Sunday, September 1st 2013
After driving down Route 66 for a few dusty, sun drenched hours, we pulled into the dirt parking lot of a roadside outpost to stop for some ice. And if they had it, then why the hell not, a beer too.
How the hell did I get here?
The day prior, I jumped into the car with Valeria, the girl I met while I was in LA, and Marcos, a man whom, well, whom I’ve never met before.
Marcos had used couchsurfing.org to organize a road trip around the southwest United States. Valeria agreed to join, along with two other couchsurfing members. While I was in San Diego, one of the people flaked and Valeria asked me to join. How could I say no?!
So I did what any sane person would do. I parked my car on the side of the road in Manhattan Beach, jumped in Marcos’ rental car with these two strangers, and prepared to spend the next 8 days with them while traveling from national landmark to national landmark.
Saturday, we geared up and drove east from LA and into the high desert, setting up camp in Needles, California for a sweltering 108 degree night. Thank God for a rare thunderstorm that brought the temperatures back down to a bearable sleeping temp.
We woke up Sunday and drove towards the Grand Canyon. On our way there, we took Route 66 and stopped in Seligman, where the roadside fare was iconic.
We saw the road signs and turned left at the fork, surely headed towards one of these places, driving through desert mesa sandstone expanses.
Later that evening we arrived at the Grand Canyon, just in time to catch the sunset.
Somehow, I had avoided this place for the entire 28 years of my life prior, yet managed to find myself here twice in the past month. But hell, I wasn’t complaining.
After a gorgeous sunset, we headed to camp to bed down for the night. The sky was clear and the stars were bright, and at about 7ooo feet asl, the air was cool and crisp. I breathed in. I closed my eyes. What beauty lie before me…