Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Thursday 21st April 2011

We made one final stop before leaving Vegas - the Hertz desk, in order to sort out that pesky dashboard message. The nicest woman in the world (genuinely) helped us out. Thankfully we didn't have to switch to a third car, but our gold chariot's filter did need changing. This was done in 30 minutes, and with 35 dollars knocked off our bill we got back on the road, leading to Flagstaff, Arizona.

Flagstaff is great, a small laid back town, surrounded by pine forests and bisected by rail tracks. If you're planning to get somewhere in town, you have to add 10 minutes to the time you would ordinarily expect it to take - over 100 freight trains a day rumble through Flagstaff, and they're all about a mile long. We did a lot of waiting at the level crossing, with the warning bells clanging away.

We drove to the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff. We didn't have enough time to hike down into the canyon (or the right shoes, or clothes, or energy) and instead spent a few hours walking along the South Rim, every now and again staring across the abyss, trying to work out exactly how it had been formed and how old various parts were. George, with her superior understanding of science and geology eventually worked it out and patiently explained it to me, but any member of the National Geograpic society listening to our conversations leading up to that point would have been tearing their hair out at our ignorance. I was more interested in winding up George than learning about the planet, particularly as she had developed a bad case of nerves on our walk along the rim, perhaps understandably given the huge panorama of red cliffs (some with snow unexpectedly clinging to them) and sheer drops (it's about a mile down) in front of us. I cruelly exploited her fear by leaping onto overhanging rocks and insisting she take photos of me with my legs dangling over the edge of the hole. But I got what I deserved, sitting on and breaking the sunglasses I had bought in Le Cumbre in the process.

From Flagstaff we set off for New Mexico and another epic drive of around 8 hours. Gallons more gas pumped, herds of beef jerky gobbled down, thousands of insects smashed on the windshield, cop cars hiding behind bushes on the central reservation, memorial highways, orange suited convicts clearing litter - somehow the hours and miles pass. But turning off a main highway onto another road in New Mexico and they began to pass more slowly. The road was the loneliest in the world: either side, endless, treeless land, barely any other cars, the occasional tumbleweed or red dust storm forcing us to slow down to a crawl. The monotony was broken a couple of times by small desolate towns, all fading paint and peeling rust, not a soul in sight. At least Patagonia had all the rheas and llamas.

We finally got to Roswell. We had been speeding along in order to get to the UFO museum before it closed at 5pm and George was wearing her Battlestar Galactica t-shirt especially. Having unwittingly crossed into a different time zone during the drive we only had about 40 minutes at the museum, but that was long enough to appreciate the place, the surrounding themed gift shops and the bulbous alien headed street lamps along the road. Otherwise, like so many American towns, the commercial centre consists of gas stations, motels and fast food restaurants that are clustered along the highway running through the centre of town. We stayed in one of those motels and at at one of the food joints, a colourful themed bar/restaurant called Farleys, full of superhero and alien memorabilia and huge food portions.

Grand Canyon

154 - posted at 01:36:52


I like to think of us as a couple of young hostellers travelling with a laptop - using it now actually whilst freezing our butts off on a moroccan mountainside. I'm still fuming at having been berated by a young moroccan boy for peeing up against a tree. Have you seen the state of the loos in this country! Hope you guys are enjoyng the good old american bate beans washed down with some pinot grigio in yosemite [sorry G].
Hope you're both well

1: Oli - 21:08:44 on Saturday 23rd April 2011 (permalink)

I feel for the young moroccan boy, getting the wrath of Oli's fury! And yes I think you can still class yourself as a young hosteller with laptop, when Em hits 30, that's when it's all over! I've had to ask for pinot grigio a bit too much on this trip, Rob always tells me it's the only one on the list...

2: GG - 18:44:56 on Sunday 24th April 2011 (permalink)

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