve to fifteen miles between exits, freight trains with containers stacked two-high, 60-70 cars long winding their way west; the opportunity to "save 50% on meteorites" and crossing the Colorado River.  Best sighting?  An American Bald Eagle - sitting at the top of a tree as I drove by!  Incredible to be as close as I was...

Had a great visit with Alison Mitkowski,  Ethan and their five-year-old son, Grant (along with Bo, a yellow lab who loved Emmy so much he practically licked  her fur off,  and a ginger kitty - who spent alot of time at the top of the draped and whose name seems to change daily.)  Nice to be welcomed into a home of friends after many nights in a hotel, around strangers. Alison and Ethan relocated from the East Coast almost four years ago. They had visited often and  realized it was where they were happiest.  Fast forward to consulting work for A and a position with the Sherrif's department for E.  I learned alot about their take on area and culture during our conversation.  Thanks for the hospitality!

Day Seven - anxious to arrive, and grateful to have had the opportunity of the past week to travel as I did.  After a quick stop in the historic town of Williams and a tasty breakfast at the Pine Country Restaurant, I was ready to hit the road, once last time, finally leaving bitter cold (and many inches of snow in AZ) for the warmer climes of California.

Down, down, down - towards sea level again!  Fleeced peeled off and windows open we headed southwest to our final destination, the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

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