11 April 2017

Another bucket list item checked off....

Just got back from another road trip.  This was not a pure road trip as the wife, youngest daughter, and I flew to Phoenix.  There we rented a car and drove it north and east.  We eventually ended up in Albuquerque, NM where we turned it in and flew home from there.

I really like this mode of car rental - the one way trip.  In the past, I would have rented a car out of Phoenix and eventually returned it there.  It was simpler and no additional fees.  But after a while, I realized that I could potentially see much more if I didn't have to backtrack.  It also created other possibilities, good and bad, but that is now all part of the fun.

While in Phoenix, the daughter wanted to go to the zoo.  Okay, done.  She had a good time and it is a pretty darn good zoo if you time it right.  Some of my friends in Phoenix were worried that it would be so hot that the animals would be hiding.  Some were but enough were out and about to make it a good day.

On Day 2, we drove north to Flagstaff.  Along the way we stopped at Montezuma's Castle, Well, and a nearby petroglyph site.  The Castle was a bit of let down because we couldn't get very close to it.  But Montezuma's Well was interesting and there was a park volunteer there with good stories.

After those visits, we continued north thru Sedona. Just as we left Sedona, it started to hail very hard.  It then turned to snow.  I was worried that our trip to the Grand Canyon would be rough.

Day 3 opened up a bit cloudy but the hotel clerk assured us that the road to the Grand Canyon was wide open and clear.  I had been to the Grand Canyon last year for the first time and that was a bucket list item for me.  This time, it was to check off the bucket list for the wife.  This was hers and the daughters first visit.  

As we left Flagstaff on West Bound I-40,  it started to snow.  Pretty hard too. I was getting a bit nervous.  I slowed down a little and traffic was very light.  It eventually faded out.  When I hit the town of Williams to head north, the road was dry and it was sunny.  When we arrived at the Grand Canyon, the skies were clear but there was a very cold light breeze blowing.

It was a good visit. I could tell the wife and youngest daughter were quite impressed.  They were quite cold due to the breeze but still enjoying it very much.  Though towards the end they did get tired and were happy to be heading back to Flagstaff.

Day 4 saw us heading for Gallup, NM.  Along the way, we stopped at the Meteor Crater, "Standin' on the Corner" Park in Winslow, AZ., and a petrified forest/painted desert NP.  

Day 5 we headed to Four Corners.  It's about a 2 hour drive north from Gallup but a very nice drive.  There is very little traffic and the highways are pretty good most of the way.  We were averaging 75 MPH most of the way.

Four Corners is one of those places that I'm glad I went but doubt I will ever go back.  There really isn't much there.  But fortunately we went during the off season and the crowds were low so getting pictures were not hard.  It would certainly be a zoo during the summer.  

Day 6 we  headed for Socorro.  We did take the back roads so it took us about 4 hours to get there.  When we arrived, our hotel room wasn't ready so youngest daughter asked if we could drive to Truth or Consequences, about an hour south.  So off we went.  I asked the wife to drive as I was feeling a bit tired.  After an hour of driving, we get there and the daughters asks, "Is this it?"  Yes, what were you expecting?  Needless to say, she was a bit disappointed.  We still stayed for a bit before heading back to Socorro.

Day 7 we rolled for the Trinity Site.  It's about a half hour drive to the SE from Socorro and on my bucket list.  Just in case you're not familiar with the Trinity Site, it's where they tested the first atom bomb.  The Army opens the site to the public 2X a year; first Saturday in April and in October.  The line to get in was amazing!  Holy cow!  We got there around 0930 and the line was over 2 miles long.  Within a half hour, it was out to the main highway behind us.  That is probably another 3 miles.

The wife and daughter were underwhelmed so we stayed just long enough for me to be satisfied and then we hit the road for Albuquerque.  

Day 8 we headed home.  Glad to be home but glad we got to do this trip.  

I keep debating whether to get a RV or camper.  Not sure what I want to do.

Hope everyone gets a chance to start working on their bucket list.  Take care.

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