The wind died down by morning when we left Holbrook. Instead of taking Rt. 40 west to Route 17 south, two major highways, and therefore a safer, but longer, drive; we opted for a shorter, steep, through the mountains, albeit beautiful scenery, but scare-the-pants-off-you two lane highway, 'cause that's the way we roll!
Holbrook is near the Petrified National Forest, so there were many tourist shops in town selling petrified rocks. Petrified meaning a LONG time ago, so of course, we're talking dinosaurs. Lot's of dinosaurs.
The drive started out flat just to fool me. Wide open spaces - yellow against blue sky. Actually quite beautiful, I think, because yellow and blue are my favorite colors!
I saw this sign,
and found out that for the last 52 years, there has been an actual Pony Express that takes place every January . It is 200 miles long and runs from Holbrook to Payson, AZ. Each cowboy rides one mile at full steam. That's a LOT of riders. They start from both towns. You could actually purchase an envelope ($1), write a letter, and then have it HAND STAMPED that it was delivered via Pony Express! Isn't that cool? Jim and I are definitely going to look into this! Oh, and in March all the riders are in the "Prada del Sol", Parade of the Sun, held in Scottsdale. We're talking lots of horses. Last time we attended there was over 1,000 horses!
Another sign I saw -
Doesn't this look like a mirage in the middle of the desert?
The scenery started to change as we entered the Sitgreaves National Forest.
I was enjoying the scenery and the road was going up and down just a little. Then the hills started getting steeper. And what goes up MUST COME DOWN.
We started seeing signs like this:
and my favorite
Danger - curves ahead!
You like that? How about this one?
See? I told you. Dangerous. Looks like a roll-over.
Look at the tall pines on top of these red rocks!
Pretty soon we were out of the forest and into the desert area. We were getting closer to our winter home. I was surprised to see some yellow wildflowers still out on the mountainside. Didn't they know that it was just about November?
I spot my first saguaro cactus and know that we are almost home!
More saguaros can't be too far behind. Yep. They number in the thousands!
My favorite mountain in the area - Red Mountain
Pretty soon we're tooling down the highway towards our exit.
And finally, I see the palm trees that line our resort and the HUGE American flag.
We are home. For the winter, anyway!