US Road Trip Week 2: Joshua Tree, Sedona, Petrified Forest & Santa Fe

Bidding LA farewell, I first made my way to Joshua Tree National Park. But as it would turn out, I barely got to see much of it at all.

This being my first stop on an already-too-aggressive trip schedule, I’d not yet learned how much extra breathing room I’d need for food stops, bathroom breaks, navigating the more confusing routes, and (most annoyingly) the surprisingly long line of cars trying to get into the same national park at the same damn time.IMG_20190422_125141743-PANO.jpgBy the time I drove up to the Joshua Tree National Park entrance, I only had a mere hour and half left to drive in, see the park, and leave. If I took much longer, I wouldn’t make it to my next stop by nightfall and the whole schedule would be thrown off by a day. It was not a promising start.

I’d barely driven into the park itself when I had to turn around and drive back out. But I did manage to stop at one lookout point and take some photos. And it was enough to know that I definitely want to come back someday, with a lot more time to spare.

So with that in mind, I drove onward into Arizona for a quick Tucson visit to see an old friend. IMG_20190423_183453_128.jpg

Then then left Tucson like Ed Dunkel left Galatea, and drove through Saguaro National Park (71,000-acres of the country’s biggest Saguaro cacti)…IMG_20190423_122337492_HDR.jpgon my way out and up I-10 and I-17 to the stunning red rocks of Sedona.IMG_20190423_171503670_HDR.jpg

Spent a restorative night in a wonderfully peaceful and picturesque wild camping spot on Deer Pass Trail road, “with nothing in my hands but a handful of crazy stars.” Grabbed tea at a Sedona cafe, and then continued up and east along I-40 to the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert to see 50,000 acres of rainbow colored petrified wood and fossils, hundreds of millions of years old. So much unique beauty in just a few days!IMG_20190424_152719189_HDR.jpgIMG_20190424_162228853_HDR.jpg

My week ended in New Mexico, finishing the drive along Route 66 (aka I-40) and up I-25 with “huge gold sunburning clouds above the desert that seemed to point a finger at me and say, ‘Pass here and go on, you’re on the road to heaven.'”

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That road led to Santa Fe and my dearest oldest friends Becky, Max and their wonderfully crazy old kitty Ruckus. IMG_20190425_113214696-ANIMATION.gifDefinitely one of the mad ones. And I’m mad about her.IMG_20190426_100848698.jpg

At 7,200 feet, my altitude sickness wasn’t terribly happy. But it was worth it, after an exhilarating day of chopping wood and a gorgeous Grasshopper Canyon hike, ending in a gorgeous sunset like “purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon field; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red.”Grasshopper Canyon sunset.png

The greatest highlight of Santa Fe though was without a doubt Meow Wolf. Spent four solid hours in there unraveling its intricate, mysterious narrative that echoed of a “complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotuslands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven.” That, or aliens.

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Either way, it was a most magical wondrous experience. Can’t wait till Becky and Max help launch the next iterations in Las Vegas and Denver.

Until then, I have plenty more to occupy me as I continue on this epic journey. As Kerouac says, “the road is life.”

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US Road Trip Week 1: Los Angeles

Spent the first week of my massive cross-country road trip in a city I know and love pretty well already – Los Angeles. The perfect launching off point for a whirlwind excursion of the unknown.

I’ve been here in LA many times before, but I never feel like I get enough time to see everyone and do everything I love here. So it’s been nice to spend a full week packed with fun, good food, fitness, and a super fantastic (super belated) birthday celebration.

Dinner at Musso & Frank. After drinks at Black Rabbit Rose. Burlesque show at No Vacancy. And back to Black Rabbit Rose for a great live jazz show. Not a bad night.

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Now it’s time to head off toward the first new destination of my road trip adventure – Joshua Tree! (Can you believe I’ve never been there?!)

Farewell Los Angeles, you “ragged promised land” (that Kerouac). See you in about two months.

On the road I go!

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