Week 4: Driving To SoCal – Sedona

Monday, August 19th 2013

I left Flagstaff and on I went.  The road was wide open and so were my eyes.  I began my drive towards southern California.

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Sedona was not far from Flagstaff, but the elevation seemed to drastically change.  I drove downward, as if going into a canyon.  In fact, it almost seemed as though I was now driving through the Grand Canyon, the same place I just came from.

Visually, it was breathtaking.

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I came upon a bridge, and I just had to stop.  The scenery was epic, but it was HOT!  Drastically hotter than Flagstaff; I was definitely now in the desert.

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The surrounding scenery was larger than life.  Growing up on the east coast, it was almost hard to believe this is just part of the commute.

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I kept driving.  The road meandered on, away from the vistas and mesas and into a small town filled with pueblo and adobe type structures.

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The clouds were big and puffy and loitered above in the epitome of nonchalant.  I continued driving, attempting to make good time, however the natural beauty of the landscape kept drawing my attention.  I stopped at the next rest area.

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There I found this giant beetle dead on a table.

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And this breathtaking view of the surrounding mountain range.  The lights filtered through the clouds above, as if to highlight this landmark just for me, saying “drink me in”.

I drove beyond Sedona, feeling almost at a loss.  I had planned to skydive in Sedona, and see the canyons below me.  However, I just didn’t have it in me.  After a long three days in the Grand Canyon, my legs were shot.  I couldn’t imagine making a safe landing under my parachute.

Saddened, but at peace, I drove into the deadly heat of Pheonix.

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As an experiment, I had been driving with the windows open to watch the effect on my gas mileage.  It turned out that I had better mileage with the windows open and the A/C off.  Regardless, even at 80 mph with the windows all down, I was sweating powerfully!  Gas mileage was now no longer on my mind.  Crank that A/C baby!!!

I drove further, and the day turned slowly into night.  I chased the sun, until it turned gold.  The landscape seemed to scream my name.  The horizon lit up and I found a place to stop.IMGP3733

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I basked in the glow of this majestic southwest sunset, allowing it to recharge me.  Then I got on my way.

Even into the night, the heat stayed strong.

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I barreled on, past the Arizona state line and crossing the state line into California with Led Zeppelin’s “Going To California” blaring on my stereo.  I forged my way into Twentynine Palms, to Joshua Tree National Park.  What lie ahead, I was not prepared to know…

 

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