Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Epitome Of Desolation

After we left the snow in New Mexico and Arizona, which spread all the way to Kingman, we went over the last of the mountains and then hit the California state line, located in Needles. I generally dislike traveling in the western half of the United States, but at least on the northern route through New Mexico and Arizona (especially Flagstaff), you get to see something other than continuous desert.

Then there's the Mojave. Needles to Barstow is one hundred forty-four miles. Across the desert. At fifty-five miles per hour - which is the speed limit for trucks in California - it takes a good three hours to make the trip; longer if you're heavy since there are a few mountains. They're deceiving, because the landscape generally looks flat, but then you look back and realize that you've climbed a very long, very gradual grade, at a very slow pace.

I hate this part of the trip. It's horribly long, there's nothing to look at, nowhere to stop, and at fifty-five miles per hour, it feels like forever. Getting to Barstow is no prize either, but at least it's civilization; they have a Chipotle and a Starbucks.

I don't find anything appealing about this open space. Lots of people like it, I'm sure. My grandmother, although she's never had the opportunity to visit this particular strip of interstate, when she moved to Arizona from New York prior to her death, she actually liked that she could see for miles and miles without anything obstructing her view. Clearly, I didn't get that set of her genes.

I like the hustle and bustle of life. I like seeing people on the road (although the traffic in some states is worse than others - California being the worst). I like seeing businesses and homes and farms and livestock, especially when traveling through rural areas. I love mountains and trees and hilly areas that others might deem a white knuckle drive. And I love weather; I'm not a huge fan of driving through any of it at night, but give me rain or snow during the day and I'll likely exclaim, "Look! It's snowing!". I don't mind places that are sparsely populated, just not in the desert or flat, wide open prairies like in Kansas and Nebraska.

Life magazine, back in 1986, dubbed US Route 50 in Nevada The Loneliest Road in America. Yes, that's an incredibly desolate route, another road I'd be happy to never travel again, but I say there are a whole lot of stretches of highway out here that are right up there with US 50 when it comes to the lonely department.

And lonely just isn't a place I like to be.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Eddie Lobster On The Brain, Listening Skills Disengaged Friday
2 YEARS AGO: Privacy Issues
3 YEARS AGO: It’s Crazy That I’m Crazy For Keanu
4 YEARS AGO: Gifts That Keep On Giving
5 YEARS AGO: Classic Las Vegas
6 YEARS AGO: Off With Their Heads!

1 comment:

Marlaina said...

I'm in your Nana's camp. I don't know what is, while I could never live in Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, maybe Utah, but I LOVE driving those states. I can see for miles and miles and miles. It is wondrous. I love the desolation and the changing color pallete, especially now that I have the Salena Handmade Color Wheel. I saw a pomegranate sky rise over North Dakota last week, luscious color, really. I also think snow is best viewed from beyond, beyond 500 miles!