Cross-Country Day 2: Bakersfield – Flagstaff

Cumulative Distance: 771 miles ~~ Travel Time: ~9 hours

I slept like a baby. As soon as my alarm went off, I was ready to go and take on my day. I departed Bakersfield around 9:30 and started to make my way to Flagstaff, AZ. Knowing that I only needed to drive about 7 hours, I liked that I could stop and take pictures or see sights whenever I wanted. It took a little while for me to realize that I wasn’t “rushing” to get somewhere, but rather the journey was the adventure itself.

After passing the wind farms of Southern California, I entered the Mojave desert. About an hour into the desert, I stopped at a rest area and was promptly reminded what the desert brings: snakes. There was another sign just posted next to this one that listed all of the snakes that can be found in North America. Thanks.

Driving through the desert was beautiful. After a ways, I ended up on my main interstate: highway 40. For those that don’t know, Highway 40 follows the path of the Historic Route 66 that runs from LA to Chicago. Every time I got off the highway to get gas or grab a bite to eat, I was reminded that I was on Historic 66.

I stopped for gas at a place called “Hi Sahara Oasis” — which has to be the most obscure gas station you’ve ever seen. Check out the link and you’ll see what I mean. It’s this oasis in the middle of nowhere. In order to pay for gas, you have to leave your credit card inside. When I did this, I saw a sign that read:

 We have no choice. We have invested too much time and money into this place to leave now. To run a gas station like this in the middle of nowhere costs a lot of money. We will not tolerate any complaining whatsoever. 

I didn’t know what this meant. That was until I went to go fill up my car with gas and noticed that the price of gas was $5.49 a gallon. Nearly $2 more than most of the other gas stations in the area. I had no choice, though. I was just glad I didn’t stop there for lunch. A club sandwich probably would’ve run me $25.

Late in the afternoon, I stopped for a coffee at a small town called Seligman. There was a  cute motel, a place called “The Roadkill Cafe” and a general store.

I was talking to the guy behind the counter at the General Store and telling him how tired I was and needed the coffee. It was at this point that I had noticed that they had envelopes of rattlesnake eggs for sale.

 I asked the guy if they were real and he said “100%. Arizona has more varieties of rattlesnakes than any other state. We have one open, if you want to see them.” Upon opening the envelope, a spring-powered device makes a rattle-like noise and I must’ve jumped a foot. The guy says “Well, I think you’re awake now.”

The highlight of my day, though had to be the Lowell Observatory. After checking into my hotel and grabbing a bite to eat, I went up to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. The staff was pointing out things you could see with the naked eye, namely meteors and satellites. I had heard that you could see satellites with the naked eye, but I’d never seen one before. I ended up seeing three of them! So cool.

They had a bunch of telescopes set up outside for people to look at various things. I saw a really cool close-up of the moon and the Ring Nebula. They also pointed out the M13 Star Cluster, which is a group of about 300,000 stars that is approximately 25,000 light years away from earth — situated at the edge of the milky way galaxy. Crazy!

But, the Observatory telescope itself was aimed at Saturn tonight. They were explaining that the telescope was built in 1894 and has never been taken apart or cleaned. Through the telescope, you could clearly see Saturn, it’s rings and three moons (which looked like small stars) around the planet. It looked just like a picture in a book. Really cool!

Tomorrow, I’m headed up to the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. I’m really excited. A couple that I was talking to in line was telling me all about Antelope Canyon and it sounds amazing.

It was a great day on the road and I can’t wait for tomorrow!

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