Montezuma Castle National Monument’s main attraction is this first large structure along the path, which is said to be more like an apartment complex than a castle.
I’m frugal. I think frugality is what divides the middle class from rich folk. Studies show that the richer people are, the more discerning they are about where and how they spend their money. One day I plan to be extremely discerning, get my drift?
Somewhat unrelated, I decided to spend my money on a National Parks Annual Pass last weekend. This pass grants unlimited access to all national parks and monuments for one year, and I can bring up to 3 people for free. Because I’m frugal (back to that now), I’m determined to get to most out of the $80 I just spent.
And then I drove ten hours to see a small town.
Had I never met Matt, my then-23-year-old neighbor when I lived in La Jolla, I wouldn’t have known to visit this mountaintop town. One day I told him that I liked road trips, and he told me on a next day that I needed to visit Jerome.
It’s on steep hillside with amazing views, he said.
And I thought, when will I ever drive ten hours to see a small town?
Driving into Flagstaff, Arizona
I spent my first night away from San Diego on a friend’s couch in LA. It was a sort of gradual departure into this road trip, as opposed to one big “here I go!”
On my second night I arrived into Flagstaff, Arizona. Initial thoughts were: it’s cold, I’m too old (at 28) to hostel, will all the hostel guests be hippies, and so on and so forth.
Me, hanging out with a very pregnant wild burro more interested in cribbing the boardwalk than saying hello.
In Oatman, Arizona wild but friendly burros roam the streets. Or rather, “street.” Oatman is an out-of-he-way ex-mining town with all of one way through, and it would no longer exist if it weren’t for tourism. It is tiny.
It’s a park-anywhere kind of town with a plethora of gift shops geared toward visitors. Lots of janky junk from China with a few finds in between. I counted two restaurants, no bar and no Starbucks. The U.S Post Office at the end of the town looked like it needed to be condemned (but out here people make it work).
A rough sketch of the miles to come.
One more day before I begin my solo road trip across the Western United States! Somehow I’ve whittled the packing down to a trunk-size wardrobe that will carry me through coastal, desert and mountain climates.
- 60 driving hours (without traffic, and not counting side trips such as national parks)
- 4,000+ miles
- 10+ cities through 7 states
- countless small towns, national parks and side treks
- several headaches
Nobody needs this much stuff. Coco Chanel once said that when one is finished dressing they should take off one accessory – and then they’re ready to step out.
When I’m finished packing for this road trip I’m going to need an XL Hefty bag for everything headed from le trunk to le storage unit. I’ve overdone it once again – and here I thought I was on the minimalist side.
I inherited my first name from a French storybook about a little girl. You might say she had “Colette” first, but she’s fiction and I’m real, so it’s more mine than hers by laws of reality.
My dad – while reading this storybook to my older sister (and I still attached to my mom) – decided I would became a Colette instead of an Emily, or a Jonathan if I’d been a boy.