Vacation 2000

9/16/00 to 9/24/00

We did not have much time to plan for this one.  It all came together in less than two weeks.  It started out by Susan getting a fantastic employment opportunity offer.  In August, a friend referred her name to a Doctor at Stanford University as a support admin, so she went over to talk about it.  Friday before the Labor Day weekend, they called and offered her a job.  It was too good to pass up, and that started the ball rolling.  We came back from the long weekend in the high California desert near Mono Lake, the ghost town of Bodie, and the Bishop area .  When we got back, Susan gave two weeks notice to the publishing company she was working for.

That gave us a week to spare until she was to report for work on Sept 25th.  We had not given any thoughts as to where we should go and we were not even sure if Tim could get off  work.  Over the Labor Day weekend, we decided that we wanted to see more of the southwest and desert areas.  Albuquerque New Mexico was finally decided upon as a destination and plans went on from there.

After getting permission to take a vacation on short notice from Tim's employer, we made reservations for the trip in several different cities and towns that we thought would be interesting, with a final eastern destination of New Mexico.  That was fun, especially with not much time to plan it all.  We decided the first day would just be travel and we wanted to get as far away from home as possible.  We made it to Needles California the first day.  551 miles and we still were not out of the state.  That was probably the worst day.

After spending the night we went on to Holbrook Arizona for a two night layover.  Holbrook was only 295 miles away and we were able to drive at a reasonable pace with stops in Flagstaff and a couple of regional parks.  

Holbrook is the town nearest the Petrified Forrest and the Painted Desert.  They both are together in one national park. We drive out of Holbrook 19 miles to the eastern entrance of the park and spent the day driving through the park.  There are many different areas of the park to see.  They are not all the same.  The Petrified Forrest has many different areas where the Petrified Wood is different in color.  As you drive through the park, you see stone logs everywhere.  Sometimes you see just one sitting by itself and sometimes you see hundreds just laying on the ground.  You can follow this link to see a montage of pictures that we took of the forrest and the painted desert.  

Holbrook is an interesting town.  They have a Navajo County Museum in the middle of town.  It is the old court house and jail.  You would not want to spend any time inside this jail.  The jail was installed in pieces and the ceiling is only about six and half feet tall .  The cells are very small with four bunks in each cell.

Holbrook is on the old historic Route 66.  Route 66 used to be the main travel way between Los Angeles and Chicago.  We didn't spend too much time on the old road but if you look here, you can see one of the original motels along the route.

From Holbrook we traveled east again towards Albuquerque.  The mileage was only 245 miles so we decided to travel through Navajo country and see what they had to offer.  We headed east then north on a two lane highway through the Navajo Reservation to a National Park site called the Hubble Trading Post.  The trading post has been in use since the 1800's when John Hubble opened it up to trade with the Navajo Indians.  It was owned by the Hubble family until 1967 when a Granddaughter-in-law gave it and all the contents to the National Park service.  The home is preserved as it was when it was turned over and is really much like it was in the early 1900's.  From there we traveled east to the Arizona, New Mexico state line and a town called Window Rock.  We were not sure what was there but the name gave us a clue.  Click on the picture of the Hubble barn to see the picture page of the Navajo part of the trip.

Window Rock is interesting because the Navajo people have built the town there just to be near this beautiful view.  They are currently constructing a veterans memorial in front of the Window Rock.  It is almost completed and when it is finished it will be a great place to think and ponder.

From there it was off to Albuquerque New Mexico.  When we arrived we started to look for the Motel that we had a reservation in and could not find it on the map.  Well, we called and got directions.  We followed the directions and ended up way outside of town.  We stopped at a gas station and asked where the motel was and got directions.  We arrived and were told that it was the wrong place.  They gave us directions to the other motel we were supposed to be .  I figured out why we could not follow the original directions.  We were back in a large city where the people cannot speak english and don't know how to communicate.  I'm sure that Albuquerque is a great city to visit, but we were not out to visit cities.  Even though we had reservations for three nights, we only checked in for one and left the following morning.

The original plan was to go to Taos New Mexico but we decided that it was too touristy for us.  Instead, we headed south to Roswell New Mexico.  This was probably the best town we were in on the entire trip.  Even their web site is aimed to the home town mentality.  The original plan was to investigate the "Roswell Incident", and we did go to the museum and even drove out to the "landing site".  But, the museum and the related information was just too hokey and seemed to be nothing more than a way for people to make money.

I would have liked to spend a lot more time in Roswell, but we had to start thinking of going home and we were a long way from home and not much time left to drive back.  From Roswell, we headed south then west to Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico.  I tried to take pictures inside the caverns and got these, but without flash and only my small digital camera with fixed settings, well, take a look and you will see what I mean. Cavern Images.

We were so far south in New Mexico that the quickest way back to California was to travel through Texas.  If you look at a map, the western point of Texas is just south of New Mexico. We went through El Paso and headed back into NM to Las Cruces.  We spent a very nice night in Las Cruces and had a wonderfull dinner in Old Town.  Original New Mexico style and "HOT"!

Back through Arizona and into Phoenix we went through Sugaro National Park.  We drove through and then went on.  It was very interesting but also very hot.  We stayed in the car and didn't take but two pictures.  Click on the photo to the left to see both of them.

Well, that's about it.  It only lasted a week, but it sure was fun and relaxing.  We are not sure when or where we will go next time.  I have been talking a lot with the Schaff family lately and we are thinking about going to the mid west to visit them next year.

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Tim & Sue