Day 2: Wild West

Last stop in Arizona, just outside Petrified Forest National Park.

Day 2 was all about the views on Interstate 40… from Flagstaff, Arizona through Navajo country, past Albuquerque, and all the way to Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Peaks of the San Francisco mountains and Ponderosa pines, outside hotel La Quinta in Flagstaff. Fun Fact: Flagstaff is situated in the midst of the largest Ponderosa pine tree forest in the world!
Departing Odometer Reading. Total Distance covered so far: 381 miles

When I drove out to California last November, speed and efficiency were my goals. I planned to drive 8 hours a day but, as some of you may recall, the Clyde/Houdini fiasco set me back three hours on Day One, which I boldly made up for by driving eleven hours on Day Two. Well, I might have made up the lost hours that day, but I also fried my nerves. So this time, I’m doing things a little differently.

A couple months ago I met an experienced snowbird, who is also a #vanlife road tripper, at a Jimmy Dore comedy show in Palm Springs. Pat told me she does the trip every year at a leisurely pace: six hours a day, stopping every two. Her hours are 9-3, boom. Then she stops and sets up for the night.

I don’t need to set up camp for the night, but Pat’s schedule made sense to me. It will help avoid the dreaded “highway hypnosis.” It will work for the animals, who may need a drink of water, a little stretch, or a pee. It also makes sense for my crony eyes, which perform best during daylight hours. Furthermore, I want to avoid driving into the rising sun when I’m Eastbound (not to mention the setting sun, when heading west.) Finally, a daily routine of three little, two-hour chunks feels really doable. Piece of cake, I say!

First stop: Petrified Forest National Park

Hence our first stop on Day Two, about 1.5 hours after leaving Flagstaff, was the Petrified Forest National Park visitor center and rest area. We didn’t enter the park itself, but they had a nice fenced area for dogs, which Timi appreciated. I even let Clyde out of his crate—on his harness and leash—for a little romp, although I can’t say for sure he enjoyed it. Perhaps the fresh air was good for him, but he’s a cat, and this was NOT his territory. Not even close.

I am his territory. And Timi. Clyde feels safe with us.

Clyde is eager to get back in the car. Stockholm Syndrome?

The Petrified Forest is located about 40 miles west of the New Mexico border. This sign says it all: no right turns. You are heading East, young lady.

Leaving Arizona… New Mexico bound.

Our second stop was a quickie fuel stop in Grants, NM. It was so windy there, I didn’t even walk Timi around the parking lot. Earlier on the road, I had seen a curious, diamond shaped, yellow sign: GUSTY WINDS MAY EXIST. Well, they certainly did in Grants.

We kept driving until I spied a nice rest area between Moriarty and Wagon Wheel. It was still windy out, but not as gusty as Grants.

Timi takes the wind in Wagon Wheel.
Timi Henrix and the wild blue yonder.

Today’s travels took us through a time zone change, which added an hour to the clock. We got to La Quinta Santa Rosa around 5:45 local time, not bad. Around sunset, I walked over to a nearby service station and bought some earplugs. These are hopefully going to to help me sleep through Timi’s someone-is-outside-the-room Alert! ALERT! regular reporting. Clyde sleeps calmly on my bed and never makes a peep, but Timi is on the job all night, sounding the alarm. However, I need to do my job, too! Which includes being well rested for a full day of driving. Fingers crossed, the earplugs will help. 🦉OBC🌵

Santa Rosa sunset, Day Two. ❥

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, please hit the *Like* button so I’ll know you stopped by. And thanks for sharing the journey with me! 🙏🏼✨

Author: eat2evolve

Evolution-based clinical nutritionist specializing in low carbohydrate nutrition, sugar addiction & ED recovery.

4 thoughts on “Day 2: Wild West”

  1. Good that you structured your drive back to feel more sane and comfortable! Let’s get together once you feel settled back in.

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