The road less traveled from Yellowstone to Phoenix is Historic Highway 89 and takes us past the forest of stone at Bryce Canyon National Park which we visited just last year and past Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort. This, of course, has us singing all the wonderful lyrics to Harry McClintock's 1928 song.
And we've already chosen the place to stay on our next visit: the Caboose Village Train Cars.
Since we're in the neighborhood, we visit the Glen Canyon Dam, a concrete dam on the Colorado River near Page, AZ. The 59-story elevator was out of commission, so we are limited to magnificent views from the top.
The scenic drive through Sedona, AZ is inspiring and
we stop at Montezuma Well, highly recommended by our new Yellowstone friends, to see the cliff dwellings and the spring providing 1.5 million gallons of water each day.
Phoenix and the Men's Final Four are definitely on the beaten path and we enjoy all the hubbub that surrounds that amazing event. But when heading east for home, we opt to avoid the hubbub of I-40 and stick to US Route 60 for 750 miles across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas as far as Amarillo.
Taliesin West (Frank Lloyd Wright's desert laboratory) in Scottsdale and the Gammage Memorial Auditorium in Tempe are two must-sees as all Wright buildings are. The origami chair in the Bachman-Wilson house is not for sitting, so Kelly takes advantage of this opportunity to sit in this cool chair designed for the living room of Taliesin West in 1949. (Something tells me an origami chair will soon be on Kelly's list of woodworking projects.)
We notice the numerous Arizona copper mines along Route 60 and the trucks carrying the heavy metal.
We drive down and back up through the magnificent Grand Canyon-like Salt River Canyon.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is visible from Highway 60 but, alas, is open for tours only one day per month.
Driving through Fort Sumner, NM prompts discussions about NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility and the Billy the Kid Museum but we stop at neither.
We come across a train derailment in Melrose, NM about 30 minutes after a BNSF freight train collides with a tractor trailer.
Approaching Clovis, NM, we spy other roadtrippers who have chosen the road less traveled.
We stop in Clovis, NM at The Lunch Box for - you guessed it - lunch and anonymously pick up the tab for a couple of American heroes seated near us, air force personnel from Cannon Air Force Base.
We love taking the long way home and creating a boomerang-shaped trip map.