Saturday, February 21, 2015

Road Trip to California

Last October, we decided to do a little more "down-sizing" in our lives.  We had two cars for two retired people taking up two spaces in the garage and with two insurance bills. So we went to the Toyota dealer and traded both cars in for a fire-engine red 2014 4Runner. The subtraction of one car finally gave me a space to paint, too.

Ron's been itching to take the new car on a road trip.  In January, we took the grandchildren and Ron's daughter to Angel Fire Ski resort (near Taos, NM) complete with our new Thule ski rack to carry four sets of skis.  Ron had just had cataract surgery so he didn't drive too much on that trip.

Over the long Presidents' Day weekend last week, we decided to drive to San Diego, California to visit our friends, Laurie and Page.  We had gotten married in Laurie and Page's backyard 9 years ago.
Ron and Vicki wedding January 14, 2006 in Poway, CA
We set out Friday morning at 9:15 AM for Sedona, Arizona (about 6 1/2 hours by car).  Driving I-40 west just before Holbrook, we were alerted to a highway closure 85 miles ahead due to a fatal accident.  This was at a spot just east of Flagstaff where we were headed to take I-17 south.   Using our new GPS navigation system, we re-routed ourselves from Winslow SR 87 to  SR  260 towards Payson.  This was a scenic road through the Coconino National Forest and Mongollon Rim country.  I thought we'd end up in Camp Verde, but the navigation system took us the most direct route to a 14 mile mostly unpaved forest road (Stoneman Lake Rd., FR 213) to I-17 from Lake Mary's Road and Happy Jack, AZ.  This would not be the first time that a navigation system took a car to an unintended route!  But the road was fairly dry and we managed to get to Sedona by about 3:45PM.  The afternoon sun was warm and inviting.  So after we checked into the Villas at Poco Diablo, I opened a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins wine I had brought to celebrate Valentine's Day.  We sat down with a couple of wine glasses on a deck overlooking Oak Creek, basking in the late afternoon sun.

Sedona, AZ panorama from the airport
We headed to San Diego the next day and arrived in Poway by 4PM on Valentine's Day.

Page and Ron enjoying a sunny day in the backyard

Laurie watering her beautiful garden
The next day Laurie and Page took us to the beach in Del Mar.  It was a gorgeous clear day.  Ron even doffed a hat that he borrowed from Page (Ron never wears hats).

Ron and I in Del Mar soaking up the rays
The beach in Del Mar

We then headed for Mr.  A's in downtown San Diego for drinks and a panoramic view of San Diego. 

Our lovely table on the balcony of Mr.A's looking west toward the airport and harbor
Laurie at Mr.A's

Page at Mr. A's

The view

Downtown San Diego view to the southwest

Page and Laurie, Ron and Vicki at Mr. A's

After a couple of days of wonderful hospitality by Laurie and Page, we headed home Monday morning via I-8 to Casa Grande, AZ and then to US Hwy 60 east to Globe, AZ where the copper mines are.

The views on Hwy 60 to Superior/Miami/Globe mining towns

We continued on US 60 through the mountains northeast of Globe.  We wanted to make it to the scenic Salt River canyon before dark, but the sun was already sinking toward the west and I took a video of the road just southwest of the Salt River canyon.

 Unfortunately, we arrived at the scenic Salt River Canyon just after dark.  The next few miles took us on a scary night-time descent down and up a twisting mountain road.   Here is another person's You Tube video of the road through the Salt River Canyon in the daylight to offer you the experience of driving through this mini-version of a Grand Canyon:

We spent the night in Show Low and the next day at about 7:30 AM took SR77 to Holbrook and onto I-40 east for our return to Albuquerque by 12:30 PM on Tuesday, February 17th.

Ron enjoyed the whole driving experience in our shakedown cruise in the new 4Runner.

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