Musings & Meditations

Highways & Byways

Posted in Travel by Pam Keesey on May 29, 2008

When my plans for Memorial Day weekend disintegrated, I knew I had to do something, but I wasn’t sure what. A quick internet search turned up a cheap ticket to Phoenix….

Phoenix? What was I going to do in Phoenix? A few internet searches later, I found inspiration by way of Route 66, and a plan suddenly began to fall into place.

In trying to make sense of the emotions with which I’ve been flooded on a daily basis since Jenny’s death, I’ve renewed and more seriously pursued my interest in Buddhist meditation. As a part of that journey, I’ve also been feeling a pull to get out on my own, to get into the out of doors, and to clear my mind to the best of my ability. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery by Mark Coleman.) I thought the woods was my calling, but I was suddenly overcome with the desire to be in the desert, to be out in the dry heat and blazing sun, to be alone with my thoughts with nothing to concern me or distract me but the open road ahead.

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Yesterday’s Gone

Posted in Travel by Pam Keesey on May 26, 2008

Day 3: Photostream
I finally got to meet my hosts at the Blue Swallow Motel on Monday morning when I prepared to check out. Terri and Bill bought the motel, originally built in 1939, several years ago and restored every inch of it with love and care. Every Memorial Day weekend for the last several years, a group of bikers have come from Louisiana to spend the holiday at the Blue Swallow. As it turns out, I missed the biker wedding the night before. The celebratory nature of the evening carried over into the morning. One of the bikers came into the office as I was checking out to get his morning coffee, and shared tales of the wedding and showed me the dance a six-year-old girl taught him the night before. Everyone bemoaned the fact that I had missed the celebration and wished me well on my journey.

As I headed out of town, I took a few quick snapshots of classic Route 66 signs — although I missed La Cita — and then headed back toward Santa Rosa.

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Getting My Kicks

Posted in Travel by Pam Keesey on May 25, 2008

Day 2: Photostream
Sunday morning started bright and early with a 5:30 a.m. departure for Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monument. The sunrise over Flagstaff was lovely, and I was looking forward to getting back on the road.

Sunset Crater was fascinating, not so much for the dormant volcano itself as for the long petrified and still very present Bonito Lava Flow. One thousand years later, and it still looks like it happened only recently, which, in geological terms, I suppose it did.

Wupatki National Monument, the site of ruins of the Wupatki pueblos that arose in the area just after the eruption of Sunset Crater, is amazing, an experience made even more compelling by the early morning sun and the dearth of tourists at that hour. Wandering the monument on my own, taking in the red rock buildings and imagining what it must have been like all of those years ago to live there; I spent much longer at Wupatki than I had intended to, I was so taken with the site.

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Friends, Family, and the Open Road

Posted in Travel by Pam Keesey on May 24, 2008

Day 1: Photostream
When I first started telling friends and family of my plans to drive across two states not just once, but twice, in just under four days, travelling more than 2,000 miles in the process, their initial response was one of bemusement. “Are you sure you’re up for that?” and “Don’t push yourself too hard” were comments that I heard several times. But as I described my motivation, and more than that, my itinerary, the more interested and supportive people became. My mother shared her own adventure of driving Route 66 back in 1961 with two friends from nursing, beginning in Chicago and arriving in San Francisco. My father recalled a portion of his youth spent in Albuquerque, New Mexico, along Route 66 and his recollection of places like Meteor Crater.

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