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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Road Trip - Arizona

I have written before about being in Arizona (USA) to visit my mother. I come - always once a year and sometimes like this year, I make it for two visits. I love Arizona. I lived here as a child and young a teen and it often feels more like home than Michigan where I was born, Houston where I lived for 30 years or Brazil where I have been for nearly 6 years. Arizona at first glance seems barren, dry and colorless (especially if I compare it to Brazil), but as you travel through the state the seeming barren landscape becomes a land of diverse eco-systems, with a pallet of    muted colors that soothes, calms. This effect may be only for me because of the 'home again' aspect of travel in Arizona, but I think it is the quietness of the colors and the heat of the sun that warms and calms the spirit.   
I flew into Phoenix and drove to Prescott on Monday. Tuesday I collected my mother early and together we drove to Flagstaff to pick up my older sister, Candy. She came across country from Michigan via Amtrak to join us for a week. While Mom and I waited for her arrival, we drove even further north. Taking highway 89 north out of Flagstaff with the intended destination -  
Page at the damn for Lake Powell in the extreme North East corner of Arizona. Highway 89, right after leaving Flagstaff, goes through miles of what appears to be worn down, eroded volcanic ash fields. Sculpted by wind and rain these miles of gray, light pink and purple leave you feeling as though you have left this planet. Any geologist that reads this can correct me if they want - I'll publish any comments - but the look of the landscape was to me of an ancient land. About 35 miles from Page, I saw a sign - 89A to north rim Grand Canyon - I made a last minute, executive decision to go that direction and made a very quick left-hand turn onto the well-maintained, two lane highway, that winds and dips; curving around a long stretch of red cliffs - the road was long the scenery exquisite. To tell the truth we stopped and took photos and then went on, not realizing that we were ON THE NORTH RIM. We ended up almost at the Utah border before realizing that we should turn around and make our way back to Flagstaff.

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