Miles away from Phoenix, up the I-17, still seems like our home turf. Found myself fantasizing about a photo or painting project: Show the landscape with the saguaros and mountains, but include the microwave, power, and cell phone towers, the billboards, and the graffiti. No more Nineteenth Century delusions of virgin wilderness.
The 260 still looked like home. Hawks patrolled above, as we hugged the Mogollon Rim--monster country. The roller-coaster forest road took us to Payson, where Em avoided killing a kamikaze squirrel.
We also passed one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, La Sierra. It’s funky, hand-painted sign with an awkwardly fixed misspelling was replaced with a boring, plastic one that looks like it should be in the food court of a fashionable mall. I hope they don’t get rid of the psychedelic sombreros.
Surprisingly, in Northern Arizona, not as many flags were at half-staff. Hmm . . . Maybe that’s a big city thing . . .
There was no sign of snow in Snowflake, Arizona, but we did find a rocketship jungle gym. It triggered sci-fi memories. At my grade school the jungle gym was a dome on top of a dome. We had to use our imaginations to make it into a rocketship.
Now the iconic finned rocket is a cliché. Someday it will be a petroglyph.
We ate dinner at La Cocina de Eva. I always love to find great tacos, beans, and rice. There were also gigantic paintings of the restaurant’s founders as vaqueros. Snowflake has a Mexican heritage.
There was a painting of a dragon.
Snowflake also has a Mormon temple and a Oneness Center, as well as a Catholic church. A diverse population for an Arizona mountain town.
In the parking lot of our motel, a truck laden with a huge, mysterious machine stood the night. I couldn’t tell if it was mining or farm equipment, or part of a secret space program.
That night I dreamed that someone was screaming, “Blow the reactors! Blow them now!” And that I had bought a package of strange, little creatures to release into the local ecosystem.
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