Bill & Sandra Wayne's Travel Pages
Our trip to Phoenix, March-April 2006
See the Map, below for places we stopped and things we saw. Bill's narrative includes references to markers on the map.
The biennial convention for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International was held in Phoenix this year. There's no way I was going to get to go without Sandra, so we spent Sunday, March 26th cleaning up after guests and getting the SUV packed. We hit the road at 6:45 AM, with a first day destination of Guymon, OK.
Took our favorite back roads through Holden, Harrisonville & Louisburg KS to miss Kansas City traffic. I-35 to Wichita was not a bad drive. Then it was US-54 west, into a headwind that really ripped our gas mileage. We stopped at Meade KS to find the famomous Dalton Gang hideout [couldn't find the sign that once said -"they should have stayed in Meade"] (red marker 1). We had dinner at the Cattlemans Cafe in Liberal - absolutely great chicken fried steak, and very reasonable, too. At the Oklahoma border, we stopped to take a picture of the welcome sign at Hooker, OK (Home of the Horny Toads).
Then it was on to Guymon, where the Comfort Inn was decent if not great (black marker 1). Total miles: 497, time on road: 10:06.
Day 2 took us first to Tucumcari NM, where we cruised old Route 66 while waiting for the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum to open (red marker 2). At was neat place to visit, where they combine classes in paleontotogy and sculpture with bronze dino bone castings. We ate a a good Mexican restaurant and then it was off on deserted back roads to Ft. Sumner. Ft. Sumner (ref marker 3) has two attractions - the Bosque Redondo memorial where the Navajo were deported to in the early 1860s, and the gravesite of Billy the Kid. From there, we hustled on down to Roswell (red marker 4), where we visited the UFO museum, got the lowdown on political infighting in the UFO business (from a T-shirt shop operator), and stopped by their fancy art museum. We then drove on to Ruidoso, where we'd hoped to get more pictures of the horse statues (but it was dark, cool and ready to snow). Stayed at a nice Holiday Inn Express (using our points - black marker 2), ate another New Mexican dinner ("green, please") and visited the Mescalero Apache casino (Inn of the Mountain Gods). Bill won, Sandra lost, the art was impressive.
On Day 3 we visited White Sands (red marker 5), paid a nice visit to Sandra's Uncle Murray in Las Cruces (and visited a great used book store) (red marker 6), and drove on to Tombstone, where we stayed at a good Holiday Inn Express - used our points for a free night (black marker 3). Couldn't find much in the way of restaurants, so we ate at Big Nose Kate's Saloon, then had a beer at the Crystal Palace.
On Day 4 we toured Tombstone by day, then drove on to Saguaro National Park (East Unit - red marker 7) - took a lot of pictures there! Bypassed Tucson on back roads so we didn't have to drive much on the busy interstate. Lunch was a small Mexican place at a road junction, the only place we saw on the backroad -a good choice. Drove on to Casa Grande National Monument (red marker 8) and then replenished the adult beverage supply - found a very low-piced beer that turned out to be GOOD. Went on up to Phoenix, where we checked into the HI Express (Tempe)(black marker 4) and contacted John & Jeremy from EW3D.com (who host all my websites, including this one) and went with them for the first of three trips to the same restaurant.
Phoenix: On Friday, Bill's meeting wasn't until 1 PM, so we drove around South Mountain Park (red marker 9) and ended up with a quick lunch at the Gila River Community's Wild Horse Pass casino. Sandra was left there to play and get a ride back and had a "small world" experience that she'll write about. On Saturday, we skipped out of the conference, picked up fellow-innkeeper Lois, and visited the Heard Museum (red marker 10) and the North Mountain Park. After lunch we were back at the conference where we buckled down for the rest of the day, plus all day Sunday & Monday. We did have some old USAF friends take us to Carefree (red marker 11) for BBQ.
On Day 9, we left the conference early and toured Montezuma's Castle ruins (red marker 12) and Sedona (red marker 13) , then went on to Flagstaff (black marker 9). It was not the best weather of the trip, and we were messed up when the side road recommended to us was closed because of a forecast snowstorm, causing us to backtrack 20 miles and wasting overall close to an hour. Sandra did not get into any kind of "vortex." We had lunch at a fast-food Mexican place, pretty good, and finally found a real art gallery. Once we left Sedona and went up Oak Creek Canyon (red marker 14) to altitude, it was cold!
Day 10 - Weather caused some changes in plans here. Snow was threatening and thew San Francisco Peaks were obscured! We skipped Sunset Crater and Wupatki and headed east under heavy rain. We outran the rain, but decided to skip Meteor Crater (again). Our only real site-seeing was Painted Desert (red marker 15), and the winds were strong. Stopped for a while at Gallup (red marker 16) and went on to Albuquerque (black marker 10), where we met author Madge Harrah and her husband for dinner.
Day 11: This day was another cold and windy one. We visited Petroglyphs National Monument (red marker 17) just west of Albuquerque, the Pueblo Cultural Center in town (red marker 18), and then headed north to Santa Fe (red marker 19). We parked near the plaza and walked thru several art museums. Sandra also saw the staircase at Loretto Chapel. We headed off for Tucumcari, where we had reservations at what turned out to be a very substandard Comfort Inn (black marker 11).
Day 12: We galdly left the Comfort Inn at 7:45 AM and headed for Amarillo. At Amarillo, we turned south to Canyon and visited the Palo Duro Canyon State Park (red marker 20). We retuned to Canyon, had a good Mexican lunch, then visited the Great Plains & Panhandle Museum (red marker 21). We skipped the side trip originally planned to the Washita Battlefield and spent our last night at an excellent HI Express in Weatherford (black marker 12).
Day 13: Our last day on the road. The main stop today was the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City (red marker 22) - it's an art museum as well. Spent a couple of hours there, took some good pictures, and went on to Tulsa. In Tulsa we had lunch at the new Cherokee casino buffet, then played a bit. Got home at 8:05 PM
Total miles on the trip: 3,427. 12 nights on the road, a total of 89:37 (that's 3 days, 17 hours and 37 minutes) road time (from departure to arrival each day, not counting local travel)
Sandra's Journal - Travel Home - Day Trips Home Page - Visit us at Cedarcroft