From a nice campsite to a cheap motel on the second day
I love the shape of these huge Datura flowers.
After packing up the sleeping bag and tent, and putting everything in its place in the car, I talked to the other camper in the campground, an 84-year-old man. I admired his ability to set out at his age and experience the adventure of the road. He said he wanted to do this while he still could, but since his mother lived to be 113 years old, I think he'll be able to travel and camp for a lot longer than most 84-year-old men.
The next town on my big paper AAA map was Globe, and when I got into what looked like the outskirts of town, I pulled over and looked at the map on my GPSr. I didn't see any caches. I thought I loaded them for this section of the highway, but apparently I didn't. So, I opened the laptop, did a quick search for caches in this area, and then hand-entered the coordinates in my GPSr.
The first cache I went after was a Virtual, and the object I was looking for was a train. So, following the arrow on my GPSr, I went up one steep street, then down a narrow one-way street, then I drove up another steep street and back down a different one-way street. It was obvious I couldn't get to the train from that tangle of streets, so I tried another approach up a other narrow streets with small, crowded-together houses that had been built many decades ago.
Someone else would have figured it out sooner than I did — that a train wouldn't be up on that steep hillside — but it took me a while. When I brought up the cache page again, sure enough, I saw I had entered the coordinates incorrectly. Doh!
I was actually glad I made that mistake because I never would have ventured up into that area otherwise and it showed me how other people have to live their lives because of oppressive poverty.
Finally back on the main road, I followed the arrow on my GPSr to my first cache of the day, a micro at a Church's Chicken. There was a great view from the cache location at the top of the steep hill at the edge of town.
In downtown Globe, there were wonderful old buildings built during the mining days in the 1800's and early 1900's. Many of them house antique shops today. It was too early for any of them to be open, so I continued to the Virtual at the train and another Virtual called "God's Alarm Clock."
Highway 60 makes a hard left turn as you drive north out of town and heads up through the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. For miles, the highway rolls along and along, and on my GPSr, there was not a cache in sight. The highway climbs up gradually, and then, when it reaches the Salt River Canyon, a sequence of hairpin turns takes you down, down, down near the bottom of the sandstone-walled canyon.
At the wonderful old bridge, built during the art deco era of the 30s, there was a cache to search for, but first I inspected the beautiful jewelry and crafts offered by the Native American vendors there.
I walked down next to the river, and searched for the cache down there, around the supporting beams of the bridge above. Finally, after giving up the search there, I walked out onto the old bridge and searched there. I had no luck there, but did find two Arizona Highway Department benchmarks which I photographed and marked, in case I want to log them as Waymarks when I return.
At last I got back on the highway, eventually making my way to Show Low, a wonderful town nestled in a pine forest. I found a TB hotel where I took this picture of all of them getting together to share their various experiences.
After going to the library in town to once again log the Trackables I had picked up and dropped off, I went to the Virtual cache at this great sculptures.
There was another long stretch of highway before I arrived in New Mexico. Right at the border, sandstone bluffs occur, and a traveler knows they are in a different State. Right at that border, it looks like New Mexico is supposed to look.
I had a great time in Gallup, looking for several caches placed by one person who highlighted interesting things in town, including the old REX hotel, and the famous El Rancho Motel.
If the sky had not looked so threatening, I would have driven east of town to the State Campground. I really wanted to take a shower, so I found a very inexpensive motel on the east side of town.
When I pulled in, I parked next to a car exactly like mine — same color, same basic model. The owner of that car was just returning from inspecting one of the rooms. He returned the key to the motel owner, and drove away, just as I signed in and got the key for my room.
I'm not proud, the price was right, and I really, really wanted to take a hot shower.