We drove over 235 miles today. It’s so strange how 235 miles back home seems like it takes decades, but here, it was a leisurely, fun drive. We left our hotel in Albuquerque around 8:00 this morning and stopped by Frontier Restaurant for breakfast before heading west. Frontier was recommended to us by my boss in Chattanooga and it didn’t disappoint. Again, I liked Tom’s food better – he got huevos rancheros and I ordered a breakfast burrito – of course, both of our dishes were topped in green chili. I’m beginning to think even ice cream here is topped with some type of pepper. I’m not complaining.
Utah was delightfully weird. It’s funny how you can see so much better here. You can see the entire storm in the sky and the rain falling to the ground way before you actually reach it. You can see trains, from the front engine to the very last car. We followed the two-lane Historic Rte. 66 in New Mexico as much as we could – it’s still fairly passable in much of the state. In most parts, it runs directly parallel to I-40. Once we crossed into Arizona, it wasn’t passable any longer, so we were forced onto the interstate, but the scenery was still intriguing.
The small towns along the way are just as bizarre as I’d hoped. In fact, if I could describe Route 66 in one word, I’d use the word “bizarre.” Honestly, everything out here is just really freaking weird. I mentioned that it feels like they’re 10 years behind us out West? Let’s increase that a little bit now. Maybe to like…50. Things just run at a much slower pace out here; no one seems to get in a hurry about much at all.
Once we crossed into Arizona, we continued onward until we reached the Petrified Forest National Park. We met a family from the outskirts of Atlanta – they drove all the way here. I thought to myself how, if my family tried that, some of us wouldn’t live through it. The Painted Desert/Petrified Forest was very neat; we viewed most of it from the comfort of our car. Lazy? Maybe. Lord forbid we hike. It reminded me so much of Butler. I think only people from Butler will know what I mean by that.
Once we reached Holbrook, we checked into the Globetrotter Lodge. Retro would be a good word used to describe it. It’s very clean, despite the fact that I think it’s older than dirt. We drove around town for a few photo-ops, even though most everything is closed since it’s Sunday. The Wigwam Inn was everything I wanted it to be – I really wish we could have gotten reservations there, but our hotel is directly across the street. We stopped at a dollar store where I bought a swim-suit and we tried to get in the pool at the hotel – but, out here in the desert, the pools are too cold. The pool was straight out of The Brady Bunch. Again…delightfully bizarre. We had fun just lounging by the pool and being lazy, since there really is absolutely NOTHING to do here on a Sunday – even the theater is closed. We lucked out and found a Mexican restaurant and Tom ordered something amazing, so I spent most of the meal stealing food off his plate. For two people that eat at Tapatios 3-4 times per week, we both agree that we’re beginning to get tired of Mexican food.
I can’t say enough good things about the people here. Truly, we have met some of the kindest, friendliest, most helpful people along the way. Are they weird? Yep. But we’re all a little weird and the way they act, the respect they have for other people, and the way they treat their surroundings is really restoring my faith. I think that’s a sign of a good trip. Faith being restored.