On a Sidetracked Adventure – A Visit to Northern Arizona

Sunset Crater

Sunset Crater © 2014 Bo Mackison

Day Three of my cross country trek brings me no closer to home.
But I add another day of adventure to the trip.

Leaving Flagstaff at 1:57 pm,
a late start but there was computer work to be done
and I’m heading to a “No Service” region.

Sunny and 55˚F. Breezy.
The San Francisco Peaks glow with a snow halo.
Perhaps I leave Flagstaff with an angel riding on my shoulder.

Historic Route 66 through Flagstaff.
Establishments from the Route 66 travel heyday – Wonderland Motel. Arrowhead Motel.
66 Motel. Royal Inn. Americana Inn 66.
Miz Zips Cafe. Lets Eat Cafe. Pony Soldier Inn. Motel El Pueblo.

Grand Canyon South Rim 79 miles.
Grand Canyon North Rim 159 miles.
Add a couple of stops and its a 285 mile trip.
Dawdling travel. “Do something for a week” travel.

Gas at Safeway just north of town $3.49 a gallon.
Page Arizona 127 miles. A collapsed road and detour adds 50 miles. More to see.

Moose. Next 28 miles.
Road Work Ahead. Fire Danger High.

Cinder Way. Girls Ranch Road.
Sunset Crater Volcano. One mile ahead.

Elevation 7000 feet.
Layers of golden sacaton grasslands, bands of forest, the painted desert beyond.

Sacred Mountain Book Store and Art Gallery. Closed.
Telephone poles cut a dirt swath through the cedar/juniper forest.

Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument © 2014 Bo Mackison

Elevation 6000 feet.
Antelope Hills. Sinagua Trading Post.
Wupatki National Monument. Ahead one mile.

Babbitt Ranch Annual Colt Sale. Jul 12, 2014.

Stripes of tar road repairs, drum beat.
Grazing cattle in sparse grasses.

Navajo Nation Scenic Road

Navajo Nation Scenic Road © 2014 Bo Mackison

Gray Mountain.
Sacred Mountain Not For Sale.
Buckle Up. It’s the Navajo Nation Law.

Cameron Arizona.
Cameron Trading Post. Yes. We are Open.
I pass the road to Grand Canyon, South Rim.

Moenkopi Wash. Dry and dusty. Orange earth.
Explore the Navajo Museum.
Tuba City Ahead.

See Real Dinosaur Tracks. Turn here.
World War II Navajo Code Talkers Memorial.

Road Work Ahead.
Caution. Caution. Caution.
One Lane Road Ahead. Prepare to Stop.

Old Red Lake.
Red and white striped mountains capped with two white chimneys.
A school bus drops off one or two kids at the dirt road turnoffs,
parents in pickup trucks wait.

A Big Red Rock

A Big Red Rock © 2014 Bo Mackison

Cow Springs. 4 Miles.
Brightly painted turquoise house. A mural, a hand, covers one wall.
Page 64 miles. Highway AZ 98.

Asphalt roads change into red rutted dirt a few feet from the highway.
Two police cars and a med-vac helicopter at a level spot off the road,
blades whirring, the crew works over a stretcher.

54 cyclists zoom past in double formation.
Gray rock formations piled to the south, like giant cow pies.
Vermillion cliffs rise in the north.

Driving AZ 98

Salt River Power Plant © 2014 Bo Mackison

Chimneys in triplicate. Coal burners. Electricity for Phoenix and Tucson.
Grasslands line the road. Ten miles from Page, a glimpse of Lake Powell.
5000 feet elevation.

Billboards. Upper Antelope Canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon.
Antelope Point Scenic Site.
Antelope Wash – dry and dusty.
Kids are sledding on saucers on the sloping walls.

Electric high wires string along the highway.
Cross the roads. Power is Page’s Business.
Welcome to Page.

Historic Road of Little Hotels.
Mesa Movie House.
Big John’s Texas BBQ.
Page Boy Hotel.

Time to stop for the night. I need a power recharge.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Gandalf says:

    So far sounds like quite the adventure

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