Yarn, Yorkshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Posts tagged ‘Arizona’

Getting our kicks!

The town of Williams where we were staying was the last town on Route 66  to be passed by the new freeway. The town makes the most of its’ heritage, although maybe a little kitch? We loved it! First we could walk round the town at night from the motel- no need to get in the car just to cross the road. Next I am a big John Steinbeck fan. The Grapes of Wrath tells the story of a dust bowl family in the 1930’s who were tractored off their land- ie the tractors just came along and knocked down their home, in the interests of big agri business. The family along with many others makes the long and difficult journey from Oklahoma along Route 66 to California, tempted by handbills offering work picking crops- peaches, grapes, cotton, oranges. When they arrive, after loosing three family members along the route, they find that rather a lot of other people had the same idea. Which means that what work there is , is at a barely subsistence rate. Then the rains come! The ending of this book caused such an outcry at the time that it was banned,and Steinbeck was suspected as being a Communist.

Also we are children of the 60’s so we just love the Rolling Stones, so route 66 was definitely on our road trip agenda.

So here is Williams- enjoy it for what it is!

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When the freeway was built, the old Route 66 was abandoned, signs taken down, and places left to become derelict. Whoever made this decision got things wrong. Lots of people want to travel down route 66. So signs have gone back up, and if you have a suitable vehicle and don’t mind the odd pothole, you can still get your kicks.

So we left Willaims for our next destination, back across the desert (104F!) , determined to find a small section of Route 66 suitable for the car with no name. Marylou (sat nav,GPS) had been given another chance to do things right! Humph! Within a mile she tried to turn us round, and so on every exit she tried to turn us round, every gap in the central reservation she suggested a U turn. She was silenced before to long. And then…

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Oh yes!

And then we filled up here

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And paid here

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But didn’t eat here

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We did drive a bit of the old road before we thought about the car hire agreement and potholes and came back again!

Love to have any comments…

to be continued

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OH WOW!

I struggle to find the words to write about our destination the far side of the desert.. I find that the English language or rather my vocabulary just isn’t up to the task of giving a good description, so instead of attempting some inadequate words to describe what we saw I am going to write about how it felt. Because to me this place was all about feeling!

Imagine us in the car with no name, 8.30 in the morning. Mary Lou has been given new maps and Eric has her busy looking for a route. After two minutes she has proudly announced that she can’t find a route!!!!!! WHY- we are on a straight road for 50 miles with no turnings! Mary Lou tries again and again. I ask why are waiting for Mary Lou to tell us where to go, it’s a straight road. Eric is testing her apparently. She’s testing me! Eric silences her. Bliss!

The road climbs steadily for 50 miles, through more desert and then through trees which become a forest. The temperature is dropping steadily- 86F when we start down to 68F when we finally reach the entrance, pay our admission charge and drive to a car park. We can’t at this moment see what we have come to see.

We leave the car park and walk and arrive.

I am completely and utterly overwhelmed. I find that there are tears pouring down my face. I am so overcome with the magnificence of what I see, and now is where I wish I had the adjectives in my vocabulary to share what it looks like and what it feels like. So look…

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and again

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I am thanking goodness for my new sunglasses so people can’t see that I am crying. ( NB I think they are quite glamorous, husband says I look like a gangster! Humph pirate, now gangster, you can count on a chap for complement).

One of the things I like about traveling is the conversations you get into with strangers. The bloke next to me starts to talk about hiking  and how hot it is etc etc. I try to explain that I am finding it hard to talk at the moment, bit overwhelmed, crying.. He says, it does effect some people like that, kinda spiritual hey? Well yes I think that may describe my emotions, but somehow it is more than even that. The place feels sacred.

It is indeed the Grand Canyon. The name begins to annoy me- grand is too ordinary a word, it conjures up images of Duchesses or Buckingham Palace. These are Grand. But here, no it really needs a better name, an older name.

What do you think-Look again

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Eric is in photo opportunity heaven. Most of the day he is looking like this

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with a happy smile all day long. And most of the day I do this

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and this

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and this

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and some of the time I wonder at the other people who are here. Walk, shoot,leave,walk,shoot leave. Why don’t they do this?

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Stop,Look    FEEL!

Maybe they do…

We come back for more the next day, minus Mary Lou who is left behind in the motel in disgrace! Give me a paper map any day.

I am better prepared and more composed, so no more tears. And I agree to posing for this

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Eric tells me wistfully of the train that comes from town we are staying in all the way to the Grand Canyon, and sometimes they stage a robbery on the train and have a hold up!

I agree to pose here too.

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Although I do feel a bit self conscious!

Now apparently you can hike to the bottom of the canyon which is a mile deep and five miles wide and many, many, many miles long. But it takes five hours down and the temperature would be in the 100s and you probably wouldn’t make it back up. You can however go on one of these chaps.

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Mules! Aren’t they lovely? Much bigger than I expected, more the size of a small horse than a donkey.

And I am much taken with this

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Traditional Indian weaving. And I am wondering what the Indian name for the Grand Canyon is and the people who were here before the Europeans arrived, and am gladdened that land was given back.

And this replica building catches my attention

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And I wonder why so many Americans I talk to on my travels seem to envy the English heritage. There is a wonderful heritage  here too, it’s just not old buildings, and Kings and Queens.

And then there is the Colorado river which caused this wonderful place.

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But mostly I do this

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And so ends two wonderful days. Tired of leg and with heads full of what we have experienced we head for the car park.

But where is the car with no name. I am sure we are in the right place. Husband says this is the wrong place there is no car. There is a red car. That is not our red car. We can’t face the walk to the wrong car. Try the car key- press the lock button. The red car cries beep, I am the car with no name! Oh Wow, thank you car with no name.

to be continued…all comments and thoughts welcomed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Horse with no name

So the road trip began after three goes over Golden Gate Bridge. There was a slight discussion re the route- should we drive through Death Valley? Not a good idea in the type of car we had hired and good sense prevailed and we drove via the Mojave desert. Now a long time, well actually a very long time ago I have seen the Atlas mountains and that was the closet I have got to desert, so this road trip was quite a new foray into the world for both of us. After a little while my husband was humming- I’ll call it humming to be polite- he says it was either the tune for a Fistful of Dollars or the theme from the Magnificent Seven- I really couldn’t say! What was going through my head were the words- A horse with no name… something about rain. Husband denied there being any such song. Thank goodness for the Internet and for the small laptop husband needs on all trips( actually jolly useful for the booking and selecting of motels whilst on the road). Anyway there is such a song- yah sucks- called A Horse with no name, sung by a band called America and indeed the chorus runs

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name

It felt good to be out of the rain    (nb York was flooded at this very time- so most apt!)

In the desert you can remember your name

Cause there ain’t no-one to give you no pain ( given the rotten time I had at the start of this year, also most apt)

So this leg of the journey is titled A  Horse with no name- even tho there is no horse but a car. Come to think of it although the satnav (GPS) quickly revealed herself to be called Mary Lou, the car didn’t have a name- worse than that very little personality or indeed anything to help us recognize her- we did loose the car in car parks on more than one occasion, including one spot in which it was the only car of the right colour and both of us saying that’s not our car- and it was. Anyway that’s why the title is what it is. Oh and here is the car with no name

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That would be the red one by the way.

The first thing that we observed on the journey was this sight- now the UK government might bang on about alternative energy supplies but we ain’t seen anything like this here

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We were impressed. Now it was getting a bit hot by now and we needed a comfort break, so came off the road and over a bridge to a rest area. MaryLou informs us in no uncertain terms that “YOU ARE GOING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!” It made us laugh anyway!

Sometime later and with temperatures in the 90s, thank goodness that the unnamed car had air conditioning, we stopped for lunch here

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The 20 mule cafe. The BLT was nice, but with a name like that research was called for. The 20 mule team (misnomer-it’s 18 mules and 2 horses) pulled Borax across the desert from 1883 to 1889! So now we know.

And here’s where we stopped the night- one of a lot of motels we stopped in- all of which look the same on the inside, only the degree or wear and tear and cleanliness and noise helps us tell them apart. Actually there were all ok!

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And here’s sunrise the next day- Eric’s photo

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And off we go again and the temperature rises, and I get worried about how much- or rather how little water we have, and the car thermometer reads 102F. So we stop for some shade. Mary Lou has now gone on strike or run out of maps, and my map of California is no use cos we are in Arizona now! The rest area has maps on display so I can see exactly where we are heading and note how to get there. That night we download more maps for Mary Lou.

Anyway by now I have fallen in love with American trucks- so unlike our European lorries and just so gorgeous. I know – you now agree with Eric that I am weird. But look..

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Aren’t they just lovely- that’s our car too I think!

And boy is it hot

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One great thing about holidays is that I get time to READ- I read my way through the 5 books I took, plus Eric’s Rumpole. By now I had read – re-read, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, and the opening scene includes a sand tortoise, so I am hugely excited to read in the rest area that they are an endangered species hereabouts and must be well treated- I was very sad not to see one. As you can see there isn’t one in the picture but I did look.

Did I mention it was hot

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It was strange in these rest areas- everyone was so very quiet, as if talking was just too much effort. Everywhere else we got into conversations with fellow travelers but not here. That’s one of Eric’s pictures too as is the last one here

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I just had to show this one with my improvised sun hat, made from the scarf I had taken with me- just had not thought of taking a sunhat, I thought I looked quite glamorous- Eric said I looked like a pirate. Humph!

I loved the desert bit of the road trip, once we had got out of it- for the return leg we had plenty of water and a full tank of petrol, so I was completely happy then.

Can’t wait to show where we had got too….to be continued.

All comments really welcome. Love to know if anyone else has crossed the desert, by car or horse…

 

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