A Travellerspoint blog

June 2015

Vegas baby!

WTF Though

sunny 105 °F
View Road Trip!!!!!!!! on shari36's travel map.

This morning we went back to the South rim of the Grand Canyon for one last glance before leaving. It would seem we had a harder time leaving than anticipated and we ended up staying there until early afternoon. We just couldn't get enough of it, it's so incredibly beautifully amazingly gorgeous and sexy and OMG I don't know how to describe it, just look at our pictures, it's so pretty.

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When we finally left and started heading to Vegas we got distracted again, while passing the Navajo Nation reservation, there were scattered booths along the highway selling all sorts of really cool handmade jewelry and other pretty stuff. I bought a dream catcher and a really pretty beaded bracelet with feathers on it, the girl who made it said the feathers are supposed to carry our thoughts and prayers with us which is pretty neat. Her mother told us that she made the bracelet herself and she insisted that her mother helped her with it. They are both incredibly talented and really sweet. Her little sisters were helping her out selling stuff by trying on all the jewelry and being adorable.

The rest of the ride to Vegas was uneventful, long, and exhausting but pretty. We finally got to Vegas at about 7:30 PM and checked into our hotel. We got all prettied up and ready to head out on the strip to see what all the hype is about. Miriam is actually still getting prettied up but when we get back I will report back on how it measured up. (I told her that she looks pretty, but she knows that that's just what husbands tell their wives when they want to get out of the house because they have reservations somewhere fancy and romantic and they hope to get lucky afterwards. We don't have reservations anywhere and I have no intentions of getting lucky with Miriam tonight (or any night), but if I tell her that we have reservations maybe she'll get a move on it and we can finally get out on the town). Oh hey Miriam is ready, be back soon.

And we're back. So Vegas, wow. Our initial reaction was, WTF. That was also our second and final reaction. It's like a giant frat party but old people and children (!) were invited too (Seriously though, why were there children there?!?). The place smells of sadness and despair and alcohol and cigarettes and other scents that are not legal in Nevada and remind us of college. The streets have flashing neon lights all over, much like Times Square but with softcore porn being displayed on the huge screens in the street. We decide to get some reprieve from the crowds and the heat and we enter a casino. Old ladies are sitting at the slot machines, young people are wandering around aimlessly hoping to get lucky in more ways than one, children are standing around the poker tables watching their parents play. (Seriously though, WTF???) We head back outside and are handed a bunch of brochures with pictures of pretty ladies with no clothing on and a price attached to each lady. As we continue down the strip we find the Vegas mascot. He is a tall white boy wearing baggy baseball shorts that are on too low and a jersey top, and is crossing the street while it's red for pedestrians. When the cars honk at him he flips them off, in a beautiful moment that encompasses everything that is wrong with our generation. We head back to our car and in the parking lot encounter a group of young people who are way too young to legally do anything, helping one of their friends dispose of her last meal by holding her hair back. We offer them a bottle of water and get a high-five and told that we're very clutch. Words like that make us feel old because we have no idea what they're talking about. The one highlight of the night was at midnight when we watched the waterfall show in front of the Bellagio casino. The waterfalls were dancing to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner, it was really nice. Amidst drunk people yelling and throwing up, we look around us at the land of the free and the home of the brave and wonder where did we go wrong and mostly, WTF.
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Posted by shari36 22:23 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip vegas wtf lower_48 seriously_though_wtf Comments (0)

The Grandest Canyon

it might just be a giant hole in the earth, but it is a very nice hole in the earth

sunny 90 °F

As you may have surmised from the title, we were at the Grand Canyon today. We'll be returning there for a little bit tomorrow, but we have a schedule to keep. It's been agreed that we are definitely coming back here for a longer time span. There is so, so much to see. There are all these cliff faces and I just want to climb them. (Not to misrepresent myself as someone who has much experience rock climbing. I don't. But I still want to climb all of it. )
The day began at a smoiling 89 degrees in Pheonix. 89 soon turned to 105. I don't know if I have ever drunk that much water and not immediately needed to pee in my life. You just step outside and all of the liquids are sucked right out. I swear, sweat evaporated as it exited my pores. We were kind of museumed/ touristed out so we did what any good denizen does: Heads to the mall and shops.
The drive up to Grand Canyon was intense. The rise in elevation, up to over 8000 feet, pushed the engine, and even though the temperature was slowly decreasing, we still pushed the air conditioning. We stopped near Sedona for gas. Wow. Those cliffs are so red. So red. It's vibrant, earth shattering.
About 60 miles from GC, we detoured through Williams, a town founded in 1881. As the GPS liked to remind us, the street we drove down was "Main Street, Historic Route 66." We stopped for a bit, getting our gifts on Route 66.
At the Grand Canyon, we took a shuttle to different look out points, and the hiked about 2 miles of the rim trail. The sun set and we sat barefoot, overlooking the canyon as the shadows deepened and the canyon filled with a pale atmospheric tinge. While walking around this giant hole in the Earth, a multitude of languages filled the air. Most people happily photographed the other tourists, even if they had no common language between them aside from a camera and a smile.
All in all, a very good day.

Posted by MiriG 00:23 Tagged nature canyon arizona grand lower road sedona trip 48 Comments (0)

I've been through the desert on a horse with no name

La, la, lalalala, la

sunny 110 °F
View Road Trip!!!!!!!! on shari36's travel map.

We woke up this morning and found ourselves in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I started out the day by going hunting for coffee while Miriam showered. You know it's a college town when all the coffee shops are open till 11:00pm and reopen at 12:00pm. Thankfully you can always rely on Starbucks to be open before 12:00pm and have mediocre coffee. We then headed out west towards Tucson, Arizona. About an hour out of Las Cruces we past a US Customs and Border Protection check point where we were politely asked if we are US citizens. 30 minutes later we past a sign saying do not pick up hitchhikers, prison facilities ahead. So we told Jose in the trunk that we'll have to drop him off. But hey, at least he got past border control. (Disclaimer: This comment was intended for humorous purposes only. Shari & Co. is not responsible for any psychological damage reading this post may cause. In case of emergency please contact your therapist or hang up and dial 911.)

In Tuscon, we went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum which was absolutely amazing. The museum is situated outdoors in the middle of a national park which is in the desert. You get to stroll around and experience desert life. There are all sorts of cool cactus plants and animals and birds and lizards and snakes and butterflies and bees the size of birds (they don't sting the sign says, they are too busy being single mothers caring for their children) and coyotes and all sorts of really cute animals that live in the desert. I'm usually wary of going to zoos because seeing animals in cages makes me sad but this was different, they get to roam around in their natural habitat, just chillin about. It was a really cool experience (not literally, it was 112°).

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We developed this routine, when we see a scenery that is just absolutely breathtaking, Miriam starts laughing like she's heard something funny or was watching a Monty Python episode, and I start cursing like fuck. When we saw some of the views today in the desert, I said "fuckety freaking fuck". And Miriam said, "I have to agree with you on that".

After the desert we continued on to Phoenix, Arizona, where we are spending the night. Phoenix is a really cool place with train trolleys and great eatery places. Miriam put the link to our blog on the receipt when we were paying for dinner, so if our waiter is reading this, we think you're cute and that your friend has a really cool mustache.

Posted by shari36 21:10 Archived in USA Tagged desert road_trip coffee phoenix border_patrol lower_48 tuscon starbucks_is_mediocre cool_mustache Comments (0)

'Cuz I'm on Top of the World, Yeah

New Mexico is Magical

sunny 88 °F

Today began a long, long time ago. I can still remember. We set out from Fort Stockton bright and early, fueling up with"high octane" coffee at the Garage. Good coffe is good. We head north along a two lane highway, speed limit 75, signs of human life limited toil pumps and rigs with the occasional ranch thrown in for variety. So much of west Texas feels infinite, power lines stretching into the ether beyond the horizon and flames from the oil fields.
Our first stop is in the almost ghosttown of Orla. According to Wikipedia, the population is 2. Which is an awfully large population for a ghosttown, in my opinion. They have a post office, a supply store, and a gas station where a woman with an AirJordan logo tattooed on her neck sells beverages and sandwiches. She is very nice. All four people that we interact with are. I stop into the post office to send a few letters back east. I wrote them two weeks ago, but then misplaced my stamps.* I asked to use the restroom and thus learned that post offices do not have public restrooms, and that letting non post office workers use the restroom could get the clerk terminated. And anyway, the water was out. Thus, we walked the gravel to the supply store, where no one would get terminated for letting non employees use the restroom. One of the workers there hailed from Portland, Oregon, and suggested places for us to visit when we get there. He also let me take water and iced tea from the fridge. (Thanks!) The woman at the gas station and rig worker worker aren't sure why I'm photographing everything, and Shari explains that it's a habit. Unbreakable. The worst sort.
About 20 miles out of Orla, we cross into New Mexico a and Rocky Mountain time, so it's now 11:15 again. Almost immediately, the land in greener and hillier. The Gaudalupe mountains fill the distance, and the road climbs and twists.
We decide that the town of Hope might be a good place to top off the gas and stretch our legs before we head into Carlsbad National Park. We should not have placed our hope in Hope. Thee was a small convenience store, sans public restrooms. This seems to be a theme. We get to Carlsbad NP, weaving through hills, valleys, and gulches. The views are sublime. We go into the caverns to see the Big Room, full of stalactites and stalagmites. The air is thin and smells mineral.
I drive the three hours to White Sands National Monument, on narrow roads passing through the Sacramento Mountains. From the top of CloudsCroft to Alamogordo , we descend nearly a mile.I touch the gas twice in the twenty minute descent.

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White Sands is freaking stunning. We walk and run on dunes bare foot, marveling at the distant mountains, the sky, the softness of the sand and how the winds coming over the tops of the dunes feels like a sand blaster. I recommend leg coverings and long sleeves. It's nearly sunset, and three storm cells are visible to the south, west, and north east. The clouds are like anvils and mushroom clouds and when the wind dies down, we hear distant thunder. We leave the park at dusk, the lightening now visible in the darkening sky.

White Sands National Monument at sunset

White Sands National Monument at sunset

It's been a very long day, and I look forward to sleeping and having an easier day tomorrow. Los Cruces to Pheonix, AZ!

Lanie, if you're still following, we want you to know the your cookies made it to New Mexico and are still delicious. We evidently have more self control than previously thought.

  • if you want a letter/postcard, I probably don't have your address. Please fix this by sending it to me in a message/text/email. Thanks. Please be aware that my having your address is no guarantee of you receiving a letter/postcard.

Posted by MiriG 22:45 Archived in USA Tagged animals park monument mexico new white national texas sands cross_country carlsbad-national Comments (0)

A Weekend of Texas

Seriously there is so much freaking Texas

sunny 78 °F
View Road Trip!!!!!!!! on shari36's travel map.

Friday was a really chill day. We met up with Miriam's friend Kyla, who is super cool and a Houston local to boot, who kindly offered to be our tour guide for the day. We started out at a really neat coffee place with amazing coffee and yummy food. We then headed to a couple of thrift shops and tried on some silly clothing and also bought lots of awesome stuff, it was fun. Afterwards Miriam and Kyla went to the printmaking museum in Houston and I went to the chocolate factory next-door. Miriam is a huge printmaking nerd and was very excited about the printing museum, and since I wasn't really there I'll let her make a post describing her experience there while I continue talking as per usual about my experience at the chocolate factory. It was really awesome! I got to try a bunch of different Venezuelain chocolates. We finished our day with a second lunch at The Hobbit Cafe which is so freaking cool there were maps of Middle Earth all over and the whole place had a really cool Hobbit hole vibe with stuff on the menu like Gandalf sandwiches and Pippin smoothies.

Second breakfast is important

Second breakfast is important

Saturday was a much deserved day of rest with lots of sleeping, eating, and board game playing. The people we stayed with for Shabbat, the Actors, were really wonderful. They even sent some books along for the journey when they heard of my love for science-fiction, an Orson Scott Card novel which is always a pleasure to read and a Greg Baer novel which I am unfamiliar with but excited to try.

This morning we left Houston and headed Northwest towards Austin. We had lunch in Austin and did some looking around the local shops. Austin is a super cool place, really chill vibe and lots of attractive people. Definitely on our list of places to come back to since we did not have that much time to explore it today as we had to continue heading west.

How cool is Austin

How cool is Austin

The rest of the day was lots of driving through all of freaking Texas, seriously there is so much Texas! But it is really beautiful. We stopped at Roosevelt, Texas to get gas and use the restroom but the single gas station in town is apparently closed on Sundays. According to the Internet, Roosevelt is a ghost town, however, there seem to be a few people still living in the town. Hopefully they did not see me taking care of business behind the dumpster because the only public bathroom in town is closed on Sundays. What are people supposed to do, hold it in until 9:00am on Monday?!

All in all, it was a really cool day. We finished it off by driving into the sunset over the beautiful Texas mountains, Miriam took lots of pretty pictures to document the event.

Our accommodations for the night. The sky is beautiful

Our accommodations for the night. The sky is beautiful

Posted by shari36 19:22 Archived in USA Tagged chocolate road_trip coffee texas hobbit lower_48 so_much_texas Comments (0)

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