Day 15

10 Jun

Five hundred miles plus side trips can make a couple of aging travelers tired. However, stepping onto an elevator in front of some well-conditioned young men who were talking about taking the stairs has made me feel ashamed. It turns out that the men were members of the Winena Hot Shots from Klamath Falls, Oregon. They are in northern Arizona fighting forest fires. Dry conditions in the Southwest have resulted in multiple forest fires in many states. I would gladly haul my large rear up all five flights of stairs at the Flagstaff Holiday Inn to have another chance of letting those young men on the elevator ahead of me.

Lee talked to a firefighter from Feather River in California. More firefighters are coming in from all over the West. We got a photo of a truck.

Here are a few highlights from today:

1. We already missed Gardner before we were completely out of Los Angeles. Still, the city is a bit large for me.

2. Near the graves of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in Victorville, California is a much larger than life, fiberglass statue of Trigger.

3. I need to apologize to the Mojave Desert. Traveling east on I-40, we saw a different side of the desert: mountains, dunes, color. It was a fascinating place. We even drove into the Mojave for a few miles.

4. There are many wildflowers, and tame ones too, in the West of which I am completely ignorant.

5. Don’t forget to check your gas gauge when you leave Kingman, Arizona. It’s a long way to the next gas pump — in Seligman, Arizona. When we finally pulled into the Historic Route 66 General Store in Seligman, the indicator said we could go only ten miles more.

6. When Willa Cather first saw the cliff dwellings in Walnut Canyon near Flagstaff, she said, “How easy it would be to dream one’s life out in some cleft of the world.” Walnut Canyon is nearly five hundred feet deep. There are cliff dwellings in many of the rock sides. Some relics found in the canyon date back over 3000 years. Why and how the Indians lived in these dwellings and lived at an altitude over 7000 feet with an average rainfall of twenty inches, is beyond me.

I’m tired, but I’ll bet the firefighters are already asleep.


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