As I reviewed my photos from the theoretically-just-shy-of-five-hour trek from Albuquerque and Flagstaff, nearly evenly divided between western New Mexico and eastern Arizona, I was reminded it actually took considerably longer than that due to various turnarounds and near-misses. Which is fine, and even predictable, on an ambling, photo-driven journey, but a little funny nonetheless.
In Texas I’d made the great discovery that if one travels along the ubiquitous frontage roads that run along the interstates, one can slow down and make photo stops without one’s life being threatened by the steady stream of 18-wheelers barreling down the highway.
I found that while there were frontage roads in New Mexico and Arizona, the network wasn’t quite as extensive and many of them came to a dead end before re-joining the highway, forcing a number of about-faces along the way when my picturesque frontage roads came to an abrupt halt.
Then I was hoping to do a quick drive-through of the Petrified Forest and/or Painted Desert, which I know would not have been the ideal way to experience them, so when I was confronted with the $25 entrance fee at the gate I decided to skip it. Similar story later on at Meteor Crater— the entrance wasn’t quite as steep, but I arrived too close to closing time for it to seem worth it.
Still, there were plenty of great sights to take in even having skipped these attractions– moody skies and leftover snow adding a bit of drama to the landscape in the last bits of New Mexico, interesting signs and venues in Holbrook, the Jackson Browne statue famously standing on its corner in Winslow.
And despite being waylaid by the various hiccups along the way (AND the fact that I’d so quickly lost another hour due to Arizona’s cheeky but admirable eschewing of our daylight savings conventions!), I still saw fit to stop for a little time lapse of the storm I’d just escaped in Winslow making empty threats of an approach.