Big America: Crossing Deserts

Arlo gets out of California
Mojave National Preserve

Rock formations in Mojave National Preserve

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Today was a day of crossing deserts and state lines.  Parched, dry landscapes and obscure Americana dominated our voyage east on this leg of our cross-country journey.  Escaping California offered little relief in terms of change of barren landscapes, although the appearance of giant solar farms was a welcome first.  From the Mojave to the Hoover Dam, and finally the Grand Canyon, some of the south-westernmost stretches of the United States are as filled with historic iconography as they are beautiful expanses of desert wilderness.

Arlo stays safe in Nevada

Arlo treads safely on the Nevada side of the border



We awoke before dawn in Barstow, California.  I was restless with the presence of the Mojave wilderness all around us and needed to set out early and fast into her dry expanses.  Boca and I choose Historic Route 66 as our path, and journeyed through space and time with near constant reminders of both American and planetary history all around us.  We passed through ghost towns of the 1800s, abandoned highways, boom towns that went bust, and through geologic features that pre-date the dinosaurs.  We witnessed fields of black lava rubble, ancient Joshua trees within high altitude deserts, scattered cacti, and a watery oasis by the name of Lake Mead, of which our own kind has caused to flood the lower end of the ever Grand Canyon.

Moving on to Arizona, we stopped in Kingman, yet another former Route 66 town that has seen better days.  The people there are into their msucle cars, their military and their American flags.  We walked through the old town amidst classic cars and their aging enthusiasts. We stopped in for dinner at the Redneck BBQ, where a live country musician serenaded us to a basket of brisket and the only place I’ve ever witnessed to actually replace “french fries” with “freedom fries” on their menu.

It was dark when we arrived at the Grand Canyon, but that did not inhibit the joy and giddiness of winding down along the rim of such a magnificent hole in the Earth.  A mule deer wished us goodnight, as we now wish to you.

Boca and the Hoover Dam

Boca at the Hoover Dam

A Joshua tree in Mojave National Preseve. Photo: Arlo

Big horn sheep crossing

Big horn sheep crossing sign outside Lake Mead. Photo: Arlo

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