One of the funnest things about going on a trip is the unexpected, the spontaneity. This can be good or bad, but it is all part of the excitement and breaking out of your daily routine and the mundane. Traveling, while it can test your predetermined budget and be stressful at times, can expand your mind and thrill your heart.
A quote on https://theplanetd.com/the-ultimate-travel-quotes-as-chosen-by-you/ says, “Great things never came from comfort zones.” So true!
When my husband Ray, our daughter Leah, and I traveled to visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona to celebrate Leah’s college graduation, Ray and Leah (both science buffs) decided after we had seen the Canyon, that the next morning we would drive to see the Meteor Crater near Flagstaff, Arizona on Route 66 (a famous highway that stretches across the USA for 2,400 miles, crosses 8 states, and three time zones). The crater measures 550 deep and is almost a mile wide.
The website says the iron-nickel meteorite impacted the area with a force 150 times greater than an atomic bomb. Ray and Leah were disappointed to find that the area was closed temporarily, and we could not go after all.
But I was secretly relieved. We didn’t have our hats or sunscreen, and I just wanted to go shopping for souvenirs for Leah and me!
We’d had a great day at the Grand Canyon the day before. But on the drive to the meteor (before we found out that the attraction was closed), Ray was getting on my nerves by being a little snarky to me and playing rock and country songs on the radio in our rented SUV. I finally asked him to turn off the radio, because I don’t like loud, jarring rock or depressing country music. (Sometimes I don’t know how on earth we ever got married, because our tastes in everything are so different!)
Ray wanted to go one place for sure, since we weren’t able to see the meteorite attaction: Winslow, Arizona. What on earth was there, I asked him? He said he wanted to get a picture of himself standing on the corner of a street, that was famous from the Eagles’ band song, Take It Easy.
What? Leah or I had never heard of such a thing, but Ray was insistent about this. He then found the song on his Samsung phone’s playlist to play for us as he drove there.
As I listened to the lyrics, I asked him, ‘”So who’s ‘the seven women? Or the girl slowing down in her Ford flatbed truck to take a look at you, standing on the corner in Winslow?'”
Ray dryly replied that he had no idea.
“Mmm-hmm, sure,” I said, giving him the wife side-eye.
When we arrived in Winslow and found the place, Ray had me and Leah take pics of him standing on the corner by the famous statue, the red Ford flatbed truck parked on the curb near the statue, and the Route 66 highway sign. He asked us to text him the pictures on his phone.
He then immediately posted a pic of himself leaning against the statue, looking cool in his shades, to his Facebook personal page. To his great amusement, this post received several comments right away, such as:
Mechelle (His sister): “Love it. Whatcha doin’ in Arizona?”
Mike: “Yeah, buddy, have fun.”
Tyler: “Tom Cruise who?”
Jere: “Now I’ve got that song stuck in my head, thanks.”
Paula: “Perfect pose. What a sight to see.”
I still feel a little irked about the “seven women” and “the girl slowing down” and I may not ever find out who they are, but this little excursion made Ray happy, putting him in a much better mood for the day, so I just let it go.
I thought I’d share about the restaurants in Arizona. Another fun thing about going on a trip is trying new food.
I do research online before traveling and had googled restaurants on Trip Advisor before leaving for Arizona. I wanted to find a good place for us to eat breakfast on the morning that we were going to go to the Grand Canyon.
One place that received good reviews online was The Toasted Owl in Flagstaff. The unusual name intrigued me, and our daughter Eden also loves owls. I wanted to get pics of owls for her there.
Before going to the restaurant, we had to park at a nearby parking lot. I noticed that there was a fee, but Ray didn’t know where to pay it. I did NOT want to get a parking ticket when we were renting the SUV there!
We then saw a little machine near the parking lot where you could pay for parking (online). A woman walking by us explained what we needed to do. Below is a picture of Ray and Leah trying to figure out the parking machine, LOL.
Inside the restaurant there were all kind of owl pictures on the walls and owl souvenirs that you can buy. Leah and I both bought some. Leah got a colorful cup and a mom & baby owl candle souvenir. The pretty stone necklace is a souvenir that Ray and I bought her from a Native American woman at the Grand Canyon. The candle is so cute!
To our amusement, our waitress’ name at this restaurant was Eden! We laughed, then explained to her why we did. She was so pretty like our Eden is, and all the servers there wore colorful shirts as part of their uniforms.
Ray and Leah ordered a Spanish omelette to split and a chai tea. I ordered toast with smashed avocado and feta cheese, a side of fresh blueberries, bacon, and coffee. Ray had ordered bacon, too, but didn’t get any with his order, so I gave him some of mine. Ray and Leah both really liked their omelette, and my order was very tasty. Two thumbs up for this restaurant!
We sat outside to eat on the patio. There was an umbrella for most of the tables, but ours didn’t cover my seat. (Ray and Leah were seated in its shade.) I was hot, but just dealt with it.
You could watch people walking by on the sidewalk by the restaurant. People-watching is such a fun activity!
Some customers had a dog with them outside on the patio at their table. One of the servers brought their dog some water, which was so sweet!
Due to Coronavirus, the restaurant requires mask-wearing inside the actual restaurant, and they don’t have physical menus for “safety regulations.” You scan a code on a menu at the table with your phone, and choose your order online. But aren’t you touching that menu? A little different!
We were glad that we ate there at The Toasted Owl before driving the 1 1/2 hours to the Grand Canyon from our cabin where we stayed near the airport in Flagstaff. I highly recommend this fun place!
When we first arrived in Flagstaff, after we rented our SUV, we were going to eat in Flagstaff before going to the cabin for the night (located only about 15-20 minutes from the airport). We decided to eat at a pizza place called “Your Pie.” I got a gluten-free, pepperoni and spinach pizza. Ray’s and Leah’s had more items on theirs.
We took some with us in a take-out box to have for lunch on another day. The staff throws the dough up into the air in front of you and prepares it with fresh ingredients that you choose. The pizza crust was thin and tasty.
When we went to the Grand Canyon, we had a very late lunch at a restaurant there inside the canyon park. They had DELICIOUS cheeseburgers (although expensive!)! It came with a side of tasty cole slaw/salad. We ate outside, enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful scenery.
Near our table outside, there was a couple with a toddler boy, who was adorable. He was eating with food in both hands. I laughed and showed Ray, who was also amused. What a precious age and how fast kids grow up!
On our last afternoon in Arizona, Leah wanted to get ice cream after we drove to Winslow and back. We found a Cold Stone Creamery ice cream shop that offers a variety of flavors with all kind of yummy toppings to add if you want! It was delicious. I got chocolate and mango flavors.
There were no tables inside the ice cream shop to eat, so we sat at one outside. The ice cream melted fast in the sun!
On our last night in Arizona, we stopped by a Mediterranean restaurant after our hike (to search for a waterfall), and took gyro sandwiches with us back to the cabin. The Greek salads that Ray and I also ordered were so good!
On the morning after we had seen the Grand Canyon, we went to a mom-and-pop-style diner for breakfast. They had all different kinds of crosses decorating the wall, which was really cool.
They also had a beautiful, ornate, wooden cuckoo clock, which reminded me of all the cuckoo and grandfather clocks that my grandparents had owned in their beautiful home, shipped from Germany. (My paternal grandfather served in the military and was stationed for awhile in Germany.) The clock had stained glass under it, also. Our waitress at this restaurant was amazing, just so nice!
I liked these two crosses: one with a heart and one which reads, “Healed.”
We didn’t go crazy eating out on our trip. I would have liked to tried more of the coffee shops and other places to eat in Flagstaff, but we were on a budget. The agency for the cabin had provided a basket of snacks for us (various kinds of chips), which we took to the canyon and ate as snacks for night. We bought plastic bottles of water (and jugs for refills) at the Dollar General Store near the cabin for our trip to the canyon, to stay well-hydrated and for our entire visit there.
Ray also bought a jug of cold sweet tea for him and Leah to drink. (I drink hot herbal teas, but not cold teas.) Leah also bought some peach mango tea at a tea shop in downtown Flagstaff, as a souvenir. The clerk let us sample various kinds of tea, that were so refreshing! The tea shop had a variety of items to buy, and I could have spent a lot of money there!
There were coffee and cream powder at the cabin that was provided for us for the coffee pot. It wasn’t my usual Simply Bliss sweet cream creamer, but it sufficed. I so enjoyed having a cup of hot coffee on the cabin’s deck in the mornings. I did send Ray out one afternoon for me for some “good” coffee (Starbucks’ caramel macchiato hot coffee!)
I had planned to buy a few groceries after we arrived in Flagstaff, but that never actually happened (other than going to the DG store for water and extra snacks). We winded up spending much more than anticipated on this trip, but I think that’s pretty common for people to do on vacation!
But we enjoyed the places we did eat there. One good tip before you go on vacation is to research places online, such as on Trip Advisor, and look for the best reviews of restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, etc.
Whenever you go something place different (even if it’s the next town or city), be sure to try new foods, new places to eat. Be bold and daring. Get outside of your comfort zone of usual restaurants. Even if you wind up not liking the food you ordered or the place where you eat, at least it’s a new experience. Food can be quite the adventure, just as traveling is.
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.” ~ Anthony Bourdain
“Laughter is brightest in the place where food is good.” ~ Irish Proverb