November 04, 2006

Nature Communed With

REMEMBER BACK IN September when I took a hiatus from the blog for like three weeks? Well, I was here -- and other places in the American Southwest. This photo was taken soon after I arrived at Grand Canyon National Park. It was the first time I had been to the Grand Canyon, and although it is simply a giant hole in the ground, it ... well, it's an extremely impressive hole in the ground.

I went on a driving tour on my trip. Parts of my journey were the same as mentioned in this article in The Telegraph, although I drove in a Chrysler Sebring sedan with an I4 engine. I think I might have preferred the V12 in the Bentley GTC Continental which the Telegraph's guy got to drive. However, no matter what you drive, a driving tour through Grand Canyon National Park and Kaibab National Forest nearby is definitely a great road trip.

I also drove -- entirely by accident -- through Oak Creek Canyon on Arizona Route 89A when heading from Flagstaff to Sedona. This was entirely worth it, however, and provided some of the most scenic driving of my entire trip. I'd also encourage folks to check out the tiny mountain hamlet of Jerome, Ariz. It's about 5,000 feet up and seems built right into a mountainside; it's really rather stunning. Also, for those who prefer going places that aren't built up and touristy, Jerome might fit the bill. Again, I found this place entirely by accident.

Another cool thing about my trip -- this was earlier in the journey -- was my drive from Los Angeles to Death Valley. Much to my surprise, I apparently took the "back way" to Death Valley -- and I can honestly say I don't think I've ever been that alone ever. When you can drive for twelve miles without seeing another car on the road, and get out of the car and hear nothing but your feet on the ground, that's alone. The drive, again due to the lunar-like scenery, was incredible: but I'm glad I bought extra water before heading out.

Of course, I can't write without mentioning my good friends Chris and Mary Kate, with whom I spent an enjoyable weekend, and my good friend Simon From Jersey, who immediately got the joke when I called him from the desert, viz.:

ME: Hey, guess where I'm calling you from?
SIMON: Uh, would that be the World's Tallest Thermometer in Baker, Calif.?
ME: YES!

Anyway, like I said, it was a great trip -- although this does present a bit of a conundrum. You see, I realized after coming home that I haven't yet visited two great swaths of the country: the Old South and the Northwest. I mean, excluding trips to Florida (which were more eastern than southern), the closest I've gotten to the Old South is Fairfax County, Va., which isn't southern at all. On the other side of things, I've visited Eugene, Ore., and Colorado Springs, Colo., but other than that haven't spent ANY time in the Northwest at all. I've never been to the North Central states either. Hell, I've never even been to Wisconsin. Chicago, plenty of times -- that may explain why I've never been to Wisconsin -- but boy.

So I think I'm going to have to plan some trips for those parts of America, just because I probably should. After all, there are 50 states in this great country of ours -- not 30-something.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 4, 2006 08:09 PM | TrackBack
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