Well I promised you pictures, didn't I? I guess I better get to it.
My cross-country trips from Pensacola, Florida to Washington State and back are usually pretty balls-to-the-walls affairs. I get in the car and go, driving as far as I can in a day so I can make the 2,700 miles as quickly as possible.
But this year I planned on taking the long way home. It was mid-November by the time I left Brewster, and I didn't want to take the usual route which would have had me stair-stepping my way down. The new route had me going down through California all the way to Los Angeles where I'd catch Interstate 10 eastbound. Since I was taking the "scenic route" I asked my friend Gene to come along with me. He'd never even been west of the Mississippi River, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for him to see the country. I picked him up in San Francisco and we meandered from there.
All the pictures are "clickable" if you'd like to see them in a larger format.
Fremont Street Experience. Basically they took the old downtown area and completely covered it with a four-block long arch of video screens. Then, at the top of every hour after sunset, all of the casinos and shops "go dark" and a 20-minute sound/movie presentation is shown. It's very psychedelic. And it's a WHOLE LOT more enjoyable if you're drunk or stoned (although this time I was neither). Those hippy kids from Haight-Ashbury should've moved here. They'd love it. It is pretty incredible. It almost makes Las Vegas (where they'd charge you for the air you breathe if they could figure out how) a place you'd actually want to visit.
Montezuma's Castle National Monument. So we did. It was right on Interstate 17. It's this old, preserved Indian dwelling from the years 1100 to 1300, originally (and incorrectly) thought to be inhabited by Montezuma's people but who were actually a tribe called Sinagua. It was interesting that whoever occupied it built it so high up on that cliff. The only access was via a series of ladders. The dioramas and illustrations showed the Indians living a relatively pleasant, well-equipped life on the edge. Gene and I wondered how they got their furniture and stuff up there. Everybody likes a challenge, I guess.
It took me/us 4,000 miles over the course of six nights to get home. Cross-country road trips are wonderful. We're lucky to live in such a big country with such diverse topography and things to see/do. It's been a long time since I'd done a trip that wasn't one of those, banzai-let's-get-there-quick! fiascos. This one was far more enjoyable. Everyone ought to do it! And I hope you one day get the chance.