We left Superior early on Sunday morning after a night of successful boon-docking in a cow pasture--we headed up -17 Norther towards Flagstaff with the plan to hook up to 1-40 and over towards New Mexico. This drive was just fine--1-17 was a bit steep at times, but nothing compared to the pass we crossed getting into Superior. One of the coolest things is to watch the landscape change as we drove--going from succulents and cacti with warm temperatures and bright sunny skies in Phoenix to much cooler temperatures and coniferous forests as we approached Flagstaff was interesting--plus a dramatic elevation change, by the end of the drive, we were all feeling a bit fatigued. We camped Sunday night in Homolovi State Park in Winslow, Arizona and it was a really lovely surprise.
When we pulled into Winslow, we had few expectations--we knew there was a state park here, but that was about it--plus, the winds had been blowing about 40-45 mph for the last 2 hours of the drive, with the trailer moving more than was comfortable for us, so we were ready to quit for the day. Since we had left in the morning at 6am, we only needed to drive for 7 hours before we got in nearly 250 miles--and we pulled into our campground about 3pm. We were both up for a heavy nap, and after an hour in the trailer with the pups and the wind howling, we went for a long walk and then into the town of Winslow, AZ.
Winslow, AZ is a small town. The things it's most famous for are the Eagle's song Take it Easy and the La Posada Hotel. Both of these features are pretty prominent in downtown Winslow. The Take it Easy statue and various lyrics to the song are throughout the area, as well as nods to the original Route 66 that crosses through Winslow. The best part of Winslow, though, by far, was the La Posada Hotel.
Prior to getting to Winslow, we didn't know much at all about the La Posada--we knew there was a destination hotel that had recently been renovated and restored (thank you Airstream Forum), but we had no idea how cool it was until we got there--my mom implored us to visit it and got VERY excited when we were talking on the phone about visiting the hotel--she had worked at the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, also a design by Mary Coulter, so she said we had to visit La Posada. We could not have been more pleased with what we found.
Built in 1927 and finished in 1930, Mary Coulter, one of the few women designers, designed this hotel for Fred Harvey as part of the railroad hotels of the American West. It operated as a hotel for years afterwards, but fell into disrepair in the mid-1930s and then was almost permanently shut down in the 1960s. It was shuttered for nearly 2 decades when a couple from California came onto the scene and purchased it outright and began the painstaking process of refurbishing it and bringing it back to the heyday it had known in the 1940s as a destination stop for railroad travel. Today the hotel is owned by Allen Affeldt and his wife, Tina Mion, a talented artist in residence (I sort of think I'm in love with her work--political, smart, beautiful, in a way a modern Frieda Kahlo) who created many of the works that line the gallery and museum areas of the Hotel. Walking through the hotel on a quiet Sunday evening was honestly like stepping back into time--we both felt intensely as though the hotel had it's own history and its own stories--the owners have done a fantastic job renovating it and making it feel very much like an elegant destination hotel of the mid 1940s and 1950s. The bellhops, desk clerks and waitresses are all dressed in the traditional Fred Harvey black and white and all take their jobs very seriously.
After walking around in awe for an hour or so, we were hungry and decided it was time for a bite--being at the hotel, we opted to eat at the bar---our waitress brought us a custom blood orange margarita and a traditional Old Fashioned along with duck tacos and a locally made hummus. All were wonderful. While we were eating, a local blues musician, Tommy Dukes, came up and started chatting with us--Mr. Dukes was waiting for his friend to arrive on the train (train culture is still a huge thing in Winslow, with the train arriving just outside the door)--he is a blues guitarist who has lived in Winslow most of his life, originally from Mississippi. Actually, when I first say Mr. Dukes, he was in the hotel gift shop, and I said to Ian, "I think that guy is famous--he's wearing a t-shirt with his picture on it"--well, he might not have been super famous, but dn't tell him that--he regaled us with all sorts of stories about Winslow, his travels here, there and everywhere, including a trip to good old Grand Rapids, Michigan in the 1980s and then, right as we were in the midst of a conversation, he saw the train arriving and walked right away to get his friend off the train. Then we took a picture in the lobby and met his neighbor and it was fabulous.
After our evening at La Posada, we headed back to our campground which was pretty much on the barren plains of Arizona--thankfully the wind had died down and we were able to get some work done and call it good for the night. In the morning, we got up pretty early, with Albuquerque as a destination and headed out. Driving to New Mexico was fairly uneventful, though we did take an 18 mile detour to see the Petrified National Park--it's wood....it's rock...it's big...sort of boring after a few minutes, honestly, but we got to use our National Parks pass, which was fun. We pulled into an RV park right outside of Albuquerque in the early evening, had a Thai meal and went to bed pretty early--we were beat and definitely feeling some road burn.
On Tuesday, we headed towards Santa Fe--we wanted to get there fairy early so we could explore a bit of the city and get a feel for what needs to be done prior to our last Pop Up wedding on Tuesday. We were lucky to find a campsite at The Trailer Ranch RV park right on the outskirts of the city and could check in at 11am--we set up camp and then headed to downtown SF. It's been about 15-20 years since either Ian or I had been here, so we had a lot of catching up to do--we walked around for a few hours, had some lunch and then, probably due to the elevation shift, I was dead tired, so we went back to the trailer for some naps, catch up on work and prep for dinner--dinner we ate at a great little Mexican cafe right down the street and stuffed ourselves full of green chiles.
This morning we got up, attempted to go for a hike, got lost on the GPS, got new tires, took Priscilla in to have her brakes looked at (long story involving a loose wire that's hanging down and me being very nervous that we no longer have trailer brakes) and then headed to our rental house for the next 5 days.
THIS. IS. UNREAL.
Seriously. We rented this house about 6 months ago, thinking/hoping that some of our friends would be able to make the trek out and hang with us during this time--unfortunately, tickets to Santa Fe or Albuquerque are sort of the most expensive thing ever, so no one could make it--thus, we have an amazing 5 bedroom house in the mountains with views of the valley for 5 days for the 2 of us. Luckily, we are also hosting the Pop Up wedding here on Friday and the couple is really excited to get married here--I can't blame them--this house is the BEST Airbnb we have ever rented ever....ever. It's so great. We cannot wait to throw the wedding here--just a few pictures below, but they really don't do it justice. The offer still stands-anyone wanting to get to Santa Fe for a few days, come on out, we've got room!
Tonight we are reveling in being stationary, cooking on a full size stove, enjoying a wood burning fireplace and being still for a few minutes. We are both loving this trip and loving Santa Fe, but are also burnt out exhausted from covering as many miles as we have in the past 2 weeks (approximately 2100 since the 23rd), so tonight and tomorrow we will rest with the pups and enjoy the solitude of this amazing spot.