The Oracle of Apollo Snippets from the life of Apollo Lee

Dec 01, 2008 - 22:12

Friends, Play, Travel

Road Trip to Arizona

Four days off for Thanksgiving! That seems like an excellent opportunity to get out of dodge. I decided to drive down to Southern California, pick up my friend, and take a short road trip to Phoenix and Flagstaff. Might as well see some new country, right?

On Thursday, I took off bright an early in the morning. By the time I got over the grapevine, it was wearing into the afternoon. Traffic was mostly light down the I5. I averaged 65 mph on the freeway, which enabled me to get more than 34 mpg in my new car. Nice! But, all was not smiles and happiness. In Pomona, as I stopped to refill, I notice that the GPS unit I carry had lost satellite connection in the tunnel from I5 to 210E. I placed the GPS on the gas pump while I refilled the Vibe and drove off without out. I realized this about two miles up the freeway, spun around and raced to retrieve the $300 GPS unit. Yeah, you guessed it. It was long gone. Oh, well.

Traffic slowed through the northern and eastern suburbs of LA, but I made decent enough time to arrive at my friend’s house by about 8. We had a hotel reservation in Phoenix, though, 250 miles away. We arrived about 1:30 in the morning.

Phoenix is a beautiful city, although we lucked out. It was 65° outside. After fantastic Cypriot lunch, we trudged north along I17, stopping for a while to explore Montezuma’s Castle National Monument before continuing on to Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is a gorgeous college town, with a picturesque downtown. It was very cold when we got there, but Flagstaff is situated at 7000 feet above sea level. After bar hopping in the evening, I played a mix session in the morning and we headed up to the Museum of Northern Arizona to check out the Hopi pottery and Sickle-Claw Dinosaur. We were in the area, so we might as well stop by Lowell Observatory. Lowell was the discovery site of many important phenomena, including Pluto (and its atmosphere and moons), galactic red-shift phenomenon (expanding universe), and the rings of Uranus. Looking at that gigantic 24 inch Clark telescope was amazing. I hope to return to Lowell someday when it’s dark and take a peek through that 100 year old telescope.

After we left Flagstaff, we cruised through the western suburbs of Phoenix again and headed for the Space Age Diner in Gila Bend, Arizona. Greeted by a large mural of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Original Series, we ordered up standard diner fare to fuel us for the push back to the dusty Salton Sea area.

On Sunday, it was time for me to head back to Northern California. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. From Indio to Palm Springs, there are 18 miles of I-10. That stretch of road took almost 4 hours to pass. In the Central Valley, 50 miles of road required just under 3 hours in dense fog. Eventually, at 2:30 in the morning, I made it home, after nearly 15 hours on the road. Four hours of sleep before work? Bring it on.

Taking a road trip in my new car was a lot of fun. Now, I’m itchy to hit the road again. I’d better find myself an iPod adaptor (or new deck) for my car first, though.

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