HAPPY TRAILS- DAY 10

This was a kind of mélange day. It began with us heading for Flagstaff with just an idea or two. We first wanted to eat breakfast. We do love diners. Not the kind that has a menu five miles long, but one that has hearty breakfasts and meat loaf on the menu. Carol usually gets a salad at these places, but this time she ordered a veggie scramble. I had a Denver omelet, which back east is called Western Omelets.

After lots of hash browns and even refried beans, we drove into the center of Flagstaff. It is quaint to say the least. It is now a kind of artsy community with lots of curio shops, jewelry, art and pottery. It was extremely entertaining and fulfilling. We bopped into a consignment store and found something that I had been looking for. I found cheap string ties (bolos to the newbies). They had a selection of about five and they were pretty much used. I picked out one with a horse on it and wear it proudly to this minute.

After stops to get iced tea and suchlike, we drove up to the Lowell Observatory. Somewhere in my dark and distant past, I had heard of the place. Who knew that it is connected to the Brahmin Lowells of Massachusetts? Percival Lowell did not want to go into the textile business. He graduated from Harvard with a math  degree. He went into the Foreign Service and was always interested in astronomy. He asked a friend to find him a spot that did not have those newfangled electric lights, somewhere in Arizona. The friend found it right outside of Flagstaff (no electricity and friendly townspeople, somewhat like Rock Ridge in in Blazing Saddles). Lowell established the observatory in 1894. Lowell was fixated on Mars. He photographed shots so Mars for many years and made round clay sculptures as he got more info.

A young man he hired, with no education, found Planet X (then called) which became Pluto. There have been so many discoveries and uses for the ever improving telescopes, some without the ability to see through, just photograph .For instance Lowell took all of the pics of the moon for the landing in 1969. The town is now lit and the observatory now has telescopes on top of a mesa about 15 miles from the town.

The funding for the observatory comes from Lowell’s Trust and still run by the family. It really is something to see. I am sending a picture of one of the older telescopes. It’s really hard to explain how it works.

We were pretty hungry and thirsty by that time. What would we do? Of course, since we do this every time we take a trip, we go to the nearest college. We traveled about one mile to Northern Arizona University. Of course we went to the bookstores, the student union and the cafeteria. The campus seems like it was built yesterday. The kids other than their dress are still pretty much the same. They are concerned about all the abuses that we have been concerned about for years. Their way of protesting is a bit different. Two young ladies (and I did not see them, Carol did and did not feel it was important enough to tell me) were bare chested with black tape over their nipples. They wanted people to sign a petition saying it was o.k. to dress that way. Now, if I were going there I certainly would have signed, at least 10 times.

We spoke to a number of the students to get some kind of feeling about the place. The bookstore is one of the best stops on a tour of campus. We purchased a hat, a t-shirt for a grandchild, and iced tea.

We then went to the cafeteria, where for 11 bucks you can eat till you couldn’t eat any more. They had a great selection for the students, even gluten free stuff. The desserts were wonderful. I must admit that I did have a piece of cheese cake, but did not eat the crust. They even have one of those soda machines that Wendy’s has where you can get an infinite number of drinks.

After a time, we piled into our car and left for Twin Arrows and a bit of a rest. We are going to Sedona tomorrow. Think Pink.

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