Seeing as it had been a whole month since our last trip, the BF and I were eager for another adventure. Instead of flying during the holiday season, we opted to take a quick road trip through Utah, Arizona, and back to Vegas.
We’ve experienced our fair share of road trips in that region, but oddly enough there is quite a lot to see in the American Southwest. Instead of driving to our destination and taking the same way back, we decided to make a loop.
From Vegas we drove through St. George, which aside from the rock formations was pretty unremarkable. From there we went to Colorado City, AZ. Welcome to creepy town. For those of you who don’t know, the small patch of road known as Colorado City, AZ is most famous for its large number of families who practice polygamy. I knew this ahead of time as I was an avid fan of the show 20/20 as a child. However, I wasn’t expecting to really see anything.
Boy was I wrong.
Driving through the streets of the city, we saw legions of children running around dressed like they were from the 1800s. It wasn’t something we could capture on film easily as we didn’t want to look like child molesters. After a few minutes of looking around town, we quickly headed for the highway towards the long stretch to Flagstaff.
When I was a kid, I visited Flagstaff in the summer time. So going back as an adult, I was expecting to see just another desert town. What I failed to realize was that Flagstaff is a fairly highly elevated city, and it snows there in the winter. I was not prepared to handle the snow in my little C230 but we managed.
We didn’t plan far ahead for this trip so I wasn’t able to find a nice hotel in time. I settled on the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff after reading some quirky reviews on it. Little America was not our cup of tea, but it was certainly entertaining. Our room was HUGE and so was the bathroom. The decor resembled something a grandma would put together, but it was more comical than anything.
We checked in during the evening and I was feeling a bit under the weather so I retired early and spent the night watching a deadliest catch marathon.
The next morning was Christmas morning, and the hotel was holding a champagne brunch for which we had received a coupon for when we checked in. We discovered though that the brunch was $75/person so in true cheap road trip fashion we said “screw it” and took off in the car.
We settled on an iHop-like restaurant and after we had our fill of waffles and pancakes, we set out for Vegas once more. The ride back home during a road trip is always tough. In some ways, you’re anxious to get home but on the other side of the coin you don’t really want your vacation to end. By the time we rolled out of Flagstaff I was feeling a good mix of both. The way back was long and included many, many hours of cell phone and radio dead zones. The Southwestern United States is an interesting part of the country. It is sparsely populated compared to the coasts, but offers a brand of Americana that is unique and specific to the region. For the BF and I, who both live very much in the 21st century, stopping in the old towns that dot the old path of Route 66 gave us a glimpse into a sort of lifestyle that died out decades ago. As our generation barrels forward into the digital age, tiny towns roadside towns will seem more and more foreign to us. But in reality, these towns had their heyday not but 50 years ago. So given all that, BF and I decided to stop in Seligman and Chloride Arizona despite our road weariness. Driving through the graveled streets of Chloride (named for a nearby Chloride mine), we saw a general store and a post office built from unfinished wooden planks – in the architectural theme I could only describe as “Old West”. Seligman was a little bit more vibrant, with some gas stations that were still functioning and an array of shops selling anything from jams to jerky.Though it added time to our journey back and we weren’t able to return home until dark it was worth getting the peak into a way of life that is all but dead to most of us.
Farewell Southwest. I’ll never forget you.