Posts Tagged ‘Grand Canyon’

PART 5 – ON THE ROAD WITH DAVID AND SANDY – CALIFORNIA, HERE WE COME

I remember thinking that this must be the ultimate goal of David’s trip, the Grand Canyon, but it turns out that we had only just begun!

My Impression of the Grand Canyon - 36"x24" - Acrylic - $900

When it finally got too dark and cold to safely wander around the edge of the canyon, we drove down to the IMAX theatre and watched a fabulous movie about the discovery of the Canyon. We stopped just outside the populated area, got out of the car and looked up at the stars.  There were no other cars on the road and no lights from anywhere but the sky.  The brightness and abundance of stars was incredible.  We just stood there in total silence and awe and looked at the heavens.

Then it was back on the road.  We had thought about going to Las Vegas (we could see a glow in the distance from all the lights on the Strip), but decided to just keep on to California.  I wasn’t much help driving, kept falling asleep.  Poor David was exhausted when we finally found a room in Barstow at 4 am. This time we each had our own double bed, so we slept soundly and comfortably (and with no more embarrassment!).

I woke up around 8 and David finally got up and was ready for us to leave the Motel 6 by 11!  I like to let him go at his own speed since he is the one who knows how much strength he has on any particular day.  The way the past few days have gone, though, I think he has a lot more energy than I do!

Kind of interesting for me to visit this desert town, since years before I had almost moved here.

We drove into what we assumed was downtown Barstow and had breakfast in a little cafe that seemed like a favorite hangout.  The locals were right: it was nice and not too expensive.  We drove through lots of desert and mountains and it was neat.  Kind of pretty in its own way but very dry.

On our way to Los Angeles and I grew more excited. Hard to believe I finally made it to California and LA after all these years of hoping to come here.

I guess I am having a few of my own miracles on this trip.  Excited to be in California for the first time, not knowing that in years to come I would return many times to visit my precious kids who both live here!

Thanks to David, I am experiencing all kinds of new places and people.

To be continued…

Part 4: On the Road with David and Sandy – The desert nomads

You know how you envision a cheap-y motel on the outskirts of a small desert town (especially one adorned with pink neon)?  Well, the room is even funnier.

The temperature outside at 11 p.m. in Gallup, NM, was about 40 degrees – inside the room was maybe 10 degrees warmer.  The décor was all velvet-painting-meets-Southwest ugly and…there was only one bed.  Now David and I were great friends, we were tired and cold and hadn’t slept in a bed in 2 nights, but it was still kind of awkward.  He was gay and I was a straight mother of two grown children.  We were too weary to quibble about it, just jumped under the covers turned our backs to each other and clung to our sides of the bed.  I remember hearing him say, as I dozed off:  “if you roll over and touch me, I’ll scream like a girl!”  I reminded him of the manager’s warning and we both drifted off to sleep.

The next morning we decided to find a nice local coffee shop for breakfast and located one that looked promising – lots of cars in the parking lot, so it must be good, right?  When we walked in, we felt every eye in the place on us.  We were in a strictly local native-American diner and the food and service was great. However, I guess we weren’t exactly a couple they typically served every day!

Anyway, after breakfast, we were back on the highway and decided to take a side trip through the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest.  Stopped in to the visitors’ center, bought a few post cards and a handful of semi-precious stones (which would prove to be my favorite souvenir throughout the trip) and watched a movie on conserving the environment.  In other words, don’t steal the petrified wood.  Drove around a bit, looking at  trees-turned-to-stone on the ground and some beautiful and colorful scenery.

Shortly after we returned to the main highway, we had a flat tire!  We both tried to loosen the lug nuts and replace the tire with the spare, but didn’t have a whole lot of luck. Looking forward on Interstate 40 and behind us, we were literally in the middle of nowhere.  Very few vehicles passed us and there weren’t even any billboards to help us gauge where we were!

Thankfully, we had a borrowed cell phone from friends (this was before I had one of my own) and were able to call AAA for assistance.  We waited for an hour or so, playing backgammon in the car and sweating profusely in the mid-day desert sun.  Eventually a truck pulled up and the driver said he would place our car on the flatbed of his truck and take us to the nearest town where we could get the tire repaired.

AAA to the Rescue

That town was Holbrook, Arizona, home of the WigWam Motel (“sleep in a tee pee”).  The gas station where the AAA guy was assigned said they weren’t able to repair the tire and we would have to buy a new one – which of course they did not carry.

Our driver piled us back into the front seat of his truck and drove us over 100 miles to Flagstaff.  He said he wanted to take a drive anyway and regaled us with stories of the Arizona desert, the UFO sightings, his wife, and finally dropped us off at the Flagstaff Mall and a Sears store where we were able to purchase – of course – two tires.

Our goal for this particular day was the Grand Canyon and it was an absolute must on David’s list of places he wanted to see.  The guys in the tire department showed us a shortcut to the canyon and we arrived at the south rim in time to enjoy the awesomeness of the place and to see a fabulous sunset.

I’m not sure which was more inspiring:  the Grand Canyon in all its glory, or the look on David’s face when he realized he had reached this wonder of nature that he had always wanted to see!  Another miracle on this journey of miracles.

We made it!

To be continued…

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