[ this end up ]

>Driving to the Canyon of Grandness

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2005 at 12 pm

>**update: scroll down for photos**

In New Mexico I encountered my first elk crossing sign and it was shockingly foreboding. Imagine a deer crossing sign—the deer, head up, prancing, the same pose that people draw Santa’s reindeer in. It looks elegant and graceful, something you almost want to see one merrily hop-scotching in front of your car. An elk crossing sign is much, much different. It’s a giant horned beast, bucking, ready to kill anything in its path. An elk crossing sign is a scary, scary thing. I say this not because it’s necessarily pertinent to the trip as stands, but we passed one on our way out of Albuquerque and the pissed-off beast made me laugh and I just figured I should mention it before we get this thing going again.
    The landscape of New Mexico is burnt and under the haze of thick sun it looks dirty and cheap. It’s not really cheap it’s just that everything you can see is a shade of brown. Where a plant sits, it sits sun-beat and crisp, just by looking at it you can hear how it would sound underneath your feet. For this reason I was glad when the landscape changed to deep red cliffs which were absolutely breathtaking. Sporadically, because we were driving parallel to historic route 66, tacky billboards advertise crappy items and shops we could but never will visit along the way. We pushed into Arizona and I couldn’t wait to see my first tall, pitchfork like cactus. Then I waited and waited and to this moment I’m still waiting. Major disappointment. I was under the impression (damn you Roadrunner and Willey Coyote) that almost anywhere you went in the southwest a large cactus stood to be seen, but, at least along the roads we traveled, not one existed. Eventually we reached the Petrified forest and spent the afternoon mesmerized by the preserved history of millions of years of geological change on earth. Thoroughly amazed and with the sun low we turned northwest to the Grand Canyon.
    In Flagstaff, at our one-millionth taco bell dinner, we discussed our predicament; it was 8:00 and we were more or less at our destination, to drink or not to drink? We pulled out our trusty Let’s Go to see what Flagstaff had to offer in way of nightlife and what we found altered time, maybe not time exactly but certainly our time and certainly my sobriety; dime beer night. A modest $4 cover gained you the privilege of purchasing beers for the price of a bum donation. We found our way down 66 to the host of the dime beers, the Museum Club. As it turns out the Museum Club is one of the finest drinking establishments I’ve ever set foot in, seriously, top five at least. It’s basically a giant log cabin built in 1913. Inside, country music blares out over an all wood dance floor surrounded by knotted, lacquered trees running floor to roof. Brian played pool while I watched playoff baseball, we met cowboys and a very cute cowgirl (whom I overtipped with a minor math mistake, 5 minus 2.50 does not equal 1.50) and we had a blast for many hours and finally, after failing to coerce the cute cowgirl into letting us stay at her house, we left to make camp. I know what you’re thinking, dime beers and driving, how does that work? Let me say this, Brian wore the responsibility hat, he may have wore it backwards but the fucker was on. He may not’ve passed a sobriety test but he wouldn’t’ve* failed by much. Plus we drove on a perfectly straight road thru a national forest, hell the only thing to ever threaten our safety out here would be crashing into an elk and wouldn’t you know it, immediately we almost crashed into an elk. Now I don’t know exactly how big this elk was but I’ll tell it like I remember it, and anyone whose ever argued with me knows how flawless my memory is—this thing took up both lanes, he had a rack (are they called racks, or is that just female and gun thing?) the size of a voltswagon beetle and when we stopped just feet short from this mammoth beast he stood still and stared us down, challenging us to even flash the brights. Even the elk in the sign was scared. Finally he left and we found a nice area to pitch out tent and I fell asleep feeling as though I was in a tilt-o-wheel.
    At some ungodly hour I was awoke by a coyote howling in the distance. Then it howled closer and then, even closer. Then, as I discerned thru his panting, he stopped right outside the tent to howl. Oh fuck I was scared. I wanted to open the tent door to peek but what if he took the opportunity to jump into the tent and rip us to shreds? I just sat there, scared, ear to the side and waited for him to go howl somewhere else, and finally he did. The incident pretty much kept us up and we stepped outside to pack up camp.I;m not sure exactly how fast the wind was gusting but I would guess at least a thousand miles an hour, give or take a few. After battling with the tent, which apparently can double as a kite, we hurled tumble weeds into the road and watched them tumble far down it. I’m not sure the official distance but Brian threw one that must have gone at least a thousand miles, give or take a few. It was great. With that record setting toss we hopped in the car and drove to the grand canyon.

These Indian scratchings are 2000 years old, check the handprint out.
A huge log of petrified wood. It formed when a volcano exploded, covering the trees in ash and killing them but preserving them, then (over lots o lots o years) the tree sucks up some minerals (silca) and turn into stone, but it’s still a tree, so like a rock-tree. Pretty cool.
Distant plantet or earth? You decide.
Very useful sign for all those sand draggers.


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