Albuquerque is a beautiful city. After breakfast at LePeeps, a familiar eatery from NJ (we didn’t even realize it was a chain restaurant), Owen and I were tempted to stay another day to ride the cable cars to Sandia Peak. However, with a deadline to make it to Phoenix by the end of the day, we made note to visit Albuquerque in the future instead. Back on the highway, the scenery was both magnificent and eerie as the orange and rose striped mesas at the distance became the backdrop for dilapidated ghost towns along the road.
Entering Navajo country, we stopped at a trading post. The old wooden shack shops stood beneath a large mesa formation that looked like a pink wave frozen over the structures. After browsing through the shops, the kids and I walked over to the huge rocks and found the porous surfaces were more sloped, and given enough time and courage, can be scaled to its peak some 100 feet up. Instead, we settled at the foot of the rock and enjoyed New Mexico’s air before getting back on the road.
We initially planned to stop at the Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater, but the stop at the trading post made for enough time to visit only one of them. After consulting with Rizzy, we passed the Petrified forest and headed for the latter. About 10miles off Rte 40, we crossed a flat expanse and drove up to the science center built off the side of the rim of the crater an hour before closing. For those of you who have seen the movie “Starman” or are not a meteor buff, the crater in Winslow, AZ is a mile wide, 570 ft deep impact crater created by a piece of iron 150 ft wide that hit the ground at 26,000 mph about 50,000 years ago. The impact vaporized the ground and devastated the land much the same way a nuclear bomb does. Visiting the site is a reminder of how trivial our endings can be and how we must pack as much meaning into our days as possible in case we get hit by a chunk of planetary scrap metal while singing a Beyonce song in the shower.
We took the longer route to Phoenix to go through Sedona, a recommendation by friends and family back home. The dry flat landscape disappeared behind the large pine trees that began lining the road that eventually became a drive through a forest. When the trees cleared up, the narrow two lane road turned into a windy route cut along the side of a rock cliff. I could feel the smallness of my humanity and the magnificence of nature. The cars behind me didn’t seem to mind that I was driving extremely slow, often stopping as I had to catch my breath because the road had no railings to keep us from falling off the cliff. Our oohs and ahhs during our initial descend were silenced as both Owen and I could feel our hearts swell and our breaths expand to make up for what our eyes could no longer take in.
We made it to downtown Sedona by sundown. Full of trendy art studios and restaurants we didn’t stop as it would have put us over budget very quickly. Sedona is another future vacation spot when we can manage to afford it. 🙂 In the meantime, we motored down to Phoenix to meet up with DJ KNS and Monica Sante for the weekend…