(From my Grand Teton trip journal; first of many, posted as I have time to go through them.)

May 17, 2003
Sunset Crater
Flagstaff, Arizona

En route to Wyoming.

For the record, my second trip to Wyoming. Was there when I was 14, as part of a poorly-planned, poorly-run Girl Scout trip, during which I had few friends and acquired body lice and left my wallet behind the day I went to the rodeo intending to buy a cowboy hat.

That’s the trip on which I fell in love with the West, unlikely as it seems. 🙂 Grew up a lot, too. And the memory of driving through miles and miles of purple-gray mountains is with me still.

This time we’re heading specifically to the Grand Tetons, rather than trying?like on that first trip–to cover all the ground between New York and Wyoming in just a few weeks. Larry and I left Tucson around 8, intending to give ourselves three days for the drive north.

A few miles south of Flagstaff–just a few hours from home–the car started smoking.

Cooled the car down, then spent several hours in Flagstaff trying to find a mechanic open on a Saturday to check things out. The immediate culprit turned out to be a minor problem with the transmission fluid dipstick–but then Larry spotted a small brake line leak as well. Given the thousand miles and inevitable steep grades ahead of us, we decided we needed to get this fixed now.

Where “now” means Monday or Tuesday, when the part comes in.

On the plus side, we could have been stranded in Phoenix. Flagstaff is actually a pretty nice town, one we don’t explore enough, given that we’re usually passing through on our way to somewhere else.

So we found ourselves a campground, just outside the city, near the once-volcanic Sunset Crater and its lava flows. The soil beneath or feet and tent is dark and pumice-y; it crunches beneath our feet.

Not Utah (planned stopping point for the night), but hey. (My inner 14-year-old is amused. _Her_ family would have stressed out over this sort of thing, big time. It’s nice to be a grownup.)

Camp food: Ramen noodles mixed with powdered spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, cheddar cheese, and canned turkey.

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