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Month: June 2011

Final stretch

Mountains and desert and ocean! Oh, and traffic. Lots and lots of traffic.

The Route 66 portion of Epic Road 2011 is finished and of course it was an epic day.

We started out bright and early on a winding mountain road. We weren’t quite early enough to catch the sunrise but the views were still incredible.

It was quite an adventure. Not something I’d attempt at night but during the day it was definitely worth braving.

The tiny little town of Oatman is home to a bunch of wild burros. They’re the offspring of burros left behind when the gold diggers moved on. They didn’t have any use for them anymore so they left them to fend for themselves. Apparently they’re doing pretty well. They came right up to the car to beg for food.

Once we got through the mountains and entered California we had a nice scenic drive through the Mojave desert. The views were beautiful and there we some fun quirky things along the route.

Graffiti! No we didn’t add our mark. Still never bought any spray paint.

Shoe tree! Apparently whenever a tree grows in the desert people like to throw shoes at it. I didn’t have any shoes I was willing to part with.

My favorite roadside attraction of the day was the bottle cactus ranch.

We had the pleasure of meeting the artist behind the ranch, Elmer Long. He was so friendly. He came out and when we complimented him on his work he said he was still working on it. He also nonchalantly mentioned how the “British TV” had just been out the previous week. Then he regaled us with stories of the cabin he just bought and how the insurance company was making him put a new roof on, among other various repairs.

We chatted for several minutes and I think he could have talked all day. He was just such a nice guy and seemed to love having visitors. The bottle cactus art was neat to see but his friendly chit-chat made it extra special.

It was a good thing we had that nice little break because the last stretch of our trip was spent sitting at red light after red light. Good old LA traffic. I know I’m not the first to bemoan the traffic in the greater LA area but seriously, it took us 4 1/2 hours to go the last 50 miles. Four and a half hours.

That meant that we finally got to the pier and the end of the route just after dark.

End of the trail! Yay!

Family photo on the pier.

A beautiful end to an incredible trip. I can’t believe it’s over. It was quite the adventure and I’m so glad we did it. I’ll write more of my final thoughts and some pointers in case you want to take your own trip down Route 66 in the future. Hint, I highly recommend it.

Oh so grand

Today was basically devoted to the Grand Canyon. How could it not be? One of the natural wonders of the world deserves at least a day. Of course we could have spent a week there and not seen and done everything. The day we spent there was definitely spectacular though.

The Grand Canyon was something I’ve wanted to see my whole life. I’ve been to Arizona and the vicinity more times than I can count and have never been. I’ve always thought that was beyond wrong. I have now officially corrected it. My life feels a bit more complete as a result.

I assume that if you grew up on planet earth you’ve seen a million pictures of this wonder. It doesn’t disappoint, it is every bit as breathtaking as it appears in pictures.

But I know what you really came here for is to see the pictures of us. Right?

Just say yes.

Well good because there are a bunch. And since this is my blog I’m posting my favorites. All of them. Be forewarned, there are a lot. But I saved the best for last.

Just after our first glimpse. Looking at this picture I can still feel the awe I felt as we came around the corner and the canyon came into view. My stomach dropped and all I could do was gasp. Absolutely stunning.

Just chilling on a rock. You know, at the Grand Canyon.

One thing I couldn’t get over was how close you’re allowed to get to the edge. No rails or bars prevent you from just walking off.

Or being an idiot and jumping off. I wonder how many tourists have plummeted to their death because they wanted to get a cool photo.

Not these idiots. At least not today.

Funny story about that picture. We clearly have not played with our camera enough because we could. not. get the timing down. What you don’t see are the 15 outtake photos of us in various stages of landing. Finally some dude came up and offered to take the picture for us. I think he was just tired of my sighs of exasperation.

Family photo.

Fact: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are more delicious at the Grand Canyon. Look it up.

Gratuitous close up of me.

And finally, the hands down best picture ever taken at the Grand Canyon.

Our love? A world wonder all its own.

 

A picture worth almost dying for

Today was our shortest driving distance of the trip so far. That and the fact that a good chunk of original Route 66 is gone between Albuquerque and Flagstaff meant that we spent a decent amount of time on the interstate and made fast time.

That’s not to say that we didn’t have a wonderful time. We made sure to stop along the way for some photo ops.

Owl Rock. Bet you can’t guess why it’s called that.


Tiny little double bridge. I wouldn’t recommend driving through it with anything much taller than our little Accent.

Who can tell me what movie this is in?

The highlight of the day was definitely the Petrified Forest National Park.

Unbelievably gorgeous!

The only downside was it was unbelievably windy.

It was too hard to keep my eyes open long enough to get a picture.

Phoebe was not impressed either. I’m pretty sure if I had let go she would have blown away completely. I’m not really even exaggerating.

Despite almost getting blown over by the gusts of wind I braved going out on a ledge for some pictures.

I didn’t realize Joel was taking my picture but I’m so glad he did. This may be one of my favorite pictures of me ever.

Almost getting blown off a cliff to my death for a photo? Worth it.

The only bummer of the day was trying to visit the meteor crater only to find out it’s completely fenced in. You have to go through a visitor center to see it and no dogs are allowed. Obviously leaving Phoebe wasn’t an option so this was about all we saw of it.

That mound in the distance? That’s it.

In the long run it’s not that big of a deal. Having Phoebe with us has been so fun. I wouldn’t trade this time with her for my own personal meteor crater.

Not that I’d know what to do with a meteor crater if I had one.

Probably charge admission.

But allow dogs of course.

Tomorrow we get to see the Grand Canyon, which is the site I’m probably most excited to see on this whole trip. I just hope the wind calms down so I can get some decent pictures.

You know, looking at the camera with my eyes open.

And maybe not getting blown off the edge. That’d be good too.

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