As I have been sitting here of the past few weeks writing about our trip to Arizona, I have a few reflections on this trip to Arizona. Every year Laurel has a veterinarian dental conference and it moves to a different city each year. We have taken the week before the conference to do a little touring of the region where the conference is being held. We know where the conferences are going to be held a couple of years in advance, so that gives us time to plan our trips in advance.
When I saw the conference was scheduled in Phoenix, I wasn’t to keen on going to Arizona. What did Arizona have to offer? A dessert and a big hole in the ground. But Laurel convinced me to take a closer look at visiting our forty-eighth state. So a year ago I started listing places to visit in Arizona. It was a do all list and then we could pare it down later to fit our time we had available.
Ok, the Grand Canyon was going to be on the list, but what else? Surfing Pinterest and other web searches brought Sedona to the forefront. Laurel threw out the Petrified Forest. What did downtown Phoenix have to offer? As time got closer for us to purchase our fight tickets, we needed to rough in our road trip.
We were planning to fly out on Saturday and I would fly home on Thursday. I found it hard to make the Petrified Forest a part of our trip. We then decided to leave on Friday and were able to find a non-stop flight in the morning and that put the Petrified Forest back in our travel plans. The Petrified Forest added the Mogollon Rim, Holbrook, and Winslow. After visiting the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert and Blue Mesas were the highlights of this National Park. The colors were stunning and vibrant and worth every minute spent in the park. The petrified wood in the park was interesting but the rock shops had petrified wood that was polished and showed the beauty of the petrifying.
Route 66 can be explained with words, but to drive and interact with this historic route is a different thing. This may be the most famous route in America, but there are many historic routes throughout America you can travel. How about the Yellowstone Trail? Never heard of it? From Plymouth Rock to the Puget Sound. This was a cross-country road established in 1912 and ended in 1930. In Wisconsin, the Yellowstone Trail starts south of Milwaukee and goes north to Oshkosh then turns westward crossing the state to Hudson. You can still travel on the original roads that were the Yellowstone Trail but today they are covered with a modern coating of asphalt. In today’s hurried world who has time to take these roads? The same can be said of Route 66. Most of Route 66 we drove was a 70 miles-per-hour Interstate 40. That doesn’t give you much time to interact with this historic road. Pull off in the towns along the way and you can step back in time to a simpler time. Imagining no air conditioning, no fast food, and simple motels.
What can’t be explained with words is the Grand Canyon. Photos cannot convey the true size and scale of the Grand Canyon. It can only be experienced with your toes on the edge of the rim. And still, its size will skew the distances in your mind. What looks like a hundred yards away is really two miles. What looks like a short walk is an all-day hike needing extra water and body conditioning. What I can say is, the colors are breathtaking even at high noon. The day was 35 degrees and windy. I would love to revisit the Grand Canyon when it is a little warmer and spend more time experiencing this awe-inspiring site.
Sedona is the spiritual region. If you are not into the new age spiritual followings, the landscape will still stir your spirit regardless of your spiritual beliefs. This region offers plenty of space to sit and meditate with your inner spirit. I see the term Mindfulness everywhere today. As I reread reviews of the places we visited I am struck by how many people are so mindless to the experiences of a slower pace of train travel, an old two-lane road, and small no-frills motels. At one time, not so long ago, these were the fast-paced mindless activities of their day.
As I planned this trip the one thing that was a cornerstone to me was to meet one of Laurel’s second cousins. Instead, we met two cousins. As I work on my genealogy, I see so many people do the AncestryDNA test but not do anything beyond the test. If you do the test, add your own small family tree. You will need to add enough of your ancestors that have died because the living persons will be shown as private. This will allow people doing research to connect with you in helping them in doing research on their genealogy. Please answer their emails even if you’re not interested in meeting them. If you need to, pass them to a person you may know who is doing genealogy so they can follow up for you. The people I have met in person or thru email have been wonderful and are willing to help fill in the family connections. I have even helped a couple of adoptive people find their DNA family.
My travel partner is a wonderful person with a great curiosity for nature and ancient societies. The Petrified Forest was on her must-see list and for me, it was a lot of windshield time. By her holding her position it would have been easy to miss the Painted Desert and Blue Mesas. The week offered her a week of no driving and to be chauffeured on a tour of Arizona. Thank you for taking a ride with me.
The colors of this state are always changing throughout the day as the sun moves across the open sky. When I returned to work I commented to one of my suppliers we were in Arizona. He said he was originally from Arizona. I told him of our tour and he was impressed that we had seen some of Arizona’s greatest sights on such a short visit to Arizona. I will definitely be returning to Arizona in the future to visit more beautiful sites of Arizona.