Photography and commentary from John Fujimagari

Memory Lane – Oct 9, 2008

I’m reposting a day from my trip to Four Corners, from another blog, every Wednesday.

Day Two – Headed North East

It’s still dark outside, but it is 6:45 our time, amazingly after 4 hours sleep on Tuesday night and 5 ten minute naps on one flight and maybe 20 minutes on the other, I’m Up!

Our luggage arrived after 10 PM, and the laptop battery was nearly dead, so I threw it on the charger right away. I don’t know how they did it, maybe they winched my suitcase from the baggage compartment with a tow truck, but they managed to rip a handle off. Nice.

Today looks like another great day. The high in Phoenix will be 96! After breakfast we’ll be heading up on to the Mogollon Rim through Payson and to the Painted Desert. Tonight we stay in Gallup, NM.

Breakfast starts in half an hour, Later…


Starting out with Breakfast at the Best Western Inn & Suites, the complimentary breakfast was the best free breakfast I’ve ever had! They had make-your-own waffles, 5 kinds of bread for toast, eggs, hash browns, ham, 2 kinds of milk, OJ, cranberry juice, 3 kinds of artificial sweeteners and my favourite Biscuits and Gravy. Mmmm…

Lunch was at Joe and Aggie’s Cafe, the oldest restaurant in Holbrook, AZ. They have been on a number of TV shows, in 7 Route 66 books and credit in the Disney/Pixar movie “Cars” as well as a scene in the DVD extras. I had the Chicken Chimi, Sherri Eggs and Enchiladas and Hobie had a Cheeseburger Deluxe, all were excellent home cooked meals.

Supper brought us to Gallup, NM to the Ranch Kitchen on Old Route 66. We pulled up out front, and there was the BBQ chef on the porch with a wood cook fire. The place was decorated with beautiful Navajo Rugs. Again Great Food! I had the Mexican Platter, a Taco, an Enchilada, a Chille Relleno and Tamale, and I went with the medium hot Red sauce. Most places the red is hotter than the green, but not here. I took the waiter’s recommendation and the heat was just right. The expected rice and refried beans were flavourful and mild to quench the heat, and the flour tortilla on the side was the best I’ve had in years. Thick and tender, not dried out and rubbery like the store bought tortillas in Canada. Sherri had the Quarter BBQ Chicken, which was done to perfection.

I can hardly wait to see what food the rest of the trip presents.


Getting out of Phoenix was no big deal, traffic ran fairly smoothly and it was interesting to see the different plants here. We liked seeing the flowers still blooming and our indoor plants growing outside. Climbing out of Scottsdale into Fountain Hills we saw some huge homes clinging to the side of the mountains and some spectacular views of the valley, and we saw the fountain. As soon as we were on AZ87 and had left the developed areas, it was Saguaro Cactus everywhere. Winding through the Mazatzal Mountains there were big ones, small ones, propped up ones and some dead ones, but by the time we reached Payson they had been replaced by mostly Pines and some Juniper. Heading up the Mogollon Rim the trees were denser and heavier, and started thinning out and had disappeared when we got to the Mogollon Plateau. It’s fairly flat and prairie like with dispersed bushes. There is no way to tell that you are at 6000 feet altitude.

We stopped at the Petrified Wood Company at the junction of Highways 77 & 180 in Holbrook. They have huge pieces of petrified wood out front, polished to a glasslike shine and much more inside cut, polished and shaped to various styles and sizes. Pricing seems to vary according to how interesting the rock is. Sherri was able to pick out the most expensive pieces with the bluish centers. They also had an amazing assortment of fossils, minerals and crystals. They had some very large Brazilian Amethyst but I didn’t come to Arizona to buy imported rocks. On a secondary rant, we were at a grocery store in Phoenix and I wanted to buy some oranges. They had Australian Navels, Chilean Clementines and no local or even California Oranges. Grrr… Meanwhile back at the rocks I went out into the yard and I found rough pieces of petrified wood for only $2.00 per pound! I also found slices of Picture Sandstone for $5.00 per pound. From there, we went to the Petrified Forest National Park where we saw petrified logs laying about in their natural state.


A surprising stop was at a lookout called “Newspaper Rock”. There are actually “rocks”, but according to the info, there are about 650 ancient petroglyphs on the rocks. You aren’t allowed near them but there are spotting scopes mounted on the viewpoint. I was able to make them out quite clearly with my telephoto lens.

Newspaper Rock

We left behind the petrified wood and petroglyphs, and drove towards the Painted Desert. The National Park spans Interstate 40 and the Painted Desert is on the north side of the Interstate. We saw spectacular views of the red rocks and badlands. My favourites were the Pintado Point and Chinde Point overlooks. Then it was onto the Interstate for the hour drive to Gallup, NM. Near the Window Rock exit the light on the red cliffs was superb and I got too busy looking at it and didn’t make my mind up to get off of the road in time to stop for pictures. I hate it when that happens. By the time we finished dinner in Gallup it was already dark, so I missed the turn for the road to the hotel and we got the night time tour of Old Route 66.


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