Today’s post is going to be different than my usual ones and this may be the start of taking this blog in a bit of a different direction…for now, at least. As I stated last week, I was having trouble coming up with an idea for a new post and so I posted a collection of my previous entries. This week was most likely going to be the same way, but I decided that now was a good a time as any to write something different.
I attended my first Twitter chat last Monday, by accident. A good friend of mine made a comment, I replied, and then suddenly I’m involved in a chat called #bloggab. The topic was, ideas to write about in your blog. I even downloaded a FREE book called 365, Writing Prompts from The Daily Post Blog. I flipped through the book looking for inspiration. I’m still new to this and it might take a few before I can dive in.
The title for this post is an idea I came up with just by grabbing my coffee mug out of the cupboard this morning (Sunday). It’s my mug from Payson, Arizona and it reminded me of the time I escaped my Life for just a few hours and actually lived for a while.
Since May, I’ve been on my own. My wife and I went our separate ways and I’m holing up in a one bedroom apartment that’s just minutes away from my work. I wouldn’t exactly call what I’m doing as “Living” but more like, “Surviving”. Being alone is great until the loneliness creeps in and reminds you of where you were and how you got here.
In August, I took my final vacation of the year and had the opportunity to not only leave my apartment, but also to leave the Valley for one whole day. A friend of mine, who’s a preacher, drives to Prescott every Thursday for a bible study with people up there. A few years back, he began to leave very early in the day to avoid the phone plus get in some hiking and photography.
That week, I made arrangements with David to tag along for the day. I’ve seen many of his photos in the past, and have visited Flagstaff before; mainly on the way to the Grand Canyon. I needed to get out and do something worthwhile for my final vacation (my anniversary at work is August 28th and at that point I get my next batch of vacation time) of the year. Our other traveling companion was another member of the local congregation named Randy.
I’ve gone on several trips with the family since 2005 for our Summer Vacation but within the last four years, we didn’t have the finances to go anywhere outside the Valley. Our last trip, as a family, was up to Tonto Natural Bridge, outside Payson, in August, 2013.
Happy Jack, Arizona
Our first stop was the Long Valley Cafe in Clint’s Well for breakfast. It’s just outside of Happy Jack which I was a name I hadn’t heard in years. I always thought it was in the Valley but it’s a ways outside of Payson which is up north.
Having already eaten breakfast, I ordered a large danish and just enjoyed the atmosphere of the place. It was already cooler than it is in the Valley and I enjoyed it very much.
Two Lakes Next Door
Our next two destinations were lakes. The first was Mormon Lake and it is a dry bed. Can’t see how they can still call it a lake, but that’s not for me to say. The highlight of this stop was seeing a large group of elk hanging out on the floor bed.
From there we proceed another 20 minutes or so to Lake Mary. This became one of my favorite spots of the trip as you could tell you were not in civilization, nor in the Valley for that matter. Taking landscape pictures has become a hobby of mine and I had to walk down to the water’s edge to get some shots. I could have stayed there for the rest of the day if possible.
The Flower Chewer
We arrived in Flagstaff and, for the first time, I actually got to see the town. As I mentioned before, Flagstaff is usually a simple bathroom stop or meal break on the way up to the Grand Canyon. This time around, it was the destination. There are many volcanoes in and around the area and it’s David’s life goal to climb all of them. He often spoke of Sunset Crater and I hoped to see it or one similar.
As we drove along, David suddenly pulled off on the side of the road to take pictures of this large field of wildflowers. He and I got out to take pictures while Randy remind within the SUV. I noticed a sign that said ‘No Trespassing’ and hoped that no one in the local houses would come down and tell us to move along.
A few minutes later, another car pulled off next to us and a guy quickly hops out. The first thought I had was, “Oh crud, now we’re in trouble.” He seemed friendly enough though and struck up a conversation with David. Occasionally he would pick some buds off of the flowers and eat them. He even got David to eat a couple.
Feeling uncomfortable, I got back into the vehicle and watched the two individuals as they continued to chat. I looked down and saw David’s hand gun and wondered if it was loaded (David’s a gun enthusiast). Randy and I sat there for the next 20 minutes or so joking about what we would do if this guy suddenly became a problem.
Once David got back into the car he commented that the guy had originally stop to see what David’s sticker said on the side of his car. He has a large round magnet that reads: Official U.S. Government Taxpayer. From a distance, it looks like an official government seal and David had said that he was once waved through at the Grand Canyon because they read the top half that said, ‘Official U.S. Government’.
Our main destination in Flagstaff was the Wupatki National Monument. It was a site of Indian ruins and a very nice place to be on such a gorgeous day. David later told me that he chose this place to “go easy on me” for my first trip. Although I desired to hike a volcano, I really wasn’t prepared to hike one. No hiking boots nor staff (I don’t use a hiking stick but a staff from the Renaissance Fair).
The main attraction here is what is called a blowhole which, if weather conditions are right, the air coming from the ground could hold a hat in place. Think of it as a minor volcano, I guess. The air current wasn’t very strong but I was impressed with the area as a whole.
Second Meal in Clarkdale
By mid-afternoon, we arrived in Clarkdale. This is one of the towns from David’s childhood. He grew up in Jerome which is a town set in a hill just above. I didn’t get any pictures of either town, though I wished I had. Maybe, when I get another chance, I return there and get some photos.
We had Mexican food in a quaint little restaurant and since it was 3pm, we had the whole place to ourselves. The food was excellent!
Our final destination of the trip was the friends in Prescott. We ran into some heavy rain in the mountains and the switchbacks up there reminded me of why I don’t like driving in mountainous areas. Sedona was completely soaked as we passed through, but we arrived safely in Prescott.
I made it back to my apartment that night around 10pm and realized that, for the first time in a few months, I lived my life again.
Although reading books are a great escape from your life, sometimes just getting away from the house, and the area in general, is a great way to escape the doldrums of day-to-day living. When was the last time you went somewhere just to “get away from it all”? Where did you go and what did you see? Share your experiences in the comments section.
And, as always, Happy Adventuring!
The cover for Always Darkest Before the Dawn, book 3 of The Askinar Towers trilogy is now complete! I plan to do a cover reveal later this month and have the book available soon after. In the meantime, please pick up a copy of my other books. Check out my Amazon Page.