Happy Trails — Part 1

I thought life have finally decided to be kind to me and gave me a break.  After the closing of my restaurant, it took every cent I had, and with the imminent homelessness nipping at my heels; I thought I finally found the saving grace. A job that not only pays me what I need to live on but I would be able to utilize all the skills and experience I have accumulated over my life time. On Friday, the owner, owner’s fiancé, and the general manager met with me for lunch. After some selling discussions on my qualifications — I was hired. We shook hands and they said I would start Monday. Well… to say I was elated would be an understatement. I thought… finally… someone who actually sees my multi-talents as an asset rather a deterrent. I decided to take a weekend road trip to clear my mind — and prepare myself for the new challenges ahead of managing the bank accounts of a multi-million dollar company.

After looking over the map of Arizona, I thought I should just finish the other half of Route 66. Except instead of seeking truth and forgiveness, I was seeking amazing vistas to quench my creative mind. And most of all to reinforce my belief that I am a strong and capable woman who can overcome any challenges that come my way…

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the other half of Route 66 as fascinating and visually inviting as the western half. It doesn’t have the diverse landscapes I’ve experienced on the other side. For the most part, the landscape was boring and flat. And a good majority of Route 66 was also part of Interstate 40 and somehow having to drive 75 miles per hour and being sandwiched between semi-trucks didn’t bring the same peace and nostalgia feel my previous Route 66 trip had evoked. However, being the photographer always trying to see something out of nothing… I did my best to see beyond the surface.

Along the way, I also stopped by a couple of tourist traps  attractions: The Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see either attraction up close. It cost $ 15.00 to see the Meteor Crater and $ 10.00 for the Petrified Forest. I have this aversion for paying to see Mother Nature’s handy work when we already paid so many taxes. Since I have a 4 x 4 SUV, I thought I would circumvent the crater and perhaps find an area that had free access. No such luck. There were fences and no trespassing warning signs all over the place.

Since I didn’t get to see the Petrified Forest and being a rock-hound, I decided to stop by at one of the Petrified Forest gift shops to get a souvenir to add to my rock collection. When I walked in, I asked the woman behind the counter about using the restroom. She replied in a grumpy tone that the restroom is for customers only. I told her I would buy something after. She was still pretty grumpy after I used the restroom and was looking around her shop at all the different rocks and gemstones. I suppose, I can understand her manner. I know I would get rather irritated when two people want to share an $8 entrée at my restaurant. Though, I wasn’t grumpy; I did imposed a split plate charge to cover for the ice water with lemon slices, the napkins, the wear and tear of dishes, silverware etc. It is expensive to operate a business. Every thing costs money one way or another. So for my purchase, I chose a bag of mixed Petrified wood and a piece of desert rose. The woman became very friendly after my purchase. We chatted about the attractions in the area and I told her about my disappointment with the lack of exciting landscape for photography. She told me that if I want amazing landscape photography opportunities, I need to go up north to see the Monument Valley. I have heard of it and have seen some of the monuments in movies. She took out a map from behind the counter and showed me exactly how I can get there. I decided not to go to New Mexico and to head up to Monument Valley instead. On my way… I got see a beautiful sunset.

Once again, this is one of those “Listen to your intuition and you can’t go wrong…” kind of moment.  Happy Trails…


32 Comments on “Happy Trails — Part 1

  1. Even with a flat landscape your first photo is very beautiful. Your sunset photo is amazingly beautiful and the last one is stunning !
    You are certainly a strong woman Emily, and I hope you’ll be happy with your new job !

    • Thank you Jocelyne for the wonderful compliment. Unfortunately, if you read part 2 of this post, you’ll know about my job situation. But it’s all good. Better to find out sooner than later…

      Sunsets are amazing. The intense colors and warmth of the light brings beauty and vitality to everything it touches — even if the moment is brief. 🙂

  2. Congratulations on the new job! Great photos, especially the last one through your mirror!
    Monument Valley is a road trip I definitely want to do. We’ve been to many of the other parks in southern Utah. Hoping to make it to Antelope Canyon as well.

  3. Great pictures, Emily, especially the mirror shot >>> and very glad you got yourself fixed up with a job!!! All the best from me! Adrian

    • Thanks Adrian for the supportive compliment. Unfortunately, you will know the truth about my job when you read the 2nd installment of this story.

  4. The shot in the mirror is kind of different, I liked that. Did you get up to Mexican Hat? Interesting place.

    You are right, national monuments should be free. Just don’t build any roads in places where people ride a camel to town or build bridges for donkey riders in Afghanistan and you would have plenty of money for the parks.

    By the way, I do follow you, I do not know why I did not see it in my reader. Must be a wordpress.com glitch or something.


    • No, I didn’t get up to Mexican Hat. I was very short on time and money for gas. I would like to go back up there again when my situation is more settled.

  5. Very nice, Emily…nice for your immediate future and nice for your little excursion. I love the sunset photo and the shot in your mirror…. Well done. 🙂

    • Being alone on road trips, I am learning to use the side mirror as my co-pilot to let me know the view behind. It’s amazing how different an image can look in the past, present, and future.

  6. Oh, Emily, your path has been so long and so tortuous–I hope that this will be the one you’ve been seeking for so long! Your past-present-future photo has an unmistakeable aura of hope and optimism. May it be so!

    • I agree, Gary… it has been a long and tortuous path. Looks like it will only get longer and filled with more holes ahead. But it’s photos like the one I took that makes me appreciate this crazy path I’m on… 🙂

  7. Your adventures continue.. I love your photos…It’s highway robbery the amount of money charged for anything these days. Thank God sunsets are free of charge..

    • Thanks for all your thoughts and good wishes, Roberta. Yes, the life’s adventure continues… guess it doesn’t really end… until you know… and even then; you never know what you would be doing up in heaven. Thank God sunsets are free of charge… 🙂

  8. We almost made it to the Petrified Forest when we want o. Our road trip last year, but it was so windy we kept going. I missed your post saying you we’re closing the restaurant. Consider that another of life’s adventures. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

    • I heard it can get very windy out that way. I can see why… very flat landscape. Though judging from those tree stumps, the area was quite a big jungle all those millions of years ago. Yes, the restaurant was just another life’s adventures. I definitely got a lot of good things out of it in the short time… okay… except maybe lack of money. 😉

    • Thank you Belen. Sunsets are amazing. It can make a boring field look beautiful. Although, I think the sunsets where you live are even more stunning. 🙂

  9. Lovely shots Emily. I visited both of those when I was down there last year. I definitely enjoyed the Petrified Forest more than the Meteor Crater. Congratulations on finding something to do after the restaurant! My favorite shot is the last shot in the mirror, beautiful scenery!

    • I’ve been wanting to visit the crater ever since I saw that movie “Starman” many years ago. I’m getting better at using the side mirror as a creative outlet for my shots during solo road trips.

  10. How interesting that things you thought would happen don’t happen, but what does happen is memorable in a nice way, too.

    I don’t like the sound of Petrified Forest. But won’t say the same for ‘desert rose’. What is it?

    • Hi Priya! I’ll have to take a photo of both Petrified wood and the desert rose. The desert rose is a rock that’s kind of pinkish and shape sort of like a rose, hence the name. Actually, petrified wood is really beautiful when it’s polished.

  11. The crater is cool to see, but the price is rather exorbitant. Your pictures are great! There are some awesome photo ops out that way.

    • I know… the entrance fees to these parks are outrageous. I went to Grand Canyon last week and it costs $25. Although, after seeing your image, I think I will have to pay the fee and see the canyon — up close and personal. 🙂

      Thanks Dan for stopping by and your nice comment. I just subscribed to your blog and am looking forward to seeing your creative images.

        • Thanks for the compliment, Dan. At least the entrance fee is cheaper on this side than the north side. It was $40.06 just to get in and you can’t even bring your camera nor get on the horse shoe shape glass bridge.

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