Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This morning we're going to take a little road trip from Greer further east to Nutrioso, Alpine, and Hannagan Meadow.  This drive has always been one of my favorites, but things have changed dramatically because of the Wallow Fire.

But, first, we'll stop for some of the best pancakes on the planet at The Rendezvous Diner.  

I asked the cook for her recipe, she said, "Buttermilk, flour, butter, baking powder."  Hmmm, I'm pretty sure she left out some crucial ingredient that makes these pancakes sing.  Possibly cake flour?  Okay, back to our road trip.

We are now heading out of Greer driving north, we'll turn right on Highway 260 towards Springerville/Eager.  Then we will turn and go south on 191. This is where the pain begins.

This has always been a favorite drive.  The kind of drive to play Bach Brandenburg Concertos and roll down the windows to smell the fresh air, feel the wind on our faces, and absorb the gorgeous sights.  This time, it was more appropriate to play Bach's Cantata BWV 146, the English title: "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God". Fitting.


Heli-seeding in Alpine

That puff of brown smoke in the top left side of the ridge is seeds and mulch being dropped on the barren ground by helicopter.  Isn't that the coolest?  We had seen the smoke the previous day and my heart dropped.  But I was told by our friend, Andy, that heli-seeding was taking place in Greer, Eager, and Alpine.  We watched for about 30 minutes as the helicopter dropped the load, disappeared, re-load, and drop another load of seeds and mulch.  

Escudillo Mountain 

We drove past blackened forest for about 50 miles, meaning there were always charred trees somewhere along the road. For the entire 50 miles. Bless those firefighters.

Hannagan Meadow

Hannagan Meadow was a happy sight.  Still beautiful after barely escaping the fire. Elevation 9100 feet (Greer is about 8500 feet)

Hannagan Meadow Lodge

Hannagan Meadow Lodge, built in 1926, also escaped the fire.  If you're looking for a complete getaway, this might be the place for you.  No phones in the room (one pay phone in the lobby), no tv's, no movie theatre down the road.  And a pretty weak cell signal (I'm not complaining). Just the lodge, cabins, restaurant, and a little market next door.  And the folks who run the place are so friendly.  This is definitely on my list for an overnight stay.

Blue Vista Lookout 

This lookout is about seven miles south of Hannagan Meadow.  You can see straight across to New Mexico (about 15 miles or so).

I love Arizona
We were stuck in construction traffic behind these beauties for around 20 minutes.  The cow refused to make eye contact with us.

Back to Greer.

We stopped at this little spot for a late lunch before we returned back to the heat of Phoenix. I love roadside food trucks.

Frosty Bottom Cafe

The owner, Kristi, told us she made the best sandwiches on the planet.  I love that level of confidence in a cook.

She was right.  Excellent.

Also excellent.

Kristi at the Frosty Bottom Cafe

That wraps up our tour of the Wallow Fire aftermath.  Devastation, absolutely.  Still a beautiful area, definitely.  Worth a trip, yes!

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