October 27, 2009

215: WYUTAZCO, Part Three

Top row (left to right): the Jerome Gold King and his pet donkey Pedro; my badass birthday Haunted Hamburger; Kerry crosses the line. Middle row (left to right): Monument Valley spire; Grand Canyon with eggplants. Bottom row: grand pano.


A whistle-stop was all we afforded the Grand Canyon; it was our intention all along to take snapshots and move on, figuring the size and scope of America's greatest natural attraction was bigger than our two-week plans to see as much as we could. From Kanab we visited the less-visited North Rim and breathed in a few vantage points. But after being so close and personal with previous stops, the Grand Canyon seemed unapproachable. At least for our schedule, and I will grant it that. It's really a destination unto itself.

But it was on this day, traveling to Sedona, we did witness the true openness of American southwest desert country – there is indeed not much going on between the Canyon and Flagstaff beyond scrub, Harleys and a Navajo-language lite-rock radio station. Sedona, on the other hand, is a comparative oasis ­ of enterprise, traffic and eyebrow-raising New Age craziness. We took a day off from nature and went on a birthday excursion to nearby Jerome, a reinvented hillside mining town now dedicated largely to a lively arts and crafts scene. Despite this, we concocted a visit to the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town – essentially a glorified packrat scrapyard ­ for some red-blooded American kitsch (with donkey!), and a stop-in at the Haunted Hamburger for the most badass of all the world's hamburgers. Shopping was also in order; I procured a sweet Stetson cowboy shirt.

This was to be as far from home as we would go. From here we would turn back north, through the Painted Desert and Tuba City (a most disappointing town, in comparison to its name), past the Coyote-and-Roadrunner-inspired monoliths of Monument Valley and into Colorado for a visit to the ruins of Mesa Verde National Park.

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