Saturday, July 02, 2005

Justin and Juliet's Southwestern odyssey (beta)

Go here for the Kodak Gallery album of the better digital pictures we took. A couple rolls of color film should be online in a week or so, black and white when I get around to it.

Ten days, nine nights, six states (five of which I'd never been to, except airports, which don't count), oodles of fun. Quick remarks:

We spent nearly half our trip (four nights) in Denver at John's house, for several reasons: I felt sick on the way to Denver, Justin got sick the day after we arrived, I found out Grandpa had passed away and I was sad, John wasn't really able to leave Denver and go back to Berkeley with us as we'd planned, and we were really freaking tired. Denver, by the way, is an annoyingly incomprehensible city with no discernible downtown, but it has a couple of good bookstores.

Southeastern Utah (especially Canyonlands and Arches National Parks) was my favorite. I guess it's hard to grow anything there, but the Mormons got a pretty good deal. I also really liked New Mexico. It was all beautiful (well, except for the outskirts of Vegas, which are smoggy and crowded and gross), and none of it was like anything I'd ever seen before.

We used a book called Road Trip USA which has detailed itineraries for a number of routes, on two-lane highways whenever possible. Broadly speaking, we drove due east mostly on US-50 through Nevada and Utah and on to Denver, south to Trinidad, CO and the border with New Mexico, southwest through the Sangre de Cristo mountains to Taos and on to Albuquerque, then west along old Route 66 with a Grand Canyon detour, and back up to the Bay Area in a northwesterly direction through Vegas and the Sierra Nevada.

Say what you will about Hyundais (I guess I've never said anything, but I've never taken them really seriously either), we put our little rented Accent through 3500 miles of hard driving and crazy altitude changes. Water bottles (of which we had many) were popping all the way through Nevada and California.

America is a great country. And it's really big. All these mysterious and beautiful corners of it I'd never seen before. I still think the Northwest is the most marvelous place on earth, but there are so many regions of the country that are lovely in their own way that I can't blame anyone else for thinking their own hometown is the best.


Laura said...

Sounds like you had a great trip! I agree, there are so many wonderful places in this crazy country of ours. I'm always halfway-homesick for about three places at once, while of course loving the place I'm in. :-)

Juliet said...

I totally know what you mean about being homesick for several places at once. I miss Seattle most of all (although I'm not sure I really want to live there again), but I miss Charlottesville and many of the other places I've visited too. We really, really liked the Southwest. Justin now wants to live in a trailer in the middle of the desert in Nevada, which would probably be a little too remote for me, but I could totally dig living in a small or medium sized town in Utah, as long as we didn't have to be Mormons. :)