The backseat is free, and Murphy is making the most of it. Billy, of course, would normally be along if not for his heartworm battle. He’s resting well with Jack and Dusty and Jen and Kona in Carlsbad. Normally Murph is my copilot, and Billy takes up a comfortable curl in the back of the 2001 Saturn. But Murph is stretched out – full out – making the most of the space. Good thing, since the return trip will be a bit more crowded…
From visiting the Pressman Pack in San Tan Valley we needed to get back to the 40 East, and normally when going from Phoenix I’d take some major highways and reconnect, but Siri is our guide, and I’m glad she is. The Bush Highway. Beeline Highway, State 260. AZ-277. AZ-77. A few short in-betweens, and ultimately connected about 231 miles out of Albuquerque, our destination. The route cut off about 45 minutes from the Flagstaff way (which is gorgeous as well!), and takes you through some great highways and a cross-section of this beautiful state’s ecosystems and vistas.
Mount Ord to the East, Mazatzal Peak to the West, through the Tontos and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, with the great ridges all around (particularly to the west), they call it Rim Country. And by now, the reds and browns and yellows have given way to greens and blues. Payson, AZ is where the Beeline offers rest, fuel, and a whole lot of art and fun. With the promise of the best Indian Bread in Arizona (or was it the world?), we pulled in at Sue Malinski’s Western Village, only to learn the fresh-baked goodies aren’t cranked out until the weekend. But Murphy was welcome inside, and outside, where the work of Arizona’s artisans are on display. Everything, everywhere. Metal works, and wood, and books, and cool.
It was time to get a picture with a cowboy hat, and this seemed like the perfect place. You see, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation gets $1 for every #showyourgrit upload between now and Father’s Day. I support this great cause, the work they have done in the decades since The Duke lost his final battle with cancer and made a promise that his name would be used to find a cure one day. So Sue and Murph helped me find a hat and snapped the pic. Show Your Grit.
From there the beauty continued with amazing blue grasslands and northern views of the rims behind us, and then we find our way back to the Mother Road, where we snagged a couple of burgers to go before tooling to the big highway, I-40 into New Mexico.
And Murph rested most of the way. A night in Albuquerque and then it’s on the way to Oklahoma, the state most famous for being the birthplace of Murphy and Billy.
Please don’t slack, wherever you live, on heartworm medicine. Your vet will work with you, as will many shelters and groups, so that money isn’t the reason you fail to give your pet this easiest of monthly treatments which will save their lives and keep your best friend from horrible pain if he/she has to undergo the treatment that’s keeping little Billy from making this trip. Here’s an article that dispels some rumors about heartworms.