Last night while I was writing my blog, I suffered from an embarrassing moment. I had originally planned not to share this story, but I might as well give everyone a laugh at my expense. As I mentioned, Lauren and I stayed with her cousin, Aly, last night in Vail. I had a hard time adjusting to the altitude so I stayed in when they went out to dinner. We had been watching a comedy on HBO and when they left I muted it so that I could type my post. While I was writing Aly’s roommate, Max, got home. He came into the living room and introduced himself and we started chatting. I glanced up at the TV and realized that Melissa McCarthy was no longer causing trouble with her alcoholic grandma! Instead there was very explicit porno movie on! Poor Max came home to find a complete stranger camped out on his couch and porn playing on the TV. I was completely mortified. Needless to say, things could only get better from there. And today got so much better!
We had another early departure this morning. We stopped at a cafe with the most delicious-looking selection of donuts that I have ever seen. They even had maple bacon and fruity pebble! I made it a personal goal to drive all the way from Vail to the Grand Canyon myself, which is about 11 hours. I succeeded! As some of you may know, I do not enjoy driving, but I have really found my inner driving zen during this road trip!
The Colorado/Utah borderlands are awesome (in the real sense of the word). There are huge rock cliffs on all sides and the rock itself is purple/red. These pictures don’t show the actual hue.
Experiencing this type of landscape was emotionally moving to me. It is what I imagine people feel when they see the ocean for the first time. Surprisingly, I had more of a reaction to these purple mountains than I did to the Grand Canyon, although that was unbelievably beautiful too.
As we headed deeper into Utah the landscape changed again. Although there were still huge rock formations they were more free standing. Some of the rock was still a red color, although less purple than in Colorado. Without visiting in person, it is impossible to understand exactly how massive these rocks are.
We drove past several national parks, including Arches and Canyonlands, but we didn’t have the time to stop and explore them. However, we spontaneously decided to take a detour to Four Corners Monument. We stood on the corners of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah! Talk about being in two (or four) places at once!
Interestingly, the monument is located on Navajo territory. The Navajo Nation recognizes daylight savings time, whereas the state of Arizona does not. Lauren and I still can’t figure out how to tell time in this state!
Now that I have driven out West and begun to explore a bit I am absolutely certain that every American should do this. It really gives you an appreciation for the diversity of our country. However, I also learned that one thing is the same everywhere. Road rage. No one warns you that the two lane highways in Arizona rarely have passing lanes. So instead, cars pass each other nonstop. I have never seen anything like it! I even got sucked in and was getting angry at cars for going the speed limit! (It’s hard to drive 65 after you’ve gotten used to an 80 mph speed limit!) On the 160W I was in a line of four cars and one after another we all passed a foolish law abiding citizen. It felt like I was in the Fast and the Furious!
During my speed racer phase, we made good time heading toward the Grand Canyon. When we arrived we checked out the first overlook. It is pretty touristy with food services and a general store. Even so, the view is spectacular. Nothing can explain how massive the Grand Canyon really is. I feel like I haven’t been able to process all of the things that I have seen today because everything seems so much larger than reality. The fact that nature is responsible for all of it is even more amazing to me.
After the first overlook, we moved on to the others and found them to be much better than the first. Every angle has something different to see.
At our favorite overlook, Lipan, we decided to watch the sunset. It was amazing. The sun setting over the cliffs and casting shadows creates an entirely unique view. If you haven’t gone to the Grand Canyon yet, then just go. Really.
Tonight we are staying in a small town outside of Sedona called Cottonwood. In the morning we are heading toward Lauren’s final destination, San Diego! My only hope for our final day of travel is that I get my picture taken with a saguaro cactus!