Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for 66, U.S. Highway, Arizona, 1972

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

On Route 66 ~ January 1972

Don McLean ~ Miss American Pie                                                     

A few months before the Eagles took it easy, standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, after having seven women on their minds, or whatever they were up to in that song, my new friend John and I drove cross country to a different tune. In January 1972, there was only one song on every radio station across the country:

Can't remember if I cried, 
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside, 
The day the music died.

So bye, bye, Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee 
but the levee was dry

Our mode of cross country transportation 

I believe we picked up Route 66 somewhere in the Ozarks, after spending time in St. Louis. We spent a night in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and then drove to Oklahoma City, where we stopped so I could visit a girlfriend I met in Jackson Hole. I will talk about our trip through the Texas Panhandle tomorrow, so the posts will be out of travel order. John was in a hurry to get back to California, he probably had a job waiting for him, so we jammed through New Mexico pretty fast. 

We stopped on a Navajo reservation and I got kisses from a very cute and friendly puppy. And, in case you wondered, those were the only kisses I got the entire trip. 

Arizona is stunningly beautiful and I'm so glad to have traveled through the state on Route 66 before it became just another historic landmark, with its roadside coffee shops and motels dying from lack of business. We saw fabulous scenery  and interesting places in the the northern part of the state. Highway 66 took us through some of the Painted Desert, which was just gorgeous -- the picture above is old and faded and doesn't do it justice. 

Next to the Painted Desert was the Petrified Forest National Park, where we took a side trip to see fossils of fallen trees that actually lived about 225 million years ago. It was a bit difficult for me to wrap my mind around how incredibly old those tree stumps were.

 The Meteor Crater as seen from an airplane

Meteor crater

After Winslow, we stopped again to see the Meteor Crater, another fascinating experience. Situated in the high desert at about 5,700 ft (1,740 m), the crater is some 4,000 ft (1,200 m) in diameter and 570 ft (170 m) deep. This according to Wikipedia. Huge in other words. I'm glad I saw the crater; it made a very strong impression on me, both because of its sheer size, but also because this time, as opposed to the tree stumps, I could imagine. And pretty scary it got as I imagined the impact of such a large object landing on our earth ~ the force of it.

Then it was on to Flagstaff, a town that both John and I fell in love with. At that time it was quirky and different from what we expected. Walking down a street, for example, we heard some fabulous jazz drifting out from a bar. Live music of a kind you might hear played in New York or Chicago, but this was Flagstaff. And it gave me chills, it was so beautiful and so out of place. Here are a few pictures:

Taking pictures of our shadows

Here we found two abandoned empty bottles of Boone's Farm wine. The most popular cheap wine of the 1960s. We just had to take a picture.

John taking pictures of the Mojave Desert in California

After Flagstaff, we drove to Kingman, where I believe we spent the night. The next day, we were in California and our ways parted in Barstow. I took a bus from there to San Diego, my destination; while John drove on to his home in Sacramento.

John and I remained friends for several years, then we lost touch. We returned to Flagstaff and went camping at the Grand Canyon some years later. I also visited him in Sacramento and he took me on a fun trip to Truckee and Lake Tahoe. I hope John has had a good life, he was a truly good guy. 

Source: Wikipedia for information and photos other than mine.


  1. There are so many amazing places I have yet to see on this earth. This post is a huge reminder of that. I am fascinated with that crater and the petrified forest.
    I really like the faded photo through the painted desert,I like the muted tones of it.

  2. What a wonderful trip and it seems you had the perfect partner. I am a huge VW bug lover and really liked your transportation.
    So many things you mentioned brought back the 60's for me. Thanks for taking us along.

  3. My husband and I made this trip along Route 66 in 2008. The trouble with doing this when older is that we always had some kind of schedule to meet and so missed out on exploring some of the fascinating sites you visited. We did, however, love Flagstaff -- and spent the night there!

  4. These are great pictures. What a memorable trip. That crater is something, isn't it? And puppy kisses are some of the best kinds :-)

    Jenny at Choice City Native

  5. Interesting road trip. I think everyone should have a long one at least once in their lifetime.

  6. what a cool road trip! you made me smile with the boone's farm wine bottles - my sis used to drink that very cheap stuff as a 'new adult'. :)

  7. ah, the traveling adventures!!! I knew you would showing us the ionic Rt. 66 - the way its supposed to be remembered! Hwy 212 up here is what the old route used to be - we take this road back and forth to Wisconsin, picking it up in Minnesota and it runs due north of us about an hour and half's drive...I call them old cowboy motels, cafes, little towns that the interstate didnt go through - but you just showed me that I should take pictures before this all dies off one day...

    and im sure John thinks of you the way you think of him - i hope you two can have a reunion again one day!

  8. I enjoyed your trip 'back in the day'! I too, traveled 66 before the commercialism hit. Beauty for anyone to behold,, not sure.

  9. Love your old photos of that memorable trip on route 66!

  10. I love that song and will have it in my head all day now, no doubt. Love the puppy kisses and the empty bottles of Boone's Farm. I remember drinking Boone's Farm in college when I apparently had absolutely no taste haha.

  11. I really like these photos of you from the past. i like seeing you way back when. and i do remember that song and that every other car on the road back then was a VW bug.. i would so love to see AZ

  12. WOW Inger I am totally loving the nostalgia of your road trips . John sounds like a good guy to have traveled with. I love the feeling and vibe you conveyed in this post too ... so cool Route 66 and you!

  13. Hi Inger - I too am loving the nostalgia and seeing some of the places along the way - petrified forests are amazing aren't they .. and the meteor crater - just imagine - but we can't ...

    Route 66 - I always wanted to visit and ride along ..

    Cheers Hilary

  14. What a trip you had! We may try to visit Winslow in June.

    Hard to believe the force that meteor had to create such a crater!

  15. You pretty young thing. I still have my American Pie album. We stopped at the Petrified Forest once when I was in elementary school. No one told me what it was, so I didn't know why we were there. Obviously, puppies have always loved you.


  16. Oh Inger that is my favourite song I was in high school at the time not out having fun like you. You are making everyone jealous that lives in the country and have probably never experienced it like you have. I wish I was in the USA so I can see these places that a beautiful and I mean beautiful young girl explored when she came to live.To see the country you are going to live this way is awesome. Glad to hear they were the only kisses:)
    Hug B

  17. A friend who has lived in Arizona also says it's the most beautiful place she's ever been. I haven't been there, but New Mexico stole my heart. It's called the land of enchantment for a reason.

  18. Thanks for the ride--I am SO enjoying this trip!!

  19. I SO enjoy your 'journey' Inger! You were very fortunate to have traveled the classic 'Route 66'. Great memories!!

  20. I am totally awe struck that you've been on Route 66. It's like something from the movies in my mind. Thinking back about old friends makes me feel sad. There are people who I once knew who I hope are having good lives.

  21. Hey, Inger, we have a Route 66 here in CT that's only a few miles from our house!...:)JP

  22. That part of the US is so different fom the rest of the country and is wonderous to travel through. We went through it about 10 years ago, and I think my most used words were ooh and ahh.

    I am really enjoying reading your A to Z posts.

  23. Thank you, Inger for clarifying about the kisses. That was unexpected and funny. Roland answered you on my blog,if you have time to check his comment.

    Route 66 - that was probably the perfect time to travel the road made famous by a generation. Traveling cross-country gives you a whole new perspective on the US.

  24. What a great trip down memory lane..or in this case Route 66.

  25. Nu har jag läst ikapp dina inlägg jag missat. Så intressant, coola bilder.
    Hade varit kul o prata med dig...inget Skype ännu :-)
    Varit trött om kvällarna att läsa.
    Tyra vankar av o an idag och det är nog inte långt kvar tills det sätter igång. Inom 24 tim borde de små liven vara ute. Idag är ju 63e dagen

  26. Route 66 ~ cheap wine ~ kisses from doggies that's all 'wink wink' and a true friend with John.

    I can feel the desert and the music sifting into the air.



  27. I enjoyed this leg of your travels, Inger. I was married in January 1972, and remember the references very well...had to laugh at Boone's Farm. It was popular, you're so right! And I currently work on one of the stretches of Route 66. I am sure you were quite amazed at the Arizona desert, being newly transplanted to the United States. Quite a different terrain, but the beauty of the desert wasn't lost on you! :-)

  28. What wonderful memories. Things sure have changed. I've been blogging about Arizona and it's really cool to see your vintage photos.
    Rita at Tattered Past


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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