Wednesday. GALLUP, NM – PAINTED DESERT – PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL PARK – HOLBROOK, AZ
Here is a sentence you’d never expect to say during your time on earth. “How is the wifi in your wigwam?” And yet here we are. Wigwam #15 at the iconic Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. The wifi is kind of dodgy, and we can’t believe we’re here. The night is winding down earlier than usual. We had a fabulous lunch of chicken fried steak for most of us and couldn’t even imagine another meal after all of that…so snacks, wine, and some trail magic from my friend Deb Landesberg back in B’ton…that’s all we need. Thanks Deb! Sampling from the packages of nuts and pretzels and dried fruit and fudge (left over from Uranus!) and chocolate covered apples, we still can’t believe we’re actually here. Five days ago we were in Florida and had never even met Sparky.
Janey, Trudi, Patti, Jean and I started the day later than usual but with the common idea that we would walk to a coffee shop in town and bring back coffee for Patty. It was a lovely mile walk into the town of Gallup, New Mexico, a town richly deserving of the revitalization that is occurring. The coffee shop is in a beautiful old 1920 theatre building and as we walked we were open to the remarkable occurrences that have happened so often on this trip. We passed a street named “Strong Rd.” and sent a picture of the sign to Patty back at the hotel. We passed a homeless man picking through a dumpster who was wearing a shirt that read, “Don’t ever give up.” That’s the second time we’ve gotten that advice on the trip.
The coffee shop owner is proud of her town and her beautiful building, and we loved sharing our story with her until we finally left to search out a health food store we’d passed on the way…She is wearing a Patty bracelet in this picture.
Several days ago, as we left St. Louis and headed west, Patty put one of her favorite movies into the dvd player in Sparky, and the second and third rows got to watch the movie, Michael. Johns Travolta plays the title character, Michael, who is an angel. The movie is “all about love” as Patty says…
Back to the health food store. We were looking for fruit and other more healthful choices for our Happy Snacker Camp Time which occurs in the suburban each day as we drive. The owner of the store was busy unloading supplies from a truck when we arrived, but he soon showed interest in us and we, of course, began to share Patty’s story…His name was Michael. He offered some alternative medicine thoughts and advice and wished Patty well. We promised to convey his wishes….and then he startled us by saying, “We’re all going to die, I don’t know what else to say except it’s all about love.” He was the second Michael to tell us this in as many days.
We returned to the hotel for a few pictures before departing for Arizona and the Petrified Forest.
You may be wondering if we have forgotten about our soon-to-be-closer friends, Ellen and Melissa? Well we haven’t…
In fact, we continue to prepare postcards for Ellen as she likes to hear from people who are on vacation. Trudi oversees this each day, and ensures that they are mailed…and we each sign each postcard…it’s the least we can do, right?
On the subject of Trudi, it’s pretty clear that she’s the nicest of the lot of us. She’s my roommate. Best ever. Phrases like “How Trudi are you?” and “You’re no Trudi.” are part of the Suburban vernacular. When you have a roommate that brings you your first morning cup of hot coffee in a styrofoam cup with a lid and the words, “Good M.” written on it, you know you’re lucky. The pen ran out. It would have said, “Good Morning.” Pretty nice, right?
We started our short day of driving and soon were entering the state of Arizona. We all like to cheer and yell when we cross state lines, and this time was no different. But we never need an excuse to sing…
We sing often. And rather poorly. Old campfire songs. Songs that are traveling songs. Songs that were popular in the early 80’s when we were born. Ahem. It’s lovely to think of all the money that’s been saved that might have been wasted on voice lessons for us!
The terrain as we neared the Petrified Forest was unimaginably beautiful. We Florida girls are used to lush green irrigated St. Augustine Grass. What we found today was like the surface of an unfriendly planet.
We drove away checking out at the gate and doing what we do. Sharing news of the blog and Patty’s story and of our desire to meet Ellen and Melissa, this time with a park ranger.
We initiated a new “safety measure” for those times when we climb back into Sparky and need to make sure that we haven’t lost anyone. Patty yells, “ONE” and each of us, in turn, yells our number in order till we get to SIX. That’s how we know we have all hands on deck. By unanimous vote your Blog Master (B.M.) was given, you guessed it, #2. It’s funny every time.
It’s even fun doing laundry in Holbrook, Arizona.
Back to our Wigwam. Home for the night.
We feel like we need to let you readers know how much we appreciate all of the encouraging texts and emails and especially blog comments that you’ve shared. The donations to the Callaghan Tire Pro-Am Golf Tournament for Cancer Research have meant a lot to us too. Each day we read your blog comments out loud to each other…your support and encouragement mean so much. Patty is overwhelmed. We all are. Just thank you is all we can say. And stay with us, please. We’re not alone on this trip. We know that.
There is a lovely quote that Jane and Patty both like from the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “Everything will be all right in the end…and if it’s not all right, then it’s not the end.”
Tonight Trudi has some thoughts to share..
July 14, 2016 Trudi’s words:
What an amazing experience this trip is! When Patty first asked me to join her on this bucket list trip down Route 66, I thought I was doing her a favor. The truth is, Patty has done the favor for me. I have gained such an appreciation for the beauty of this amazing country. As we drive from east to west, we see the diverse beauty in the changing landscape – from the green farmland in Illinois to the rolling hills in Missouri, through the flatlands in Oklahoma and Texas, on to the arid mesas in New Mexico and now we approach the canyons in Arizona. Truly spectacular! However, even more stunning than the lovely landscape is the beauty of the people we have met along the way. The outpouring of love we’ve felt has been so heartwarming. I think we have all gained a renewed sense of the goodness of people. America, indeed the beautiful.
I can’t thank Patty enough for bringing me along and reminding me to live a more meaningful life.
http://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article89426157.html Richard Dymond’s wonderful follow up article in the Bradenton Herald, 7/14/16 We’re so thankful for the local support we’ve enjoyed.
For more info on the Callaghan Tire Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held every fall in the Bradenton Area, please check: www.callaghantirecharityproam.com. Also, Donations toward Cancer Research may be made payable to “Callaghan Tire Charity Pro-Am” with “Sixty Sixtahs” on the memo line and mailed to 5066 18th Ave W., Bradenton, Florida 34209. All monies (100%) collected go directly toward cancer research.