Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Roadside Ramblings Enroute to the CDT

After four days in the car, my body is molding to the seat. Sierra and I set off on a whirlwind trip to Santa Cruz to see my niece's graduation the minute school got out. We raced from the mountains to the beach and back, through sun, rain, hail, sleet, snow, and fog. Fueled by Cold Stone and Marianne's ice cream (supplemented with a few healthier options), we enjoyed our first summer adventure with family. 

No sooner had we unpacked from our trip to Santa Cruz than we piled back in the car to head to Crazy Cook, New Mexico, the southern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail to complete our final section of the CDT. We motored past PCT monuments such as Cajon Pass and San Jacinto Peak, powered through the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, and whizzed by Joshua trees and flowering ocotillo and saguaro cactus, catching glimpses of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and the rock formations of Eagletail Mountains Wilderness along the way. 

We stopped for the evening in Scottsdale, Arizona, enjoying dinner at Malee's Thai Bistro. Then we wandered over to the Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor. Framed Family Circus comics featuring the Sugar Bowl and autographed by artist Bill Keane decorated the walls.  We wandered through old Scottsdale, peering through the art gallery windows as we munched on delicious ice cream cones. 

The next morning we discovered our hotel's giant chess set, reminiscent of the set in The Sorcerer's Stone except that, regrettably, the pieces were slightly smaller and did not move of their own volition. 

Continuing along the road, we drove through Tucson, past the Wilcox Dry Lake, into the dust bowl. Signs lined the freeway, warning about blowing dust and advising motorists to pull off the road during periods of low visibility.   Farther down the highway we looked north across the Lazy B, the ranch where Justice Sandra Day O'Connor grew up. 

And then we arrived at our destination, Lordsburg, New Mexico, the town closest to the southern terminus of the CDT.   Lordsburg has a ranching, mining, and railroad history, but now seems to primarily service tourists and other weary travelers along Interstate 10. We enjoyed excellent Mexican food at Ramona's Cafe, but were dismayed to learn that Lordsburg does not have an ice cream shop. Not one.   

We consoled ourselves with generous helping of Talenti Caramel Cookie Crunch gelato from the local grocery, before heading back to the hotel to make the final preparations for our hike. 

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