Friday, 22 September 2017

Day 24: Flagstaff AZ - Eagar AZ

The three phases of life on the road, shamelessly plagiarised from Douglas Adams:

  1. Survival - Where am I?
  2. Inquiry - What time is it?
  3. Sophistication - Where's the bathroom?

Don't worry, I found it...

First port of call requires a retrace up US-89 to Sunset Crater.  I mean, it'd be rude not to.

Lenox Crater Trail, described as "Strenuous" and surfaced with volcanic grot to deter unfit dilettantes in flip-flops.  It worked...
Lava, Arizona, Friday
It last erupted shortly after the Domesday Book; the sight of steam emerging from da 'hood in 2015 sparked fears of a new eruption but turned out to be a forest fire.  Whoopsie.
Weather brewing to the south.  It missed.
Sunset Crater National Monument is joined at the hip to Wupatki National Monument, which contains a Several of Native American pueblos dating back to some time before Magna Carta.  Looking at them, you'd think one decent shower would have them dissolving back into the desert almost immediately but the lads who built them clearly knew what they were about.  Eventually most of their descendants got wiped out by the usual suspects including, though not limited to, Jesuits, smallpox, whiskey and the US Government who told the locals no, you can't live round here coz it's OURS.  In 1970.  I know Nixon was president back then but even so.
Wukoki Pueblo
Wupatki Pueblo
Iz mah bukkit!  Probably not an original feature of the site.
Back into Flagstaff, a quick burst of I-40 and I-17 then off down AZ-89, or what's left of it while they're apparently rebuilding it from the ground up, to Sedona.  This leads down Oak Creek Canyon, which is jolly brillsticks even if you have to follow some Grade-A nincompoop from Louisiana who comes almost to a standstill on every corner.  Yes, they're trees.  You have them in Louisiana too.  I've seen them.  Now hoppit.
Hullo clouds, hullo sky, hullo,trees!

Being as it is not very far at all from Route 66, Sedona gets hyped to bits in the guidebooks so natch I feared the worst.  On the Mr Larrington Nastiness Scale, where 1 is Le Puy en Velais and 10 is Aspen, it rates about 7, but gets an extra half-point for the naff faux-pueblo "architecture" that infests everywhere from west Texas to the Mighty Colorado on the California state line.  Just stop it.  Emily wanted to send me back the way I'd come to get to Eagar, but I told her "no" and was rewarded by some excellent Rocks south of Sedona.
Finally she relented and allowed as how AZ-260 might indeed take me to within a mile or two of my destination.  The 260 can't make up its minds whether it wants to be up on the plateau or down in the valley, hence the temperature is never constant for more than two minutes, but if you ever wondered what Douglas Bader did after being liberated from Colditz, the answer can be found just outside the town of Strawberry.
Finally the road settles on "plateau" which in these parts is high enough to be thickly coated with Ponderosa pines.  Until just beyond Show Low, where it turns into "undulating grassland that looks like some of the bits of Montana I crossed the other week".  I happened upon some kind of Motor-Car Happening in Show Low; one lane was cordoned off to allow a procession of hot rods and muscle cars, with a few oddities thrown in.  Loudest was this 427 Cobra:
Sorry for the rubbish photo; he was doing right-on-red while I was stopped at the lights
Some of the onlookers even waved at me so natch I had to wave back, in the approved BRITISH manner as practiced by HM the Queen.

(Grams: "Rule Britannia" inna-Last-Night-Of-The-Proms-stylee)

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