May 14, 2021 1 Comment
Sorry it took me awhile to get back to this blog! I’ve been making some yummy new fragrant candles, and I got sidetracked.
Where I left off last, our destination was San Francisco, and we stayed in San Mateo for a week in what would have been an absolutely cute apartment, except for the fact that it was dirty. I had to clean the place from top to bottom, and even then, my asthma was acting up from the years of animal scents in the carpet.
Our first stop was to see the giant sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park. I checked the weather, and we had good weather all the way home! Apple Maps wanted to take us down closed roads, and I had to commandeer the GPS with Google Maps on this first leg of the journey. We were so amazed by all the orange orchards we saw. I kept thinking of how my Grandma Ashdown told me how her and her best friend, Barb, would take oranges, and put them down their shirts and pose like pin-up girls every time a car would pass them while traveling through the southwest during the 1950’s. I wanted an orange so bad, but I knew better than to take one off these properties, even if there were so many on the ground. We finally saw a little stand with an old man selling big huge bags of oranges and lemons. I bought a bag of oranges for $8 and a bag of lemons for $5.
When we got to Sequoia National Park, the road was winding and slow uphill. Traffic was heavy. Since we didn't have time, we opted to check out General Sherman, the largest Sequoia in the world. The flora changed with the the elevation, as well as the temperature from arid and dry to chilly and snowy, and when we finally got to General Sherman, the parking lot was full. Marlin was not allowed on the trail which was very disappointing, but he did get to pee on a giant sequoia that was cut down. People did give us dirty looks, but hey, it was right next to the restrooms, it wasn’t a display tree, and Marlin was allowed in this area! Sequoias are naturally resistant to wildfires because of their super thick bark, and need fire to reproduce and grow, however at the same time, high severity fires can be deadly.
I took a slippery walk down to General Sherman by myself to get a quick look. It was crowded. A bit too crowded for me.
We then left Sequoia National Park, we headed to Bakersfield and stayed at La Quinta Inn. We chose the presidential suite, which has a living room, and we were right off an exit so Marlin could go for a walk. At this particular La Quinta, pets stayed free, and no weight restrictions. We did have noisy children above us, a rare occurrence that really upset Marlin. I usually do not complain, however after driving all day, and a long drive ahead of us, I did call the front desk and asked that they tell the occupants above us to calm their kids down. Really, I have to control an animal, they can control their children. Marlin had been growling and barking, however we worked on “disengaging” and focusing on hugs or treats in exchange for his silence. He did really good, and now practices routinely at home when we get passersby.
The next day, we headed west, with a shorter drive ahead, and more sightseeing opportunities. On our bucket list was the Mojave Air and Space Port aircraft boneyard. My boyfriend and I worked in the airline / logistics industry for more than 20 years, and we are what you call "aviation geeks".
I personally like to collect aircraft instruments, and old model airplanes of the tin type, preferably original Pan Am. Having worked at airports, I used to proclaim that I loved the smell of jet fuel in the morning with a deep inhalation, and heavy sigh of satisfaction. I also loathed hornets that liked to hang out at airports because they are attracted to jet fuel, and want to fly around your face as you drive a tug with several bag carts attached. We snapped a few pictures, ignoring the signs that said "No Photographs" then we hightailed it out of Mojave and headed toward the Grand Canyon.
I rented us a Glamp Tent for the night in the middle of the desert near Williams Arizona, with no running water, and only an outhouse nearby to use. The roads to the site were rough, and if you had a low frame vehicle, you were pretty much screwed with the muddy dips, and uneven, rocky, dirt road. The only power was solar, and a propane heater, and a fire pit outside the tent for grilling. The temperatures dropped to the 30's at night, however we layered on the sleeping bags and blankets, and I wore my wool shirt, leggings, and socks. Marlin heard his first pack of coyotes howling at sunset. It was amazing. He growled a little, but then pretty much stayed quiet and slept between us the whole night. I think he understood that he didn't stand a chance against a pack of hungry coyotes. It was pretty cold that night if you left any appendage or nose hanging out of the sleeping bag, however the stay was well worth it. Most of the reviews were positive, although some were negative about the cold or provisions, however when I think about it, those people were just pansies and were properly warned ahead of time of what to expect and probably wouldn't fair well at a Jellystone park.
The next morning we packed up early, and headed to town for some coffee, and then to the Grand Canyon south rim. We wanted to beat traffic after learning how long these vehicle lines can get at National Parks out west. The coffee was terrible, undrinkable gas station coffee. When we entered the park, we saw deer, and what I thought were moose. Since we were on a tight schedule, we decided to check out Mather Point. Only a short walk from the parking lot, scenic vistas, everything we needed to see the Grand Canyon on short time, and get back on the road.
We arrived just as the park was opening, and there was barely a line, but it was ah-coming! We followed the road to Mather's Point, and parked the car, and soon we were on the trail to see the Grand Canyon, with Marlin. It was a paved pathway. Nobody said a word about him, in fact, many people wanted to pet him, and give him love to which he was in the mood for some affection. The view was mind blowing! Marlin was blown away! I mean, the land was flat, until it wasn't. When the path opened up to this massive hole in the ground, Marlin looked stunned and just stared beyond the chain linked fence, I quickly snapped photos of him examining the views.
After we took in the breathtaking views, we left to get back on the road, but not before stopping at a starbucks for another coffee, to get a proper caffeine fix, which took about 45 minutes of standing in line. Why do we do this? I usually make my own coffee, but really, only in this rare circumstance would I stand for 45 minutes for a coffee, and even so, my partner thought I went missing and assumed he would have to wait another 23 hours until he could report my disappearnce to the authorities over a cup of coffee.
Let's move on...
About 37 miles east of Flagstaff is Meteor Crater.
It's a natural meteor impact site that is privately owned. You can view this for $20, and I do recommend viewing this, because how often does one get to view a meteor impact site? Rarely! That's right! Because there isn't many! The downside to this particular one is that dogs cannot go inside. They do have a dog corral, however it was closed due to covid. The road there and back has many beautiful opportunities to pull off and take some cool photos.
When we were driving through New Mexico, we found a nice exit with a hiking trail perfect for Marlin. The El Malpais Visitor Center has really nice restrooms, a gift shop, and hiking trails around the volcanic landscape. Just watch out for rattlesnakes.
After staying in a glamping tent with no shower, I definitely needed something a bit more luxe, and keeping with the theme of dog friendly accomodations with kitchenettes, we stayed at Las Palomas in Santa Fe New Mexico in a beautiful boutique hotel with a kitchenette, and a wood burning fireplace.
This hotel was only a few blocks from downtown historic Santa Fe, and they offered complimentary bistro coffees of your choice, made to order, and a delicious breakfast brought to your door of lox bagels, with yogurt, granola, and berries. Marlin even had a puppaccino made to order. No weight restrictions on dogs, and $25.00 per pet, per night.
We ordered carry out from The Shed, which was rated one of the best restaurants in Santa Fe by yelp. The Shed makes traditional Santa Fe Enchiladas and Pozole. My partner had "Green style" and I had "Christmas" enchiladas.
One of the neatest things we encountered was the statue of St. Francis of Assisi at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe. St. Francis of Assisi is known as the Patron of Ecology, or a better way to describe him, the Saint of Wildlife because he used to preach sermons to wildlife, and they would listen. Also at this church is the statue of the first Native American Catholic Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha who was canonized in October 21, 2012.
Santa Fe was very beautiful, and we did drink a lot of their fabulous coffee.
Our next stop: Kansas
To Be Continued...
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