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James R. Stout

Day 2 of My 2019 Big Adventure

            It’s nearing the end of Day 2 on this big adventure. I started out in Clovis, New Mexico and it was 52 degrees. Brrrr. By the time I got into Arizona it was 92 degrees. I had another great day today. I must admit that I’m glad to have New Mexico in my rearview mirror for now. There’s sumpin’ wrong with some of them New Mexicans. Before I left Clovis this morning, I stopped at a little convenience store to get some ice for my cooler. Some of them aliens from Roswell must a got loose. This one kid was tall and skinny, but how he stays that way with the stuff he bought to eat for “breakfast” beats me. Two 32 oz. bottles of some kind of fruit concoction drink, a greasy sausage and biscuit made right there on the original greasy flat grill (I am not sure it’s ever been cleaned from the way it looked), a jumbo package of Sour Cream and Onions flavored Lay’s, and a box of mini Chips Ahoy cookies. I completely lost my appetite at that point. I didn’t eat my beef sticks for a couple of hours! Then there was this guy who came into the store wearing a t-shirt that said “Rugged”. He had tattoos on his arms and he was wearing a cap that had a roaring bear on it. He bought a banana. That’s all. Just a banana. Then this “rugged and roaring bear” went out and got into his newish Honda Accord. I figured he would be on a motorcycle or driving a 1956 International Scout that had never been washed.

            I left at 6:03 this morning. The original plan was to spend the night in Gallup, NM, but that flew out the window when I got there by 10:30. I drove on and went for the 28-mile scenic drive through the Painted Desert and the Petrified National Forest. Fantastic scenery. There were all these turnouts and lookout points and I probably stopped at 90% of them. I met a guy from Vermont who was there with a lady (not sure if she was his mother or wife). The lady didn’t ever get out of the car. He told me she was sure proud of her purple Tesla. If she ever drives it in freezing weather, then it might be mistaken for a grape popsicle. There was quite a collection of petrified wood in the park. Some of it was huge. One tree had an 11-foot diameter at the base. Now, the truly odd thing was they get really rabid at the park about people taking some of the petrified wood. I can understand that completely. But they inspected my truck when I left the park to make sure I didn’t pull an Atlas (you know, the guy who held the world on his shoulders?) and pick up one of those big pieces of petrified wood and try to sneak it out of the park. I drove out and about 10 miles down the road there was a place called “Petrified Wood Company”. It was a huge facility where they sell petrified wood. I kid you not when I tell you that they had more petrified wood than I saw in the park! Hey, and it was all cleaned and polished up instead of being dirty like the stuff in the park.

            Well, I saw that I could easily make it to Flagstaff, AZ by 4:00, so I set my sights on that has my destination. The only detour I took was to go stand on a corner in Winslow. Arizona. Sadly, there was nobody with me to take a picture of the event. I pulled into the hotel here about 4:20 and checked in and took a short nap. I just got back from eating dinner and now I’m talking to you. I said I wouldn’t do it, but doggone if I didn’t drive another 500 miles today. Tomorrow I plan on getting to Lone Pine, CA. I haven’t decided which route I’ll take. I would prefer to not go through Las Vegas, but according to Google Maps, going that way is the quickest. I guess I’ll decide in the morning. Lone Pine is an area that I have long wanted to visit. Many of my all-time favorite movies were filmed there. Movies such as “Bad Day at Black Rock”, several John Wayne movies, and most of Randolph Scott’s westerns were filmed there. There’s a 22-mile drive that goes out of Lone Pine west and takes you to where a lot of the scenery was filmed for those movies. You bet I’ll be driving that drive!

            Well, I guess I’ll say goodnight now. I hope your day was just a fraction as good as mine was. I’m enjoying this adventure. I kind of wish I had someone along with me, but that’s the breaks. However, I’m flying my oldest granddaughter out to Sacramento next Monday and me and my cousins will be taking her to see the Golden Gate Bridge and some of the Sequoia’s. Then she’s going to ride back home with me for a week and we’re going to go to several national parks. I think she’s going to have a blast and it should be a treasured memory for her when she gets my age and remembers her Paw-Paw.

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