This entry is part 28 of 29 in the series Coast-to-coast: San Francisco to Savannah

April 28, 2024

Coast-to-coast: San Francisco to Savannah (Part 28)

By Simon J. Lau

Since we’ve been driving west, we’ve been gaining an hour every few days. We’re back on Pacific Standard Time, although our bodies are telling us we’re in Central, if not Eastern, Standard Time. What that means is that Bruno woke me up at 5 AM expecting to be fed and let out. 🌝 I obliged. It was good though; we were able to take a long walk around Holbrook. This town serves as both a gateway to the Navajo Nation, one of the largest Native American reservations in the U.S., and is a short drive to Petrified Forest National Park (which we visited yesterday).

Last night, I seriously considered eating at this Chinese restaurant, Mandarin Beauty. It didn’t even have good Yelp reviews, but I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw the name. Fortunately, I talked myself out of it. I figured there was a non-zero chance that I’d get sick from the food there, and I wasn’t prepared to let that happen.

Today’s drive was relatively short. Since we woke up early and couldn’t check in until about 3 PM, we took this opportunity to visit several towns along the way. First up was Flagstaff, a mountain town. I had a coworker once tell me that when he was in college at the University of Arizona down in Tucson, he’d occasionally make the 4-hour drive to Flagstaff to escape the unrelenting heat in Tucson. I visited Tucson during the summer. It was very hot. However, I don’t think I would’ve driven 4 hours to escape the heat. I think turning on the AC would’ve been easier. 😅

Separately, over the last four weeks, I’ve been drinking mediocre coffee, usually from the hotel lobby in the morning or from McCafe during the day. Today, I treated myself to a cup of good coffee at a reputable cafe in Downtown Flagstaff. I couldn’t believe how much better well-made coffee tastes now. I doubt that this cafe was particularly exceptional, but rather, I suspect my taste buds have been deprived of good coffee for so long that something slightly better now tastes amazing!

Later, we stopped by Williams, known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon.” Jean, the boys, and I stayed here in 2022 when we visited (you guessed it!) the Grand Canyon. It’s a cute town and one of the few Route 66 towns that’s still thriving.

This was also where I found my favorite Airbnb. (First photo in this section, the colorful unit on the right.) The owners purchased this building, a former commercial laundromat and warehouse, and converted the laundromat into housing. 

I loved this unit! It was a giant studio (and when I say giant, it was huge). There was also a garage door, and since I had brought my motorcycle and collapsible motorcycle carrier, I was able to open the garage and place everything inside at night. I liked this setup so much that I’ve told Jean that if we can ever swing it, I’d like this garage setup in our next home (I’ve seen something similar to this in San Francisco). This was hands down my favorite Airbnb! (Second photo in this section taken in 2022.)

Despite our numerous pit stops, we arrived in Kingman around 2 PM. I’ll have more to share about it tomorrow! Since today marks the last night of my trip (we’re making the long haul to San Francisco tomorrow), I decided to find something exceptional for dinner.

There’s something called the peak-end rule in psychology that suggests people primarily remember and judge an experience based on its most intense moments and its ending. I don’t control when the peaks arise, but I can control how this ends. In this case, I had a wonderful time hanging out with Bruno on this large open patio, enjoying this flatbread pizza and beer. The weather was a tiny bit toasty, but under the shade, it was perfect. It also helped that this restaurant had $4 23 oz beers and $10 flatbread pizza specials. Unbelievable how affordable and good this was!

The restaurant, Rickety Cricket, had this awesome mascot of a guy on a Norton motorcycle. I loved it!

Finally, our route from Holbrook to Kingman (237 miles or 381 km).

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