Day seven dawned and we skipped the free continental breakfast in favor of getting an earlier start. We got coffee and a breakfast sandwich on the road and drove to Farmington, NM where we stopped at a real restaurant and ordered a real breakfast with unscrambled eggs (over easy, thank you). And then it was back on the road, heading west through the New Mexico landscape to Shiprock, New Mexico.
From the city you can see the geological formation from which the town got its name. The 1700 foot rock sticking out of the surrounding plain is actually an eroded volcanic plume. We have driven past the plume a few times. but have never left the paved highway to drive closer. Perhaps next time we will drive down the dirt road to get a closer view.
From Shiprock we drove west, across the Arizona state line, and headed through increasingly beautiful countryside towards the Grand Canyon. I had wanted to stop at the Grand Canyon last year on our drive home, but Cindy’s attitude at the time was “been there, done that.” Well, for me the fact that I had been there twenty-five years earlier on our honeymoon didn’t matter. A place of beauty is worth revisiting in my book. Also, I had never seen the canyon from the North Rim. But it was not to be.
This year, however, Cindy decided that we should see the canyon again. When we reached the fork in the road where you had to decide right for North Rim or left for South Rim, Cindy chose south…or left in her case. The left turn took us closer to our route to Las Vegas, so I understood, but in actuality she thought we were going towards the rim we hadn’t seen. Cindy often says, “Don’t talk to me about north, south, east or west; just tell me left or right or forwards or back. It was obviously my mistake.
We were about ten miles from the entrance to the park when Cindy got a phone call. The call was from her friend who was going to our house to water the plants in our absence. She told us that the ground floor of our house was covered with water. The water had also gone down the stairs to the basement, and through the floor boards into the basement. And thus, the nightmare portion of our vacation began.
Cindy called Trina and asked her to go to our house to look things over, since she is often the voice of reason. There was little we could do from Arizona, so we continued on into the park where we marveled at the beauty and took many pictures, though I doubt if we smiled. I found myself getting testy with some of the younger tourists who were climbing out onto areas where they should not have been. Where is a park ranger when you need one?
Here in the midwest we often see warning signage proclaiming a cattle crossing or deer crossing. Out west you see those signs along with elk crossing, and occasionally bear crossing. In the park, for the first time in our lives we saw one that warned of possible mountain lion crossing. We joked about it, especially when we saw in people in an open-topped convertible driving into that area. Cindy opined that they were crazy to be inviting a mountain lion to pounce. She was only half joking.
We cut our visit short and headed south towards Williams, Arizona where we planned on getting a room for the night. As we were leaving the park, the third instance of not getting a picture of an animal occurred. Without a picture to study, I’m not sure if we saw a female elk or a horse. Call it bad eyesight on my part.
It started raining on the drive south. That is not a metaphor about what happened in our house. At one point Cindy looked out of the car’s side window and saw a rainbow. She pulled over to take a picture of it. It was still too early for me to take the rainbow as a sign for our future.
We arrived in Williams and drove around a bit, searching for a hotel. Even the cheap-o motels had prices saltier than we had been paying for much nicer accomodations. We stopped at a hotel to get something to eat in their restaurant and perhaps get a room. While we were eating Cindy started getting more phone calls about our home’s deluge. Trina called to say that she and her husband, JR, were moving as much furniture as they could from the house and into the garage. Further, they had contacted a company to come out to start the clean-up process. JR was upset because he said their commercials guaranteed they would be there in three minutes and it had already been longer than that.
The people back home were starting to speculate that our problems were caused by a storm that had hit Lafayette on Friday night. It seemed that our problem was caused by the city’s sewer system that couldn’t handle the downpour, and it had backed up into our house though the ground floor bathroom.
By the time those phone calls were completed, neither Cindy nor I had any appetite left. I couldn’t tell you what I ordered, let alone if it was any good. Also, we were both wide awake, so we decided to drive on to Kingman, Arizona to find a place to sleep. Kingman was about an hour and a half from where we were via an Interstate highway. We didn’t care that it was an Interstate because it was dark and we wouldn’t be able to see the beautiful sights off-road.
We got coffee at McDonald’s and hit the road. Next stop, Kingman.