Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Same day, overcast and rainy!

Crazy right? When the light breaks through the clouds, the Grand Canyon's colors just explode. Can you see?

Grand Canyon

Here are a couple pics of the Grand Canyon. Was there for two spectacular days and loved every second of it. More to come. For now, look at the pics. I am almost to LA! 2932 miles driven on this trip so far.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Battleship Rock in the Painted Desert/petrified forest

All right. I never thought I'd be able to say I've driven through over 200 million years of history, but today, I say it to your face! Or at least I type it softly into my PDA and hope you read it.

Matt and I got out of our Wigwam and hit the national park hoping to 1: desecrate a national park and 2: steal a piece of wood turned to stone. Well we are failures. Wowed by the natural beauty of fossilized wood that over 200 million years, has absorbed all of the minerals around it and been through being underwater, then locked into rock, and eroded out by wind, these pieces of wood that are now hard as stone, display some of the most beautiful concentrations of color we have ever seen. Each one of these logs keeps on keepin' on, giving the Bee Gees song, 'Stayin Alive' new meaning to me. Honestly it is crazy to think that all of these thousands of logs could have grown as a lush forest in this now barren land. Or that some of these trees were washed down from another state and got caught up in lava, sediment or some other force of nature, locking it there until Mother Nature eroded the sand and silt around it, exposing these beautiful petrified stones for us to see. With so much being locked into the earth in this location, you would think, huh, there should be some old bones. You're right! Dinosaur bones and many artifacts from the Triassic period were found in this park, making the surrounding areas of the national park dinosaur statue crazy. That means in-between all the truck stops and RV Parks on the highways, you will see more than any normal human's share of not classy dinsaur replicas.

If you ever get out to Arizona, this is definitly a stop. as Matt and I started out in the Petrified forest, we drove north to the Painted desert and from 220 million years to just400 years ago, when Pueblo people inhabited the lush desert and water was plentiful to support human and animal life. There were a few really cool things to this end of the park. 1. Petroglyphs, 2. Pueblo ruins, 3. Colors of the painted desert.

Going to certain sites in the park, you're able to see amazing old writings of the Pueblo people. These writings look to us like rudimentary drawings from a kindergartener, but for the Pueblos, those pictures all explained stories and instructions to other peoples as to where to hunt for food, the 3 day walk to the lake, and the ubiquitous 'Jake was here'. Seriously, with my crazy telephoto lense, I was able to get a pretty close picture of some of these awesome petroglyphs and the images of people that the Pueblos chiseled into the rock showed me that the ladies were feminine and the men liked to see themselves as more than well-endowed. And they told the world.

The pueblos were just a neat look into history and to see the ruins made us feel small, insignificant, and very young. We also remembered how small people were back in the day.

And as for the painted desert, truly, this thing doesn't look real. I cannot believe that these colors occur naturally in this landscape and are there for us to take in. When you see beauty this stunning and vast, with colors this drenched, you think a master artisan put it together with some oils, not Mother Nature letting it just be in Arizona! This is one of the most stunning views of any land I've ever seen.

And that my friends is all I can type on my phone while getting carsick in the car. Headed to the Grand Canyon tomorrow.

Petrified forest

Can you see the logs?!

The Teepees

This is at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The next few will be images too.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Interior of wigwam (read El Paso to AZ post first)

This is the inside of my wigwam. Do you see the angled walls? And the wood widdled furnishings? Bold choices abound in the southwest. :)

El Paso to Holbrook, AZ

That's right y'all. I've been in the south for less than 5 months and I'm usng y'all and bless his heart---a lot.

Anyhow we drove today from El Paso through New Mexico on the I-60 into AZ on the I-180. It was AMAZING! Although I thought I was gonna get Freddie Kruger on some ass when we left a hwy whose speed limit was 80 for a smaller one whose limit was 65 mph, I didn't. I was surprised too! Instead, we ended up driving past the VLA (Very Large Array) area, a place in the middle of NM where there sits a cluster of 25 high powered sattelites that shoot into the sky, hoping to get something back from other lifeforms. Tax dollars at work baby. Why doesn't the government just rent E.T. and get some skittles. We all know that's what aliens want. Anyhow, these massive disks, which for some god forsaken reason I forgot to take a pic of and upload--i blame it on a brain fart, been eating a lot of beans with my tex-mex food, were soooo impressive! They were enormous, and would move every 10 minutes or so, and the sound of these disks moving was so slight, you really had to pay attention. Besides that sound, the entire place was absolutely silent. I've never been anywhere that quiet before. America is astonishing. All right, it is except for the name VLA. Someone fell asleep at the wheel on that one.

After that little break out of the car, we kept driving and finally found some food in a town called, wait for it...Pie Town, USA! And what did we eat there? Well I dunno about you all, but I had some scrambled eggs. Good stuff on the, as they advertised, Great Divide. And we ate the peanut butter pie. So rich I almost went into a cardiac arrest, but since we were in the boonies, I didn't know where the nearest hospital was and wanted to get to AZ. So off we went!

Now this picture you see is of the Wigwam Hotel outside the Petrified Forest on old Route 66. If you're a fan of 'Cars' the animated movie, you'd totally fall in love with this place. I see the inspiration for Larry the cable guy's character and the hotel in the movie so clearly, I feel like they should pay me residuals. Anyhow, the huts look kinda scary when you roll up after 8 hours in the car. And the top of the doorframe to enter a wigwam is all of 6'3, so Matt is bending down, so he doesn't bludgen the noggin. Once you enter this luxurious place, you'll notice that none of the furnishings have been changed since 1940, when the hotel first opened. It is a sight! First thing I did when I walked into my teepeen I laughed out loud. There is huge kitch factor here so it makes it very adorable, and to be able to see the Rainbow and Petrified Forests this is totally cool.

I'll post a pic of the interior for you to see too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bank at Fredericksburg, TX

On my way out of Austin and headed to El Paso, Matt, my boyfriend, and I drive through a small early German settlement town. Sure my picture may not be very good, but it is of what looks like an original building and the Fredericksburg bank!

I thought it looked cool. Now let me share with you a little something about TX. Sure I've enjoyed myself in the beautiful city of Austin. I've visited the capitol building, very impressive, and enjoyed the view from Mt Bonnell. This city has a great energy and much to offer. But driving IN texas is the bane of my existence. The other night, after a delicious dinner at this joint right off I-10 in houston, Pappasitos, I get in the driver's seat and take over duties. All is good until I take the interstate that takes us into Austin. This little two lane thing is crawling with troopers. And yes, within 10 minutes of getting on the thing, my Chinese ass gets the flashing lights and the pull over signal. B$tch! All right. Be cool. I give him my license and insurance. He asks if I'm a student? Why am I in such a rush and gives me a printed out 'warning.' The warning states that I was going 10% above the speed limit. Argh. What I really wanted to say was 'Listen my bald headed mo-fo of a trooper, I'm a good girl driving a corolla. Don't you have better things to do? This is costing me valuable sleep time.' But since it was just a warning and not a ticket, I let him off.

A few minutes after I get that first warning and start along my way, on cruise control at 66 mph, I get pulled over AGAIN?!???!!!!!!!???!! This time it is. Because I was pointing out to Matt how 'the Man' pulled over another sorry human being and I slowed down since they were on the side of the road. I didn't switch lanes cause I thought too jerky and dangerous of a maneuver. And wouldn't you know it, I get pulled over for NOT switching lanes unsafely. Oy! Now this guy was nice about it, saying most people don't know it is law to switch left when an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road, but gives me a written warning anyhow. And when was this? The warning was printed all of 16 minutes after my FIRST warning. I am over driving in Texas. God bless texas my ass! Am I gun shy about driving in this huge state? Yes!

And the funniest thing I saw at the capitol in Austin? All the light fixtures in the House of Rep and Senate rooms had beautiful lights, and in every light was the word 'Texas', just in case you forget what state you're in. That picture will come later. It was pretty fun.

Now off to El Paso, the half-way point between Houston and LA! Jeopardy trivia. Uh huh!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bayou outta New Orleans

So my first stop was New Orleans, and yes, I stayed right off Bourbon street. Walking up and down on that street first thing in the afternoon as soon as my boyfriend Matt and I arrived into town was interesting. The street was fairly unpopulated and with all the bars and XXX establishments, it reminded me much of Tijuana. Then we walked along the water, saw the lovely Jackson Square, and came upon Bourbon, in full debauchery mode. Now, it is about 10 pm and the crazies are out. It is the evening before Mardi Gras starts, and there were many people walking up and down the street with their 'Big Ass Beers'. And since the celebration starts the next night, many of the celebrators were out and about practicing how go 'get beads' aka people in their golden years were screaming for beads, begging for empty plastic beer souvenir cups, and a couple people flashed...all for plastic that probably costs all of 2 cents to make in China. Good times.

Today, we decided to see the legendary cemeteries in New Orleans. We started at the St. Louis Cemetery #1 above the french quarter. It was pretty cool as it supposedly housed the corpse of Marie, the Voodoo queen, a chess champ, mayor of New Orleans, and lots more. This cemetery was really spooky but charming, with such interesting graves. For instance, did you know people were buried above ground because it is so wet, if they went below, the rain may wash up their bones? Dogs would love it, sure, but the families, not so much.

Anyhow, we then did an Antebellum architecture tour of the Garden District and saw Anne Rice's house, which is really close to a beautiful and well maintained cemetery in the chic chic garden district.

My take on New Orleans, last night: 'so glad we're outta here in the AM' this afternoon: 'the town is really charming and beautiful, and I love the ironwork all over the homes. And gimme more seafood! Delicious city.'

Bourbon street reeks of despair and mistakes aided by beer goggles, while the rest of the city smells like delicious savory goodness we should all enjoy at least once in our lives.

Next stop, Austin, TX tonight!