Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Out West

Although I have been back in KS for more than 6 weeks since the road trip out west, I finally realized today as I was posting a facebook photo and could not remember the name of "Monument Valley" that it is past due to write something about that short jaunt to San Francisco and back. I suppose driving more than 4,000 miles in roughly 11 days is not short, but it did pass by quickly.

Of course I have been west on I-70 before, but after leaving the hot springs behind in Glenwood Springs, CO it was new territory for me. However, being tired from spending the whole day in the car, I let Thomas take the wheel and woke up somewhere in Utah headed south towards Monument Valley. I was immediately confused by the two lane highway full of semi-trucks and animal crossing signs. Utah seemed like an eerie place for some reason, and I’m still not completely sure why. Maybe it was caused by a lack of sleep or the slight panic that we were going to run out of gas at one point.

Anyhow, that feeling followed me to the Grand Canyon and all the way to Las Vegas after that. I think it had something to do with being in the dry, still desert. I would definitely not be a good desert dweller. I did not enjoy the constant thirst or extreme temperatures, but the views are worth any inconveniences, of course. There is so much vast space that the sky seems to expand like never before, and the landscapes are sharp against the blue background and demand your attention. I especially found this to be the case in Monument Valley at sunrise.

After one night of driving and one night of camping, we arrived exhausted in Vegas on the third night. What an interesting place, easy to criticize for a thousand reasons, but that’s not the point of going, right? I’ll just mention that we spent a lot of time playing fifty cents chips on the roulette table at Slots A Fun, saw mind freak Criss Angel, and ate at a buffet, despite my general intolerance of buffets.

We left the oasis Saturday morning and made it to San Jose, CA that evening to stay with Thomas’s friend, Neli, which was a lovely way to spend our Saturday night. Then, we spent two nights in San Francisco before Thomas had to leave and before I had the long, lone drive home. Of course, there is something entertaining to say when it comes to lively San Francisco. For me, it’s a toss up between the break dancing that we watched by Navy Pier or the homeless guy we saw walking around Union Square at 10 pm with a backpack and headlamp singing about breaking into cars and stealing laptops.

So, now here I sit back in KS, still wondering if driving across the country had some impact on my perspective of the USA. Of course it did, after all our experiences shape our thoughts into our realities, or do our thoughts shape our experiences…? Ok, but really “Reality is in the eye of the beholder” (Michael Faraday). Tell me your version and I’ll tell you mine.

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