WITH A PREFACE AND NEW STORY BY ME!

Thursday, September 1, 2022

ARIZONA FOURTH OF JULY REENTRY


Back in Arizona, gas was $4.99 a gallon. I kept seeing saucer-shaped clouds. Some UFO believers say that they are a way aliens camouflage their vehicles, which is silly. With faster-that-light travel, is that supposed to be the best stealth technology they can come up with?


 

In Flagstaff, we traded the Prius for our Elantra. Gas prices would be more of a concern even though they were lower.



Got on Route 66–the Mother Road is taking on a mystical significance. Maybe we’re seeing the beginnings of a new religion with the slow death of the petroleum economy. Could places like the Galaxy Diner become shrines to departed technologies for pilgrims of the future? Burgers and fries a ritual? It is, in a way, for Emily and me.

 


A young hitchhiker held up a sign: I NEED WEED!


Road construction got us hung up in a traffic jam in Oak Creek. Bored kids kept getting out of their cars and running around, taking selfies. Eventually, we arrived at the Matterhorn in Sedona for Fourth of July Eve.



We had tacos at the Oaxaca. Bliss.



It was a quiet morning in Sedona. We enjoyed the view from our balcony, sunrise over the red rocks, the empty street, a lone guy with a backpack and a dog walking by . . .



Then we went to the Coffee Pot for breakfast. In the mood to break tradition, I tried their breakfast burrito with chorizo y papas. I have a new favorite for the joint!


And I heard people speaking French.


There were some flags in Sedona, but mostly the 4th stuff was subtle.



Gas was $4.83 in Cottonwood.


“Our little spiffer gets good gas mileage!” said Emily. Down the road gas was $4.79 a gallon.



It was $4.95 in Prescott. We got into town at about 9 AM. There was some 4th stuff, but again, more low-key than I expected. Not as many flags. No political signs or opposing demonstrations like we saw in the past.



But then it was early . . .



Turns out this was the last day of Prescott’s Frontier Days, THE WORLD'S OLDEST RODEO. The streets were crowded. People were wearing and selling red, white, and blue, star & stripe spangled Abbie Hoffman specials.

 


Surprisingly, there weren’t any more cowboy hats than you’d expect in Arizona, but an entire family did stampede out of a store with shiny new ones.



And we kept seeing two blondes in mostly white, postmodern cowgirl regalia. They looked like sisters. They seemed to be everywhere. Are they the future of the Wild West?



The only politics came through the radio ads playing in stores. Right- wing businessman/candidates spouting the same clich├ęs that have landed hacks in office for generations, you know, Trump used them a few years ago . . .

 

There also was a metal LET’S GO BRANDON wall decoration for sale.



We found out about the Highland Park mass shooting via Facebook while waiting for ice cream on Whisky Row under a model of P-51 Mustang.

 


Then I noticed a half-staffed flag.

 


We stood at the Hassayampa Inn, a glorious, art deco time warp of a hotel. They play jazz on the overhead, a lot of Cab Calloway, and even some Louis Jordan. When I asked our server at the Peacock Room where the music came from, I got a confused look and an admission of ignorance.



Prescott is still very, very white, old, and Midwestern. We were the youngest people having dinner. The food was great, though expensive.



The festival in the town square had packed up and vanished by sundown. The night was quiet. No fireworks. No music or partying. Old folks have their say here.



We were still full from dinner in the morning, so we skipped breakfast, just grabbed coffee and pastries from the hotel’s coffee shop.



According to a local paper, the Yavapai County election commissioner resigned because of threats from Trump supporters.



Soon we were back in familiar territory with the sun blazing in our eyes.



I’m going to have to stop taking notes and pictures, even through it all seems different now. Things keep getting alien. Another new normal to adjust to.



When when got back to Phoenix gas was $5.45 a gallon. The only place in the country where it was higher was California. And it was $5.27 at Safeway.


Yeah, it is still not quite post-Trump/Covid America. 


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