The area around Salt Lake City heading towards Las Vegas is quite scenic with snow capped mountains during this time of the year. It soon turns to dry and rocky terrain. We took I-15 South and then hit back roads around Provo, Utah. We soon hit I-70 West for a bit before branching off South towards the Grand Canyon National Park. Lets just say it’s faaaar to get to the Northern rim. The views were great and we hadn’t even hit the Grand Canyon. We got to the road accessing the rim and guess what? It was closed until Summer..what a bummer.
Luckily we got a map from a nearby Inn which showed the directions to the Southern rim. By this time it was afternoon already. 2-3ish. We had 4 hours to get to the Southern rim. The area near the Northern rim is a forest. Once we were done negotiating the tricky bends and turns out of the forest. The canyons just opened up and it was hours on end of just beautiful shades of brown all the way to the Southern rim. We basically went round canyons to get to THE Canyon. We barely made it. We even thought we were out of luck when we hit the gates into the park. Luckily we were not alone and there were others rushing to beat the light. It was getting dark and fast.
The views are breathtaking to say the least. There are different view points to see the Canyon. We quickly did 3 or 4 before it became dark. I learnt a new thing about the Canyon. There was a mid-air in 1956 between 2 aircraft in the Canyon that killed over 100 people.
The pictures don’t do justice to the place. You need to be there to experience it.
We now had to hit Flagstaff, Arizona which was our stop for the day. Luckily it was only an hour away from the Southern rim. It was a day well spent.
The next morning we hit the road with Amarillo as the stop for the night. There is not much to see in the Arizona plains or the New Mexico desert. We passed through Winslow, Gallup, Albuquerque, Tucumcari before hitting Amarillo late evening.
It was also the day we got stopped by a Navajo County Sheriff. We were driving down the I-10 and right there in the median was a Sheriff parked. Just as we passed him we made eye contact and a few seconds later he was behind us with the flashing lights on. I’d only seen it in the movies and in Houston. Luckily I didn’t have anything to hide and pulled over immediately. He walked over and asked for my license and registration. In my head I knew it was in the glove compartment but I guess I didn’t bring it with me or so I thought..In Texas, the registration is displayed on the windshield..I think he realized after a while. He went back to his cruiser and soon asked me follow him. He told me I was following too closely behind a semi-trailer and he was going to issue me a citation. Damn. I remembered my Air Force law violation talk with the recruiter and asked him as much. Luckily it was just a written warning. He also asked if I was carrying drugs. He asked if he could check. I opened the boot aka trunk in Americanese :). The only thing he really checked was the cooler box we had. All he saw were Monster energy drinks and water. I think we were profiled that day. I guess there are many drug traffickers on that route and the ‘following closely’ citation was just an excuse. We shook hands..I know..and we were on our way. My girlfriend was scared and thought I was getting a ticket when the Sheriff asked me ‘out’. We were extra careful just as we’d been the whole trip. No over speeding especially. Luckily it was 75-80 mph speed limits through out the rest of the trip.
It was uneventful day and we made it into Amarillo safely. Just as we drove into Amarillo we saw a graffiti park which we later learnt is called Cadillac Ranch. They have cars half-buried into the ground and people spray graffiti on the cars. They have cans of spray lying around. You just add whatever you feel like.
We spent the night in Amarillo and headed out the next morning on the final leg of the trip. Texas is huuuuge and it took us 9 hours from Amarillo into Houston passing through Wichita Falls and Dallas/Fort Worth area onto I-45 South homebound.
It was a great trip full of memories which I’ll cherish with my better half. The car performed exceptionally well for a ’98 Audi. It was a beast in all the conditions. We only had to add air and top up the coolant and power steering fluid. I thank God for that. There will be more trips in the future. There is so much to see in this country and I’m glad I made the move here.
One of my readers recently asked me when I get to work. I seem to be always on the road. That is not the case. I love road trips but I have to pay bills too. It was a 2 week trip in between jobs. I travel whenever I can and believe you me If you love something you’ll find time for it..I always do.