June 23: A small drive

I got up early in the morning. Mr. Michael, father of Mr. Don, was already working. I went out of the house. The sun is already high in the sky, and the air is very refreshing. We took breakfast on the pool side. Mrs. Mayumi prepared a very nice Japanese food including miso soup with ingredient of deep-fried bean curd and "fu" (bread-like pieces of dried wheat gluten), fermented soybeans, and even pickled vegetables. Furthermore, Mrs. Thea, the mother of Mr. Don, kindly prepared a dish of mashed yam potato and Tabbuli for us. This Tabbuli is originated in Lebanese cooking. It is getting hotter outside after 8 a.m.
Around 9:30, Mr. Don, & Mrs. Mayumi, my husband and I started four-days-drive to Grand Canyon. Thea kindly advised me not to forget bringing a hat and a sun glass with me and saw us off for a long time. A few minutes drive takes us into such a landscape dotted with reddish brown colored houses. I saw many cactus like electric light pole here and there.
The plain extend as far as eye can reach. I saw many traffic signs like "river" or "creek" and pass over the bridges without fail, but I didn't see any trace of water in the riverbeds. Still there are many houses. I wonder how they get water, by digging well? The electric poles run across the plain and hill, vanishing into the horizon.
The soil suddenly turned red, and the scene that I have long been waited to see is approaching. Beside famous Grand Canyon, we can see many unusual points of interest. This is a red rock mountain in Sedona, Arizona. Literally, red lump of rocks are extruding into the deep blue sky.
This is a layer of rocks. There are many kinds of the red colors, making a horizontal striped pattern. Many shopping stores are along the road. This is a big point of interest.
This is a church constructed on a rocky hill. The big cross is easily spotted from the streets of Sedona. The entrance is located on the opposite side. Under the cathedral is a gift shop crowded with visitors. Most visitors enter the cathedral after crossing themselves at the entrance. Red rocky hills and deep blue sky offer the best photo opportunity to the visitors everywhere in the sight. There are many houses matching with red hills.
Next stop is an overlook of Oak Creek. This bridge is called "Midgley Bridgely." A clear stream runs far down bottom of the creek. Many people enjoy swimming or playing in the water under the shade of the thick forest.
A cactus flower on the cliff. You will be surprised to find unexpected numbers of flower by a close look. I am very happy to look many flowers like poppy, unknown pink or yellow flowers.
We still continue to climb. The vegetation slowly changes from arid plants to pine and other forage accompanied by bush and low grass. The altitude of the point is about 2,000 meters.
This is a overlook called Coconino. There are many Indian souvenir shops along the pass from the parking lot to the scenic view point. They sell many kinds of lovely accessories of turquoise and native potteries. The wind blows so strong that I have to hold my hat firmly. In the bottom of the valley runs a clean stream. I saw Japanese family tourists after a long time.
We are approaching today's destination, Flagstaff, at the foot of the mountain ahead. You may see white snow cap at the top of the mountain, a part of "San Francisco peaks." The highest peak in Arizona state, Humpherys, stands 12,643 ft, 60 meter higher than Mt. Fuji in Japan.
We stayed at Days Inn in Flagstaff, reserved by Mr. Don. I was told to wear a long sleeve shirt when going out for diner. The wind is strong and the temperature is cool. I am now in a city of 2,000 meters altitude. A rail road runs across the street. Sometimes I see a long freight train which jerks along noisily. We took Mexican dinner because we feel some smell of Mexican atmosphere in this town. The dish is a traditional one with soft Tacos, ground pea, and meat. I also took a bottle of Mexican beer called Bashixico. I am sorry to drink in front of Mr. Don. It was good for my thirsty throat. We look around nearby supermarkets to buy food for tomorrow breakfast. In the clear sky, a lot of stars were twinkling quietly.

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