Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tour of I-55, I-44, and I-40

We just arrived in Prescott, AZ after a road trip of almost 2000 miles.  Our Subaru Forester (which we love) faithfully hummed from Chicago to St Louis to Oklahoma City to Albuquerque to Prescott.  Along the way we had side trips to Santa Fe and through the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert in eastern Arizona.  It was a really good trip.

In St Louis, we visited Ron's brother Tim, his wife Emily, and their son Kyle.  (Sorry we missed Logan, who is hard at work in a summer program at the University of Minnesota, sandwiched in between his internship at the University of Wisconsin.)  It was lovely to catch up with the "St Louis Baileys", see the newly renovated kitchen, play cornhole in the back yard, and share a yummy dinner.  Thanks for being such great hosts!

Next was an overnight in Oklahoma City, which we had never visited before.  We stayed at the Skirvin Hilton, a renovated historic hotel - and it was fabulous!  The hotel was beautiful, perfectly located downtown, and the staff was very friendly and helpful.  For dinner, we took a recommendation from the bellman, and walked over to Graham Elliot's "Red Prime".  The restaurant itself was unexpectedly contemporary in design, and the food (particularly my steak) was perfect.  Not cheap - but a great meal and experience.  We also made time to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, at the site of the bombing of the Murrow Building.  The memorial is well conceived, beautiful, and very moving.  (Photo of one of the gates and the reflecting pool at left.) 

Monday morning, we were off to Albuquerque - a city with which we are fairly familiar, and do enjoy.  There we stayed (2 nights) at the Hampton Inn & Suites Coors Road, near I-40.  Ron and I decided that the room we had wins the prize as the noisiest room ever!  The air conditioning roared, some weird sound from the ceiling above our top floor rumbled loudly, and the shower emitted a high-pitched whine.  The hotel was full, so they couldn't move us.  We had to put on headphones and listen to music to go to sleep.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed our visit which included dinner in Old Town (Church St Cafe) and lunch the next day in Santa Fe (La Casa Sena).

Fairly rested after two nights in the same place, we took off for Prescott.  Along the way, we saw signs for Petrified Forest National Park and decided, "Why not?"  The park has a 28-mile road, along which there are numerous stopping points to enjoy the views and short walks on paved trails.  We were wowed by the Painted Desert (at right), and the large sections of petrified wood from prehistoric fallen logs (in the foreground in the photo below).  The broken logs, now stone and crystal, reminded us of the ruins of pillars at the Forum in Rome. Interesting that one is the remains of what nature created, and the other is from a creation by man.  Both are magnificent. 

Now we're in Prescott, ready to work on our home and enjoy some summer fun at Talking Rock Ranch!

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