Phoenix to Gallup

I picked up my friend Seasi from the Phoenix airport on Sunday. We’ve been friends for around twenty-five years.

We spent a too-brief two and a half days staying at a timeshare she’s got. Spacious, views, hot tub. What more could we have needed? In that time, we hit a thrift store, visited the botanical garden, walked a l-o-n-g loop around Papago Park, watched a few videos, and hit the hot tub repeatedly.

Golden barrel cactus
Golden barrel cactus


Sundial with cacti
Sundial with cacti

This morning I left before nine, wrestling my way through busy streets full of bargain shoppers and people returning gifts. Finally, I was on HWY 87 headed toward Payson.

I crossed the Verde River, her banks lined with cottonwoods still covered in golden leaves. Up through a saguaro forest and into the hills and mountains.  Saguaros with snow-capped mountains in the background.

The first “town” I came to was Sunflower – a scattering of houses and one business: a towing and topless place. What, they tow topless? Something to ponder.

On through Payson and into snow. First it was highway with patches of icy snow and slush, but it soon became icy snow and slush with patches of highway. My 65 mph cruise dropped to 30 and even less. Snow along the road was shoulder high at times.


Then, out onto high desert grasslands with absolutely nothing in sight other than cattle having lunch. I got to Winslow where I lunched in the Turquoise Room at the La Posada Hotel, a famous, gracious Fred Harvey hotel located on the old Route 66. I had the Signature soup and salad, and all I can say is – wow.

The Turquoise Room - isn't turquoise.
The Turquoise Room – isn’t turquoise. I had the signature soup and salad combo and all I can say is wow.

The cornbread served with lunch was drizzled with mesquite bean syrup.


I considered staying in Winslow for the night just so I could return and try the Route 66 Cadillac Margarita.



Rather than stay, though, I headed a bit east and visited the Homolovi (huh-MOE-luh vee) Ruins, an ancient Hopi village. The area is only partly excavated, and in one place I stepped on what appeared to be an exposed wall. The Little Colorado River was nearby, but I didn’t go riverside.


Why I didn't go to the river.
Why I didn’t go to the river.

I wanted to stay, but a) it was chilly (upper 40s), b) there was a fierce wind coming from the southwest, and c) snow clouds were blowing in on those fierce winds. In the fifteen or so minutes I wandered through one site, the clouds came maybe ten or fifteen miles closer. I headed east.

I ended up in a motel on Old Route 66 in Gallup. There were fancier – and more expensive – places to stay, but the place I got is comfy, warm, and has a fridge, coffeepot, and microwave.

I settled in with a bag of Trader Joe’s popcorn and a glass of wine.


Published by Emilie

I'm a retired instructor from a community college where I taught Developmental English and Reading as well as English as a Second Language. I'm also now a published author of a bilingual children's book entitled. Luisa the Green Sea Turtle - Luisa la Tortuga Verde del Mar. It's available from me, through Amazon, and is in a few (more and more each day!) bookstores.

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  1. The topless place in Sunflower is just an advertisement for a topless bar in Payson. You can, though, get your car towed there. I know both pieces of information not from personal experience, mind you, but on good authority.

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