Road Trip#1 – Part 4

Fine, for that I’ll be leaving California. We head back through Tonopah and turn south for Las Vegas. Neither of us cares to stay there so we turn north for a little distraction at Valley of Fire State Park. Passing Lost City Museum we decide to stop. These little museums, out in small towns, usually haven’t caught my attention. But that is unkind. There are always stories to tell, some are larger and some are smaller and all of them take the effort of people willing to share. This museum covers the history of the local peoples, which dates back further than I expected. We are impressed with the presentation. Highly recommended, but maybe not in July.

Into Valley of Fire. If you haven’t been rock hopping in southern Utah or Northern Arizona then this is an impressive park. And it is a very interesting park, until you throw in the tourists. I know, I know, they don’t speak English well so signs like “Stay on Path” and “Stay off rocks” don’t mean much to them but it hurts. The desert is actually quite fragile and does not recover quickly, if at all. I’m bummed and want to leave. She’s accepting and we start to head out. Then I notice the full moon and start looking for favorable compositions. Finding what I think will work we park and wait. We talk to a couple of ladies from Germany for a while with the conversation eventually coming around to why we are waiting there. They decide to wait longer. Finally the moon does rise enough to get the shots I want. I scramble around on some rocks (that have no signs) and eventually also in the road. No, no sex, but little traffic. With enough bytes recorded it is time to leave. While I was shooting I had noticed an older Asian gentleman stop and take some pictures of the ridge we were looking at. It was pretty with the setting sun, but I could tell he didn’t have the right angle to catch the moon rising (a much better shot). He then got in his car and starts to go past us. I (carefully) flag him down. I could tell he was flustered for a moment but I simply point to the sky, he looks, pulls over and was himself soon in the middle of the road. I felt better.

And possibly in apology, just before we hop back on the Interstate, there are fireworks going off behind us. We stop and watch.

It is back through Las Vegas for us, but no stops. Our choice of spending our hard earned money is not consistent with this town’s. No matter. We quickly come to the realization that our Rand McNally is aging and may not be the reliable partner it once was. I am driving on the I11. The I11? It isn’t on my map and wasn’t here the last time I was through. Ah, but progress marches on and leaves memories in its wake. I remember when you drove over the top of Hoover Dam. My dad remembers when it wasn’t even there. My kids, I wonder what they will remember?

It is time to find the next green dotted road. As we enter Kingman we could jump on the I40 and speed into our future. Instead we jump on Route 66 and speed into the past. What a hoot. Windows down, it would be a great time for a convertible, we cruise the 50’s and 60’s. Past year’s detritus is scattered endlessly along the shoulder of this road. And rummaging around in it are tour busses disgorging endless curious interlopers. We drift through.

We continue to follow the green dots. Seligman offers a chance to jump on the interstate, but not for long. At Williams we can turn north and we do. It is time to visit the South Rim. And if you have to ask, that means the Grand Canyon. And if you aren’t impressed then you are probably from Mars. This green dotted road ends in Tusayan, sort of. You can park in the park, but I don’t recommend it. Yes, it is crowded. It is far easier to park in town and catch one of the shuttle busses into the park. They have set up a really good system. Much easier. And it is easy to spend many hours wandering the rim, taking trails down and back up. I am also anticipating trying to catch the full moon in this wonderful setting. Finally, sitting, waiting, talking with the crowds; she rises. Very impressive to be there, but I’m not sure the pictures will do justice. Back to town; avoid the elk browsing, grab a bite to eat and we are again cruising.

To our final destination, Tucson. We did return, but that is another story.

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