Thursday, January 9, 2014

Planes, Trains & Automobiles!!: My Cross Country Vacation- Day 5

Day 5

As much as I was hoping to get up at the first signs of daylight, we slept in til about 7:45…and within 15 minutes, we were checking out of that hell hole Red Lion Inn. Since we had another long day ahead of us and we were already in the hotel, we decided to use our breakfast voucher to grab a larger bite to eat, (you would think at this point we had learned our lesson about this place… apparently not).

As we made our way into the restaurant area for breakfast, I started investigating the breakfast options to see what may be least likely to be quick, safe option. Pete went with cereal and some oatmeal, I thought I’d be safe with a bagel and coffee, but alas, I was wrong. I put the bagel in the toaster and got myself a cup of coffee. When the bagel was ready, I started to take it out of the toaster when I realized it was burning hot. I immediately half tossed the bagel in the air, which first fell on my thumb, (to which now I can credit have a permanent 1st degree burn scar), and landed on the plate. I had enough. We quickly devoured our food and ran out of there to head back out to 4 Corners.
Such a difference between nigh & day with no lights!
 We got back on Route 64 to 160, the same two way road as the night before only the scenery looked much nicer in the daylight hours. We made it back into Arizona and saw the ‘Four Corners Monument’ sign again and open for business. It cost $3 per person to enter, which I thought it was a very reasonable price to see a cool landmark. Since it was early in the morning and past the peak season, there was us and about two other families visiting, perfect to walk around and take as many ‘4 Square’ photos as we wanted.
Four Corners! We made it!
Pete making his way to all 4 states!
All 4 state flags
Four Corners Monument
Me & Pete doing our versions of being in 4 places at once!
All 4 states in 1 place!
After taking a few photos of me and Pete being in 4 places at once, I started walking around and talking with the Navajo people and of course, snagging a few pieces of jewelry and different goodies. I figured it really was the only place I could get a 4 Corners bracelet and necklace set, (and for only $10 handmade…I’ll take a few more pieces as well!) Everyone there was very nice, so after a few more goodies purchased, I walked out of the “square area” and viewed more of the magnificent land the Southwest and Navajo Nation had to offer. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have the amazing mountains as my backyard or having a few wild mustangs roaming around, (which we saw, but couldn't get a good picture).
View from the road!

After a short while, it was time get back on the road and head on out to Flagstaff, Arizona for our next stop, the Grand Canyon. From 4 Corners to Flagstaff was about another 5 hour trip, but this time we got on the road early, so getting to Flagstaff at a reasonable time was almost a guarantee.

Halfway on our trip, we stopped at Tuba City to grab a bite to eat Tuuvi Café, where we each got a sandwich with Fry Bread (a local thing?). It was amazing doing all this driving and only seeing towns scattered about and nothing but beautiful mountains as your background, so much different on the east coast and Boston.
More views from the road!

We got to Flagstaff around 4pm (still light outside!) and stared to search for a hotel room. Although I like to look for independent hotels/inns/B&B’s, after our horrendous experience with Red Lion Inn, we decided to stick with the national chains and chose Holiday Inn Express right off the highway but very close to Route 66. Compared to where we stayed the night before, the Holiday Inn Express did not disappoint us- comfy beds, clean shower and a great to just relax for a bit before we headed out for some dinner.

After a much needed rest, we decided to venture out to see Flagstaff and find a place for dinner. Along the way in search of dinner, we found ourselves driving on the famous Route 66; with all the old-time hotels and diners all lit up, it was quite a scene, (another add on the ‘to-do next time' list of driving the entire Route 66 road from Chicago to Los Angeles!).

Altitudes Bar & Grill
Mother Road Altitude Alpine Ale!
We ended up at Altitudes Bar & Grill just off Route 66, a Ski Lodge themed restaurant, (do people ski in Flagstaff or in Arizona?! I thought it was hot, dessert and Grand Canyon?). It was around 7 at this point and I was very excited to sit, have a few beers and food and watch the Red Sox Game 1 of the World Series!... that was the plan…until I realized it was 7pm Mountain Time and about 10pm Eastern Time, needless to say, it was already the 8th inning… at least we won!

We finished up dinner and headed back to the hotel for a much need good night’s sleep…with both eyes closed this time...because tomorrow was going to be yet another long yet marvelous day on this already incredible cross country adventure! 

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