Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Orleans Road Trip - Day 23

The two old buzzards got up at 5:20 a.m. in Silver City in time to be at Off the Hook by 6 for breakfast. Even though the sign said 7 the owner had told us that he would be there by quarter to 6 and open at 6. He was a little late (had to go to the 24-hour Wal Mart in town and get sausages) but we waited around and had a nice breakfast. Still made it out of town by 6:46. Wilma's navigation system showed 6 hours and 8 minutes to Williams, AZ and she didn't even know yet that we were driving 18 extra miles to go in and out of Mogollon (off our Highway 180 route).

Leaving Silver City it was 20 degrees but it warmed up to 25 by the time we went over the Gila River. There was some beautiful smokey-looking condensation coming up off the river so we paused to take a few shots. By 8:06 we reached Glenwood whose motto is “A town you'll never forget!” Apparently CASH BINGO on Saturday nights at the community center is a big deal. We saw 4 or 5 A-frame signs advertising it plus a banner. The building where the bingo is being played says "Senior Center." The Friends of the Morgan Hill Senior Center are going to get BINGO going early in 2012 so we took a few photos. Anybody wanna sign up to be a Bingo Buddy in Morgan Hill on one Tuesday night a month? If so, just click here. http://www.fmhsc.org/bingo.html

At the next small town - Alma “A town you will soon forget” we got off Highway 180 and on to Hwy 159 to go to Mogollon, an old mining community that's now a Historical District and mostly a Ghost Town. One of our first sights was some black cows and their cute calves strolling down the road. Not the side of the road.... the road. We drove slowly until they got out of Wilma's way. Linda took a real short video clip of the cows. What you need to know is that John's remarks were caused by the "herd" all moving to the left side of the road except for one, who got left on the right side of the road. And, at the end, you can hear Fannie Mae's take of the whole situation. You can play it below.

It was truly a long and windy 9-mile road, starting off 2-lane and changing to a scary and sometimes icy one-lane road for the last 5 or so miles. The good news was that there were no other vehicles on the road on the way in. It was a real treat to see all the interesting old buildings and the remote place where some people still live. We only saw one person in the whole place. There was a fellow working who could be seen through a window in a wood shop. Everything (including the woodworking shop) was marked closed. Apparently their season for the museum and coffee, etc. shops is May through October. Actually we were glad because we got to see a lot without having to deal with any traffic on the way in. On our way out there were several vehicles that we had to make way for by scooting over on the one-lane road as we met them. It was the most scarey when we were on the outside of the cliff where we could have careened off into a gulch and just ended up as a rusty piece of “old California mining equipment”.

By 9:51 we were back on Highway 180. There was soon evidence on both sides of the road of the bad forest forest fires that have occurred in Northern Arizona and New Mexico during 2011. By 11:04 we were in Arizona and were still seeing leftovers of forest fires. In some places the trees were completely black. In other places the trunks were black but there were still green branches of needles on the trees.

We stopped in Springerville at a McDonald's for mochas and a rest stop at 11:43. At Holbook we got onto I-40 and saw lots of things that looked familiar from a previous road trip we took to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. We held off stopping for lunch until 1:30 at Joseph City where we got gas and Subways.

Soon we were out onto I-40 again and John was consulting his cartographer (Linda) for the name of the mountain with snow that was becoming very visible in the distance. She was able to find Mt. Humphreys, 12,633 feet – the highest point in Arizona – on her atlas. The top of it was covered with show so it was especially beautiful today.

We arrived in Willams, AZ at 3:49 and made it to our assigned room 107 at Motel 6 by 4:07. Linda noticed right away that the funny Motel 6 bedspreads were back. Eagle eye John noticed that there were clothes and other items obviously belonging to someone who was still occupying the room. Fortunately for all concerned, they weren't at home. We backed up pretty fast and shut the door. John went to the lobby and was reassigned to room 111. Whew! The same funny bedspread but nice and empty. We have never had that happen before. Ever!

When Linda took Fannie for a walk they found a small park with a statue of William Sherley Williams, the early Arizona territory explorer and trapper for whom Williams was named. He was born in 1787 and died in 1849. Doesn't it seem that his parents had a lack of imagination to name him William? But it worked out OK. He ended up with a city, a lake and a mountain named for him. And there's also that nice green statue.

The Pine Country Restaurant is our favorite place for any meal in Williams, so it was great to get to go there for dinner. The old buzzards were both hungry for omelets. Linda got veggies and John got the meat lover's.

There are 77 photos in today's photo gallery. You can view them by clicking here.

Linda's favorite sign of the day was a small one – on a tea bag. It said “You're never too old to become younger” by Mae West 1892 – 1980.

We must be almost home. We are already talking about our next road trip.

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