*Sorry about the delayed post. The internet connection is a bit sketchy here.
Today was our longest stretch of driving that is planned and we went from Albuquerque, New Mexico across another state line and a time zone to Flagstaff, Arizona. We set off early after a pleasant stay in Albuquerque, anywhere would be pleasant after Amarillo, and after getting gas we joined the interstate. We knew we would have to stop again at least once more today for gas and planned a stop in Gallup for this purpose. The scenery again today was breathtaking with a mix of rocky hills and vast dessert and for a long stretch a single lane railroad ran alongside the highway. We hopped on and off of the interstate driving parts of route 66 and actually we ended up driving a lot of it. We were clearly in native american country with lots of the stops along the way being themed as such.
We stopped for lunch at Denny’s again in a town called Holbrook and refueled. It was pretty hot and after lunch we discovered that we had fried the GoPro and it wouldn’t switch on any more. I held it over the air con vent and luckily it came back to life. We drove on through the towns of Gallup and Winslow which are both known from the ‘Get your kicks on route 66’ song but they were both small towns with strip malls and fast food eateries so were mildly disappointing. The weather was fairly overcast today and as we approached Flagstaff we could see rain clouds on horizon and gradually as we go closer we noticed a mountain appearing from behind the rain clouds and the dessert turned to forest land. We stopped at a supermarket to get some supplies and the first thing we noticed was the smell of air freshener but soon realised it was the smell of the real pine trees that surround the area.
We had decided a few days ago that as we were spending two nights in Flagstaff that we would try and find somewhere decent and spend a little more money but when I looked on Hotels.com in Albuquerque all I could find were the same sort of motels that we had been used to up until now but they were a little more money. I loaded up an app called Airbnb which allows people to offer up for rent, rooms in their property or sometimes entire places. I had not used the app before but I managed to find a place called Abineue Lodge located a few miles south of Flagstaff. You have to request a reservation from the owner who can accept or deny your request so I sent a request along with a message to the owner, Wendy. I didnt hear back from Wendy for a long time so I was a little bit worried during the day that we didnt have anywhere booked for tonight. Eventually Wendy did get back to me and said that the server had been down and our reservation request was accepted and was actually very reasonably priced at £130 for 2 nights.
This place is stunning! The lodge is set in a large clearing in the middle of the Cochnino National Forest and shares the clearing with a handful of other properties. We entered the B&B and were met by Wendy who was really nice and showed us our room and the rest of the building and outside areas. We dumped our gear and decided to go for a trek along a trail through the woods. We went in a large loop and just as we were starting to come back towards the lodge we spotted four Elk on the hill just off the path! We stopped and watched them for a while and they watched us. They were amazing to see in the wild and the pictures that I took do not do them justice as they were much closer than they look in the pictures. We followed the trail round until it ended at a road so we turned and hiked over a hill and back to the lodge. We sat out in a patio type area and had our dinner surrounded by pine trees. We are visiting the Grand Canyon tomorrow which is about a 3hr round trip (thats nothing to us now) but I could happily spend the day here.
Total Mileage: 1930 miles