Five degrees in Flagstaff this morning after a fresh snow yesterday morning. The San Francisco Peaks to the north were beautiful in the morning sun.
Driving south on I-17, we began dropping in elevation from 7000 ft., the snow disappearing as did the tall pines now being replaced by Cedar and Piñon. I forgot how beautiful this drive is, winding through mountainous terrain at 80 mph. What fun.
We saw smoke clouds and another few miles down the road we saw a slash burn, a planned burn of rubbish from forest thinning. The smell rememinded us of the two fires we expereinced in Durango, the acrid smoke of burning pine and brush is something you can never forget. Last year we had to leave town because of the smoke from the horrible fire north of town that permeated the air so it was truely hard to breath, especially with asthma like I have.
Then down into the Verde Valley and past the red magical mystical rocks of Sedona to the west. Farther on down we came to the elevaiton where the giant Suquaro cactus grow. The scenery was breathtaking. To north of Pheonix, we skirted the cith as we went west on the 303 avoiding the the heavy Phoenix traffic. Then to I-10 and south to Gila Bend, a sleepy little desert town by I-8 where we stopped for gas, a potty break, and ice cream.
From the time we left I-10 and headed south, the landscape turned into serious desert spotted here and there by low craggy desert mountains. As we drove along I-8, we knew Mexico was only a short distance to the south. The whole scene always reminds me of reading Carlos Castenada’s first book, ‘The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge’. When I read it some 30 odd years ago, I dreamed of this land, and it was as I always envisioned. Although I have driven this road many times, the mysticism of this land never escapes me.
And on to Yuma, a place where the snowbirds come to roost from their migration away from their northern winters, all huddled into compact RV Parks like some sort of a transient winter retreat amongst their own species, drinking beer, eating off BBQ grills, playing cards, and telling tall fables of a lost youth.
To our motel for some decompression and on to our wonderful friends for drinks, dinner, and telling our own tall fables.