Even though we have 4 days of travel ahead of us, we are up for the challenge and the adventure! Leaving Indian Wells was tough as we know we will not see the likes of that weather again for about another 8 months!
We began our trek at 1:00 PM and headed northeast toward Flagstaff, AZ. We meandered through the desert and all of the sudden, like a mirage, there stood before us some amazing mountains of the Mojave Desert. Here are some pics from the heart of the Mojave and the Joshua Trees that thrive there.
Welcome to Arizona!
The Hualapai Mountain on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in Kingman, AZ
We pulled in to Albuquerque, NM at 2:00 AM to the view of the magnificent city lights and we were totally ready for a good night's sleep.
Could not be in Albuquerque and not take time to visit Historic Old Town. The San Felipe de Neri Church and Convent Gardens.
A Sparks Shout Out from the steps of the beautiful San Felipe de Neri Church.
All time record low gas price of the trip goes to Albuquerque, NM at $2.99!!!
After hours and hours of desert vistas, we left the "Land of Enchantment" and entered the plains of the "Lone Star State".
In addition to the many, many windmill farms of the Texas plains there are miles and miles of ranches that contain these irrigation systems that are truly an engineering marvel as they reach as far as you can see.
This meat processing plant near Amarillo, TX had more cows than we have ever seen, or hope to see, in any one place. Thousands of them. In addition, the smell rode with us for a good 20 miles! Almost makes you want to become a vegetarian just from that experience alone!
We happened to stop for a quick bite to eat in Amarillo, turned the corner and there was the American Quarter Horse Headquarters and beautiful museum.
We made it back to Broken Arrow, OK at 1:00 AM (CST) after another 14 hours and, once again, sleep never felt sooooo good!
Started back on our trek at 10 AM but not before we returned to the site of our Sparks Shout Out on our trip out. As I told everyone on my team, I thought I had left a boa trail of hot pink feathers everywhere we went and low and behold this is what we found waiting for us in the grass (9 days later) at the site in Broken Arrow!!!
Headed to Missouri!!
While it was a long trip through Missouri, we have to admit it sure was nice to see the green grass, lush trees, lakes, rivers, water and more water!!!
However, we made a stop in Joplin, MO and what we saw there left us with such a depth of sadness for the people of Joplin. We wished we could have stayed to help them in their struggle. For a one mile radius in every direction all you could see was total destruction and devastation.
There were busloads of workers from all over the country there to help in the rebuild. It was so uplifting to see the American spirit at work. People digging in and pulling together to help each other out. This tragedy happened on May 22, 2011 and there is still such a long road ahead.
This is what you saw everywhere that you looked.
GOD BLESS THE PEOPLE OF JOPLIN
It was on to a brief stop in Kansas. Larry and I had just been talking about how many friendly people we have met along our way. Everywhere you go (even the toll booths) everyone has been so friendly, warm and welcoming. We were stopped alongside this road in Baxter Springs, KS so Larry could take a Shout Out of me and this van drove by. It turned around and pulled up behind our car. Of course, my heart began to race as I thought we may be headed for trouble. Out of the van came an elderly gentleman who introduced himself and said he had passed and noticed that Larry was taking a picture of me and he thought we might like a picture of the both of us so he turned around and came back!!! Really!!! He was the nicest man who had been born and raised in Baxter Springs. He still lived in the farm house he was born in and his grown children and grandchildren have all built their homesteads on the farm property around him ("there's no place like home"). He welcomed us to Kansas and blessed us on the rest of our journey. It brought me to tears!
One of the kind faces of America! Thank you, Bill!
We had another 14 hour driving day under our belts and ended that leg of our journey in Columbus, OH, but not until we saw this beautiful sunset over the farmlands around Dayton.
Check back on the events of the last day of our journey with closing thoughts and comments.