28 November 2006

Tired and Recovering

I just spent the Thanksgiving weekend having the longest road trip since 2000.

I ended up visiting Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas. My goal was to take my mother to Santa Fe and Carlsbad Caverns, and in the process, visit Petrified Forest National Park and Tucson as well.

It was my second visit to Carlsbad Caverns - and definitely worth returning; no photos or descriptions can ever do justice to the grandeur of the sights within the cave, even though I only got to see the developed sections. I look forward to another future visit when I will hopefully be able to take more "wild" tours.

Santa Fe was a bit of a letdown, but I still managed to see Palace of the Governors and Georgia O'Keeffe Museum as well as eating at Cafe Pasqual's, which involved a long wait. I liked the narrow European-style streets that made up the downtown area, as well as the shops lining those streets. My new GPS navigation system was of major help here as well.

Petrified Forest was interesting, and I enjoyed the far-reaching vistas of red stones and cliffs just as much as I enjoyed fossilized wood. It's definitely a worthy stop on I-40.

This was my first return to Tucson since leaving there five years ago under very humiliating conditions, and the population and housing boom, especially in surrounding communities like Marana, was very noticeable. My sightseeing in Tucson involved the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, an outstanding zoo and botanical garden rolled into one. I would have also gone to the scenic Sabino Canyon, given more time.

I did all the 2,100+ miles of driving, but it was bearable thanks to my BMW, which was not only a pleasure to drive, but economical as well, averaging 31.5 MPG and cruising from Tucson back to my driveway (470+ miles) comfortably on one tank, even with four traffic jams between Phoenix and Los Angeles. It was refreshing to return to Tucson in it, much like returning to San Francisco's financial district, another locale that had broken me in the past. And having satellite radio on board certainly helped pass the time.

It was also worth noting that despite lots of driving in so-called "red" states, the most blatant supporters of W's fascist cabal I encountered on the road were from Southern California's Reagan Country. Even El Paso, in W's home state of Texas, was far less blatant. I got to see lots of anti-W activism in Santa Fe, and was pleased.

I look forward to a future road trip that will take me all the way to the East Coast, heading through the northern half of the US and returning through Canada (I have no desire to ever visit the Southeast at this time). I will certainly enjoy it.

Now, back to some early morning novel writing...