Day 12: Surviving and Thriving

“It was an early morning yesterday.
I was up before the dawn.
And I really have enjoyed my stay.
But I must be moving on.”

When I woke up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday at a motel in Winslow, Arizona, that lyric kept cycling through my mind, rumbling along like so much tumbleweed. For the twelfth straight morning that’s exactly what we’ve been doing: enjoying our stay, getting up early, moving on. 

For the first time since we left on February 17 we’re spending two nights in one place. There’s no rush to pack up and do our “idiot check” of the room before heading to the next destination. This morning we can just leave our stuff and walk out the door footloose and suitcase-free.

The timing is perfect. Yesterday was exhausting. We drove from Cottonwood, Arizona, which is near Sedona, and took the scenic route to Yuma through Jerome and Prescott. Well, normally it’s scenic, but it rained the entire drive. At many points we were in the clouds and visibility was reduced to a few hundred feet. Not that it mattered for safety purposes; on those twisty mountain roads you can’t see the road beyond that distance anyway. It did mean we missed some incredible vistas, but that’s OK. It forced us (me, anyway, since Jim couldn’t look at anything but the ribbon of pavement) to take a closer look at what was right outside our windows.

What passed was a lesson in geography. We drove from the riparian Cottonwood to the Sonoran Desert. The state has 194 named mountain ranges, and I think we made our way up and down 193 of them. That might be a slight exaggeration, but we certainly covered several! The route was a study in contrasts. Prickly pear jutted out from rocks that were surrounded by lush grass and evergreens. Rain sluiced down our windows as we drove through a desert floor studded with fifteen foot-tall saguaro cactus.

Rain is a rarity in Yuma, and yesterday the southwestern Arizona city got its fill. Today we’ll explore the sunniest place in the world, from a date farm to an historic territorial prison. We’re staying in the oldest motel in Arizona and just finished touring the on-site museum.

With each place we visit and person we meet the book takes shape. Within the diversity there are connections and similarities. One thing that’s constant is the pride in home. We’re honored that pride is being shared with us.


We’ve added two new reward levels to our pre-order campaign! If you’re liking the photos we’ve shared so far, you can pre-order one for $15. We’ve also added a paperback option! For $35 you’ll get a paperback copy of Two Lane Gems, Vol. 1, as well as a digital download of your favorite image.

EVERY bit helps. Please remember, we’re not asking you to donate. With your contribution you’ll receive a lasting reminder of the beauty of this country.

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