Tag Archives: arizona

u.s. road trip…day 34

we woke up super early – had a really long drive ahead, and planned to pop by my big brother’s and drop off the gps he had loaned us (THANK YOU BIG BROTHER!!!  what a lifesaver that little gadget turned out to be!  least stressful road trip of our lives!) on our way to shoshana and brian’s place.

looking over the map, plotting our journey, we happened across something we’d both been dying to see…LONDON BRIDGE.

now, many of you may have heard this story, so skip to the next paragraph if that’s the case.  but we were told, whilst living in london, that there was a very funny story attached to london bridge, az.  robert p. mcculloch, the story goes, was this ridiculously rich bloke who went on to found lake havasu.  but there he was, on holiday in london, when he spied the beautiful tower bridge.  now, there are no famous songs sung by children in the u.s. about tower bridge, and so, as this was by far the prettiest bridge in london, he surmised that it must therefore be the famous london bridge – a simple mistake made by many visiting london for the first time.  ohh-ho-ho!  but do not underestimate the perceived hubris of  nouveau-riches americans!  as the story goes, the then decided he wanted that bridge.  no, not a replica of the bridge – that bridge.  apparently ‘everyone’ knew that he really meant tower bridge, but they were so shocked by the sheer audacity of his coming to a city and buying a bridge, only to have it dismantled piece-by-piece, with each piece numbered, and then flown to his home town of nowheresville, az, they just let the error turn into a famous story made even more famous by way of it’s hero’s inevitable demise.

except, i guess that story’s not true.  i’ve since been told that everything else is – he saw the bridge, he wanted the bridge, he bought the bridge itself, but he didn’t think it was tower bridge.  still funny.

at any rate, this is the bridge we have decided to detour to see.  we didn’t realize, however, that it was so far off the freeway we could have detoured to see nevada just as easily.  but it was a case of, well, we’ve gone this far already…we gotta keep going…and so on.  finally we come to a road called london bridge road.  cool!  we’re on the right track.  for a long time.  no sign of a bridge, or anything over which to build a bridge.  so we see this little lady pushing a stroller up the road, and chris says, ‘ask her if we’re going the right way.’  so we pull up beside her, and ask.  ‘yes,’ she replies. ‘just keep driving that way.’  i happen to notice that she’s pilipina, so i say, ‘are you pilipina?’  to which she replies affirmatively.  i inform her that we’re moving to the philippines in just a couple of days, and she asks where we’ll go.  ‘mindanao,’ i tell her. ‘mindanao?  i’m from mindanao!  where in mindanao will you go?’  ‘cagayan de oro,’ i tell her.  ‘no way!  i’m from cagayan de oro!  take a picture of my baby!’  it was hilarious.  seriously – there wasn’t a car, or another soul, on that whole long road.  but the ONE person we saw wasn’t just from the philippines – wasn’t just from mindanao – she was from cagayan de oro.  this isn’t a small town – don’t get me wrong.  but there’s less than a million people here, so what are the chances, really?

so we went to london bridge, parked across the street to not pay, ran over to the bridge, took a couple of pictures, ran back to the car, and got back on the road…

from there we just really drove…getting back to l.a. was a bit of a drag…traffic was bad, we were tired, and still had a few hours of driving ahead.  so we took a toll road.  holy crap – those things aren’t cheap, are they???  i mean, ok – it was a total of $5 to my brother’s, but that’s one-way, l.a. to south orange county…we tried in our exhaustion to do the math…that’s $50/week if you took it to and from each day!  wowzah. but that would, of course, explain why it was such…smooth…sailing…amazing views, hardly a car on the road…so this is how the other half live…

and that’s it!  that’s the end of our u.s. road trippin’ adventure!  we plan to do the eastern half of the u.s. one day not too far in the future…of course, it’ll have to be in summer…the cold was a little too much for my liking…but how amazing…how beautiful and wonderful everyone was to us all along the way…i guess the most poignant part of the journey was the realization that we have so much to be grateful for…so many friends and family  who welcomed us with open arms, fed us delicious meals, made our trip a little easier to bear…

if you’re all not sick of hearing it, thanks, guys.  you rock.

GRAND TOTAL MILES:  5639

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u.s. road trip…day 32-33

turns out that super incredibly crazy-long drive was worth it in the end…we made it to the grand canyon in pretty good time, but first…the drive.

i’ve never taken this route – from the south end of the canyon and up.  we started the day not far from the border of new mexico and arizona, and made our way through flagstaff and north from there.  firstly, flagstaff is such a pretty town…i had no idea.  i really got a sense of the university’s cultural dominance over the town, second only to the nature freaks everywhere…and most of the time these tend to be pretty compatible groups.  i can’t speak to how friendly or otherwise the folks were because we didn’t stay.  and i can confirm that in late october it is freaking COLD.  but it totally reminded me of the little imaginary town in mr. rogers’ neighborhood that the little train takes you through on the many adventures in cardigans.

so we picked up some firewood in flagstaff (yes, ladies and gentlemen – this an example of not making the same mistake twice!  for those of you who have no clue what i’m on about, see days  ) and headed off on our way.  it is beautiful, but i think what’s more profound is how drastically the landscape changes with altitude…first it’s really forest-y and full of trees and green, and then it’s flat and brown and trees are sparse.  and the transition is somehow gradual and immediate – really weird.

we got to the entrance to the state park and made our way in without a hitch…we’d made a reservation so there would be no issues whatsoever, and it was a good choice.  not far from the bathrooms, no neighbors…so we got out and put on about 6 more layers because it was FREAKING COLD…set up the tent, and still had time to go for a little hike!  we opted for the south kaibob trail but only went down to oohahh point…i love that name…seriously beautiful views!  then we walked along the rim trail, which just follows the rim of the canyon, for a little while, but as previously mentioned, it was stinking cold, and the sun was setting.  so before too long we made our way back to our campsite and scrambled to pile on as many layers as we could, throw dinner together and drink a bit of wine, glance at the stars for a minute, and get in our sleeping bags!

next day was more of the same – we decided to throw our whole day into the hermit trail…we thought we’d head to santa maria springs – only 2 miles down, but it’s seriously slow moving as it’s really steep.  in the end we hiked just past the springs and had lunch at the second best place – the best place was already taken…by a couple we let pass us!  argh.  oh well – it was such a great hike anyway…about 5 miles, and a little grueling at times, particularly for your truly due to my ‘extra baggage’…but we made it just in time to head to hopi point to see the sunset…what a delicious day.

alas, as the sun had set, getting back to the campsite was our priority.  our last night officially ‘on the road’…i guess there was a vaguely melancholic breeze in the canyon that night, but we had so much still to look forward to…

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