11 years ago today, Day 76

“I just noticed that the last few days I’ve been writing 10 instead of 11 in the date.  Wishful thinking or the heat confusing me?”

“I was about three miles down the road when I suddenly realized that a) I hadn’t made a note of the car’s odometer number this morning (as I had been every morning since I’d left home) and b) I couldn’t find my journal.  Panic ensued.  I drove back to the motel and there it was, sitting on the dresser in the room I’d just vacated.  Scared the crap out of me.  After all, it’s only two and a half months of my life in there…”

After I rescued my journal, I headed west out of town again, to Tonto National Monument, which, of course, is more cliff dwellings, as well as desert views and lots of saguaro cactus:

I don’t ever remember seeing saguaro cactus in person before

The reservoir in the distance is Lake Roosevelt, part of Phoenix’s water supply

Cliff dwellings

Up close

And again

Another view from the cliff dwellings

Tonto National Monument is up on a hill, actually in sort of a canyon (kind of hard to have cliff dwellings without a cliff, after all).  There was a nice little visitor center with an interesting video telling the story of the place, and a ranger that reminded me very strongly of a friend back in Tacoma.

The half-mile trail to the cliff dwellings themselves gained 350 vertical feet in that distance.  Which isn’t much except in 90dF+ temperatures and sun beaming down like it was August in November.  I drank almost an entire bottle of water out there.  “In spite of the enormous difference in scenery and the fact that I only met four people on the trail instead of hundreds, it reminded me a lot of the trail up to Clingman’s Dome in the Smokies,” too.

After I left the monument, I drove back to the main highway towards the little town of Miami, where I got gas and asked the attendant where I could get some good Mexican food.  She directed me to a very crowded restaurant (I think the entire town was eating Sunday dinner there that day) that was excellent.  Shredded beef tacos with homemade shells, rice and beans and sopapillas for dessert again.  By the time I was through I was so stuffed that I didn’t bother with supper that day.

After I waddled out, I headed west over the Superstition Mountains to Phoenix, and spent as much time crossing Phoenix to the motel near a museum I planned to visit the next day as I did driving from Globe in the first place.  Then I settled down in the air conditioning and read my Sunday paper (an Arizona Republic).

“I have to say that Phoenix is way too much like Southern California.”  I grew up in Southern California.  This is not a compliment.  And the desert was starting to get a bit old, too.  I was really looking forward to the Sierra Nevadas in a couple of days.