Day 1: Glendale CA to Scottsdale AZ

Miles: Approx 392

AVG MPG: 20.1

Drive time: 6 hours

So, here we are! In case you’re wondering, this will be part travel blog (informative stuff about where we go) and part “what the heck are we doing?” Hopefully it will be somewhat entertaining or, at least, informative. To that, there we will include the cool with the mundane. And, besides, this is a flight of whimsy; you won’t be tested on it.

With all that… we begin!

After a late night of packing and getting our house sitter settled and familiarized with everything, we were up at 7am for coffee and last minute packing. Our target leave time was 9am, and by 9:05am we were on the road (Win!)

The first several hours were of course territory familiar to us, as we regularly go out to Joshua Tree National Park, and the surrounding area. High summer in the desert southwest is full of browns, mild greens and stark shadows and it’s interesting to think about what original settlers must have felt, looking on the sparse, inhospitable land. How do you even begin to think, “Hey, I want to be a farmer out here…” I digress.

Steve has, of course, travelled much more in this area of California than I have, and so he pointed out a few interesting sights along the way, including the General Patton Museum, dedicated to the famous American tank commander who led the Third Army in Europe. This museum marks where Patton trained his tankers in the Mojave desert. There are only two such museums in the country and the other is located at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Steve’s family was stationed there when he was a child and it was one of his favorite places to visit. The outdoor area has a lot of military hardware including, of course, tanks. We did not stop, but could see them from the freeway as we drove past.

As we crossed into Arizona, one of the first road signs we saw warned us of a highway closure at “Avondale Rd.” –  Like most travelers, I think, we expected that to be within the next 20 miles or so. Throughout the day we kept seeing these signs, as we progressed closer to Phoenix. 200 miles later, we finally found the road closure, which resulted in a 45 minute traffic stall. On the upside, Steve got to listen to his FSU Seminoles play Jacksonville State while we were stuck in traffic (on the down side, they lost).

On this first day of our Epic Adventure, we did have a dinner scheduled with our accountant and his delightful wife – we were only 30 minutes late because of the traffic situation. The restaurant, Vecina, in Scottsdale, was very tasty – I do recommend it if you’re going through the area. Not quite tapas, but not quite full meals either, it was a southwest fusion restaurant.

Tomorrow – off to White Sands National Park and Los Cruces.

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