USA Road Trip No. 1 - San Francisco to New York


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Verse 9: Santa Barbara to the Grand Canyon - Part 2

So we crossed into Arizona and marveled at the epic landscape that unfolded around us and the manmade ephemera scattered by the roadside; a pick up truck balanced on a tall pole, dead motel signs, a large ball covered in peeling silver paint like a bad UFO special effect...

It's very hard to do it justice as the views are so huge - big sky, big landscapes, just breathtaking. As we headed north towards Kingman and our second meeting with old Route 66 we drove in awe past jagged mountains, crazily deformed yucca plants and chimneys of red rock.


We decided to detour north off the Interstate just after Kingman and drive part of the old Route 66 loop. In the low light of late afternoon we came across the dazzling sight of ranks of new, bright yellow and red DHL planes, lined up in precise formation awaiting their first carrier assignments. Elsewhere, dotted around the flat plain of the airport, the rusty hulks of decaying planes faded into their desert graveyard.

We saw another long train travelling across the flat desert, its heavy bulk snaking across the land into the distance.

We lost an hour as we crossed over our first time zone into Mountian Time. Desolate, stunning landscape.

Then we came across the Hackberry General Stores, another quirky old relic from the heyday of Route 66. We had the place to ourselves so we had a good old mooch around despite the fact the store itself was shut. 


We drove on through the dusk, zooming through the wide epic landscape of the Havasupai Indian Reservation.

Sometime after the Sun's light disappeared and the stars appeared in the clear night sky we rolled into the classic Route 66 town of Seligman, a small town lined up along the old road, all kitsch and neon signs glowing in the dark. We jumped out of the car for a quick wander, pulling on our warm winter coats against the bitter wind. Hard to believe that we had been basking in temperatures around 20 degrees C that same morning in Santa Barbara, it felt a world away.


Realising that we hadn't eaten for 10 hours (the landscape was seriously distracting) we decided to escape the biting cold and grab dinner in one of the warm and welcoming diners. Only two were open so we chose Westside Lilo's because it was on the right side of the road. 


The biggest Coke this side of the Colorado River!


Our starter paled in comparison to the table top.


But the burgers hold a place in our top 5 ever best burger list. Surely, for us they were the best tasting burgers on Route 66. And then the unspeakable happened.. The attack of the 20 ft. stag!!!


Luckily we made it out alive, jumped in the car, left some rubber on the track and headed for the final destiny of a long day: The Grand Canyon, where a cosy bed in the Bright Angel Lodge was waiting for us. The closer we got, the less we could see. It was cold, dark and snowy, and with our last ounce of energy we made it to the rim of the canyon. As our plan was to get up before sunrise, we went straight to bed, dreaming of giant burgers, coke and deer.


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