Friday, August 26, 2016

Road Trip to Arizona and Nevada with My Mama

A couple weeks ago my mom and I took a road trip starting in the Bay Area and passing through some of the most beautiful deserts and mountains in the Western US. We needed to clean out a storage unit (of unknown contents) that my grandmother had in Flagstaff, as well as take care of some of her affairs there, so we decided to make an adventure of it and take the scenic route. Here are some highlights:

The Colorado River appears like an oasis along the California-Arizona state line, with the Needles mountains in the background.

My grandmother owned an apartment building in Flagstaff and at some point the property manager commissioned a local artist to paint a mural to ward off vandalization. I love the imagery and colors.

So far the mural strategy has worked, because there is no tagging and people have respected the art.

Here is the storage unit we had to clean out. My mom was hoping it would be empty (fat chance knowing what a packrat my grandmother was!) and I was expecting it to be full...but not exactly *this* full. What a nightmare. Stuff was all jumbled up, in various states of damage (there had been water, bats, and rats in the unit at some point from the looks of things), and most of it wasn't "worth" hanging onto in the first place. Happily we did find a few family treasures, and there were a lot of throwback items to my mom's childhood...but mostly it was books and old clothes and a lot of junk. My mom and I spent a lot of time sorting what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. Sadly in the end the charity shop rejected the donation pile so everything we didn't keep went into the landfill. What a lesson...

At least we got in some quality outdoor time while in Flagstaff. There was a walking path right outside our hotel room that crossed through ponderosa pine forests and open meadows full of wildflowers and lava rocks. Beautiful!

There's nothing quite like the clear air of the mountains. Big sky, sunshine, and the afternoon monsoon. Made me miss my homeland of New Mexico (although I'll be there next month for a visit, yay!)

On the way from Flagstaff to Tonopah, Nevada we passed by the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Really stunning scenery to see that big body of water amid such an arid landscape.

We walked across a highway bridge to get a view of the dam, which was worth it despite the 106 degree weather and strong winds.

A convenience store and rest stop in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. There was a brothel behind this building, by the way. No big deal, business as usual!

In Tonopah we stayed at the (supposedly haunted) Mizpah Hotel. I didn't experience any ghost encounters but the place was definitely like being in a time warp.

I had fun sketching one of the big chandeliers in the lounge while waiting for our dinner.

From Nevada we crossed back into California and drove on some very hilly highways and over some major mountain summits. It was a massively scenic stretch, including Mono Lake (above) and Monitor Pass (below).

It was a long, hot, tiring but fun trip. Definitely the kind that is better with company, and I'm happy to report that my mom is an excellent road trip companion. Maybe we'll do another one next year (although without the storage unit!!).


sara said...

beautiful pics and great time with your mum.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

What a great idea to make a trip of it. So sad about having to toss almost everything :(