October 10, 2002
Long Day

Thank god for the restful day yesterday, because I'm exhausted now. Al drove from Carefree to Flagstaff, and I did the leg between Flagstaff and Grants, NM, where we are now. It was cool to see the scenery change from Saguaro cacti to pine trees as we climbed out of the desert and into the mountains near the southern entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. Flagstaff was at 7000', and the air there was incredibly clean and refreshing—I could have stood in the Safeway parking lot just breathing it in all day.

Luckily we didn't do that, because the leg from Flagstaff to Grants was the longer of the two, and we stopped at Meteor Crater Park to have a look at the hole in the ground left by the first proven meteor impact. The admission price was about double what we thought it was worth, but it was fun to take photos there and see something so unusual.

Next stop was in Holbrook, AZ, for gas. When we first planned the honeymoon, I thought we might stop here overnight, since it was halfway between Carefree and Santa Fe, but we revised our schedule to try to make it as far as we could. The computers were down at the Texaco truck stop we first tried to get gas from, so we continued on to the next exit, which boasted a Chevron. I'm glad we did, because we got to see the part of Holbrook that was frozen sometime in the 60s.

The Chevron not only didn't have a pay-at-the-pump option; it also had analog pumps, the kind I'd learned to pump gas on when I was a kid, and haven't seen in about 20 years. Next door was a Dairy Queen with an old-fashioned blue sign depicting a vanilla cone (I took some black & white photos, but no digital), and down the street were motels, coffee shops, and newsstands that looked like they were part of a movie set. I wish I'd noticed them before I put the camera away.

I had to go inside to pay for the gas, and the shop reminded me of Hillcrest Auto, the place my dad, mom, and later I, as a teenager, worked. There were hoses and belts hanging high on the wall behind the cash register, and the smell of grease and metal and hand goop. "This place reminds me of a shop where my dad used to work when I was a kid," I told the older guy who took my credit card. "That smell... it really takes me back." He half smiled, half gaped at me. "You *like* that smell?" he asked. "It's the smell of my dad," I replied, with an "of course" shrug.

After Holbrook it was a flat-out sprint for Grants. Both Al and I were very tired. When we got to Gallup, we called ahead to Grants to make sure we could get a room, because if we couldn't, Gallup was the only other logical stop. We found a room at the Travelodge ("right next to Wal-Mart!" said the ad in the AAA TourBook), reserved it, and floored the accelerator.

We arrived at 7:20pm, checked in, watched the remainder of Survivor, and then went out in search of eats. We couldn't find anything appetizing, so we went to the Denny's next door. I must say that as a Calforinian, I'm always shocked when I enter a restaurant and am asked, "smoking or non?" Do people really still smoke? Apparently, yes. We got seated a little too close to the smoking section for comfort, so we asked to be moved. It improved the breathability of the air, but not the edibility of the food.

After Denny's, we went over to the Wal-Mart Superstore and bought a few provisions (an apple, some grapes, more chocolate, Twizzlers, a pillow for the car, a collapsible cooler, a large padded envelope for all the stuff we're saving for our scrapbook, and some lip balm). We considered buying a microwave, since we both would rather have had a Smart Ones or a Lean Cuisine for dinner than the Denny's, but we didn't. I think we may do that tomorrow night, if our next hotel doesn't have a microwave, and there's a Wal-Mart nearby. We need a new microwave at home anyway, so might as well buy one now.

Photos from Day 3

Posted by Lori at October 10, 2002 09:53 PM


funny, you talk about the grease smell. for me, it is the pneumatic gun that stirs up the memories. the whir of that tool has always been a "happy noise" for me, as it reminds me of Hillcrest Auto. I think the real name of it is impact hammer. all I know is that it is the thing that takes the lug nuts off the wheels. it makes me smile when I see/hear ken using the pneumatic tools. it makes me especially happy and nostalgic when I see Dad using them :)

Posted by: Lisa on October 20, 2002 08:48 PM

funny you should mention the pneumatic wrench, or whatever it's called. every time I hear that AFLAC commercial with the guys under the cars using that tool, I think of dad. :)

Posted by: Lori on October 22, 2002 10:54 PM