This leg of the trip involved 2 destination stops, one scenic drive and our arrival in the Flagstaff Arizona area. We spend one overnight in transit in the Phoenix area.
We departed 5/4 just before 7 am, having had breakfast at the hotel. We did not stop for coffee as we had enough at the motel. Reasonably short drive today, only going up near Phoenix. Our destination was drive through Saguaro National Monument to see the Giant Cactus. 11:10, we arrived in Tucson and got off the highway. In about 10 minutes we reached S Kinney Rd which would take us into and through the park.
The scenery here is rugged and breathtaking, the land so desolate and these giant Saguaro plants reaching toward the sky. At 9:00, we reached the Bajada Loop Drive.. a 1 lane dirt road that takes you up into the mountains and back down. It was not a long loop, only took about 40 minutes to drive it and passable by any car. We continued on through the park and around 10:00 am hopped back on I-17 towards Phoenix. There was near zero in lodging past Phoenix so we made sure to find a spot on the North end of town. We grabbed lunch at Red Robin in Tempe and stopped for the night at 1:30 pm
This leg of the trip would take us into Flagstaff after a stop at Montezuma’s Castle National Monument and then a drive on Route 89A through Sedona! We hit the road at 6:30 am Local on 5/5 and headed North, stopping 10 minutes up the road at a Denny’s. Had a nice breakfast, had the coffee mugs filled and got back on the road. As we drove, the mountain views became more impressive. We stopped at the Sunset Point Rest Area about 8 am to take a short break and get some pictures.
Back on the road, we continued on I-17 until 9:00 where we exited the to go to Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. Here is where the Indians, referred to as Cliff Dwellers, built there villages high into the red rock cliffs.
We spent just over an hour here then got back on the road, in only 10 minutes exiting I-17 for SR 179 and then 89A. In the Village of Oak Creek they had a village fair and we stopped for Lyn to do some browsing before continuing on up to Sedona. We grabbed an Ice Cream and continued on enjoying the amazing views. I must say, you cannot put these views into words. I can only say that this loop up 89A is clearly the most gorgeous driving scenery I have ever seen.
We got into Flagstaff shortly after 1:00, checked out some motels and selected the Econolodge. Booked a room but could not get in for an hour so we when and got lunch at this cute little Hot Dog Stand on Route 66. Turned out it was an inspiration to Jackson Brown for part of the song “Take it Easy”. (I did not know that when we ate there)
We had our own inspiration at lunch. We decided to slow down a bit and smell the roses. WE have some LONG driving days and some medium days where we had things to visit at the end of the. That may have worked when we were 40 but at 70, not so well..
We are going to eliminate some of the western stops, picked the most important ones to us to keep and are re-tooling our Plan. We will spend more time enjoying what we want and less time trying to get everywhere. I equate it with going to all u can eat buffet and taking EVERYTHING that looks good and then not being able to eat or all or enjoying what you did eat cuz you are too full. That was our mistake in the plan….
We are starting today, adding an extra day here in Flagstaff…. We are going to drive out to Winslow AZ, see the “Standing on the corner statue and have lunch. Also, we are likely taking old Route 89 North from here instead of taking all Interstate. It is supposed to very scenic.
Overall this new plan will be more relaxing and more fun!!!