|around Page, Arizona|
The distance is 1,421 miles; driving would take 22 hours. It was going to be another fun road trip for Bill and me, saving us plane fare and giving us the freedom to roam the land. On the first day, we had a lunch meeting with a friend, Lealda Vi, in Sedona, Arizona, two and a half hours away from Phoenix. She was with an Australian travel group doing a painting tour of US sights. They had just come from the Grand Canyon’s incredible scenes and were in Sedona to put on canvass its beautiful red rock formations. Then they would proceed to Taos Pueblo, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque in New Mexico.
|lunch at L'Auberge at Sedona|
In Sedona, they were booked at the lovely L’Auberge. The rooms were spread out in rustic cottages on one side of a flowing stream surrounded by verdant trees, thick bushes, and colorful flowers. A patio stretched out between the cottages and the stream, and our table was just beside the waters. We last met when we were both vacationing in Manila in 2009, so our lunch of the famous L’Auberge burger and Dungeness crab salad was peppered with stories of our experiences in our chosen craft. Both having come from the computer field, we had discovered that we had right brains, too!
|Lake Powell in Arizona|
At 3 pm, we resumed our drive. We reckoned that we would drive 8 hours the following day and 7 hours the last day, leaving us 5.5 hours left to drive that day. We would be arriving in Cedar City, Utah by 9 pm with a 30-minute stop. Later, we remembered that Utah is in Mountain Time Zone so that we would be arriving at 10 pm! But we wanted to punish ourselves. Besides, that was the first big city through the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon and the beautiful Lake Powell near Page, Arizona.
|playmates at dusk near Zion National Park|
When daylight receded, as we were passing through the southern part of Zion National Park, we were met with lots of deer crossing. We couldn’t help but stop several times to take pictures, so we reached Cedar City later than we had planned. It was too bad that it took us quite a while before we found the Travelodge Motel (our GPS could not accept the address since the streets had just been renamed). Worse, the reception clerk was not the paragon of customer service suitable for a couple of tired souls.
|at the northeastern tip of Oregon|
But we had a good night’s rest. We love road trips especially when we go through the scenic routes like we did on the first day. But the second day was going to be a very boring drive through American freeways, north on I-15 and west on I-84 to Boise, Idaho. So our eight hours on the second day was a cinch, and we got to the Budget Inn in Boise with enough time to go to a good dinner at the New Star Chinese Restaurant. I had a huge bowl of Wonton Wor, and Bill had his own Chicken Noodle Soup.
|Washington, the Evergreen State|
The next day was going to be another 7-hour drive through American freeways, west on I-84, north on I-82, and then west on I-90. The difference is that, after the potato fields of Idaho, the mountains of Northeastern Oregon and the wine valleys of Eastern Washington, everything turned green. After all, we had reached the Evergreen State! How different it was from the Arizona desert. And we had reached it after only two and a half days, giving us the other great advantage of long drives. Sometimes it is the shift of the seasons; sometimes, like this time, it is the shift of the scenes.
|Bill's former house in North Bend|
At the outskirts of Seattle, in North Bend we took the time to visit Bill’s last home in Washington. Set against the foothills of the Cascade Range, his home must have been very comfy but he traded it for the vagabond lifestyle to travel full-time in an RV with me. Just after this stop, we also took a detour to see the beautiful Snoqualmie Falls, which was just three miles away. I had not had the chance to see it in all of my three years in Seattle. The 268-foot high Falls was featured in the TV series, Twin Peaks.
After three days and two nights on the road, we finally reached my daughter’s home in Kent, Washington. We would have some good family time and rest before the Official US Launch of my book, Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream, in a week. And Mt. Rainier, peeking at us, is such a welcome sight!
|Mt. Rainier, peeking at us|