Day 6 Ends at Sacramento, CA... finally

We left Las Vegas at 8 in the morning bound for Sacramento where our friend Tim awaited us. We knew it would be a long day on the road because we planned to hit both Death Valley and Yosemite. As we started into Yosemite we had felt as if we had been making pretty good time. We guessed that we could make it to Sacramento by 8 or 9.

Unfortunately we hit some kind of time vortex. The winding roads of Yosemite took us through some beautiful vistas so we decided to go through the middle of the park to see the big landmarks like El Capitan, Half Dome, and Wedding Bell (the waterfall). We left around sunset hoping to make it to Tim by 10.

We drove the winding highway leading from Yosemite to I-5 north for hours. And hours. And it never stopped. We couldn't get of the damn highway. We finally reach a little hell hole of a place: Manteca, California (my apologies to anyone from Manteca). We needed food. Since the "Chinese food" joint had already closed we settled on the diarrhea-inducing wonders of Appleby's and took a half-hour break.

After getting back to the road we drove straight west and bit later got to I-5. We turned right to merge onto I-5. But instead of the signs reading Sacramento, they read Los Angeles. We were driving south. How this happened I have no idea. It seemed simple enough: drive west, meet freeway, turn right and go north. But no, we headed south.

Long story short, we eventually made it to Sacramento after midnight, and Tim was fast asleep (snoring... snoring really, really loud. Tim, you gotta go see a doctor about that). A truly hellish day of driving. Never again.

この日のドライブは死ぬほど長かった!朝8時にラスベガスを出て、Death Valley を通り過ぎて、ヨセミテに2時についたところまでは良かった。その後の、ヨセミテ内の細い道と、ヨセミテをサクラメントに抜ける日光いろは坂も真っ青のぐねぐね道に泣かされました。レストランも閉まってしまって、夕飯はものすごっく不味いファミレスだし・・・(たぶんこの旅行の中で一番不味い食事でした)。泣きっ面にハチとはまさにこのこと。サクラメントに着いたのは夜中の1時ごろ。

But the next morning we met Tim at his bungalow and all headed to Napa for a good time.

本日の走行距離:905 km
Today's Driving:560 miles



Yosemite National Park




Death Valley, California

Road Trip 6日目です。ラスベガスで鬼のように高いコーヒーを購入し、すごくまずくて凹みましたが、旅は続きます。本日1つ目のストップは、Death Valley。ここで、アリゾナの州境を越えて、カリフォルニアに入ります。いよいよ西海岸!

実は、今日の行程があまりにも強行スケジュールなため、Death Valley はキャンセルしようかと思っていたのですが、この風景に圧巻。この谷の最高気温は54度を記録したこともあるそうで、ものすごく暑いです。そして、写真からもわかる通り、生物が生息できないくらい乾燥しています。年間の平均降水量は4センチにも満たないそうです。干上がりすぎた場所には、塩が地表に浮き出てきているのが確認できます。このDeath Valley 160キロにも渡って続いてます。



Death Valley's Unexpected Beauty

"I'm not a hunter, but I am told..."

These tracks are very interesting to me. I'm not sure what mysterious animal would leave this type of print. A two-legged lizard? A sandchicken? Perhaps just a dog?

This is a plant that looks like it belongs in the middle of some vibrant sea. I'm not sure what it is doing in Death Valley...

The Devil's Cornfield. This is more like Death Valley. Rocks, dead bushes... and the devil (right hand corner).

My favorite spot. Once upon a time there was a mighty ocean here. Only thing left now is some salt. Cracks don't get much more beautiful than this... (unless they come around to fix your toilet).

Resting on My Deathbed

If someone decides to viciously murder me, this is where I would prefer them to place my rotting corpse: 9 miles north of junction CA Hwy 374 and CA Hwy 190.

The bloodthirsty killer should then proceed to walk away from the scene in this fashion. Determined. One arm cocked and out to the side. Long strides to an undisclosed vanishing point. Remorseless. Slightly hunched over. Long hair blowing against the breeze.

Death Valley. A truly neat place if your not expecting much. Wow. Look at those cracks.

Cerque du Soleil "O"






Las Vegas, Arizona




Day 4 ends at Las Vegas




Today's Driving: 760 miles


Grand Canyon, Arizona

Road Trip 4日目でございます。今日、朝起きたら、脇田君はガスを入れにいってました。車がピカピカになって戻ってきたことは言うまでもございません。昨日赤土で汚れてたからね・・・。

さて、本日の観光は、グランドキャニオンでございます。一旦南下してから、South Rim (南側岸壁)から望みます。初めて見た瞬間、圧倒されます。岸壁に360度囲まれたような、感覚。自然の不思議と雄大な景色に思いをはせます。

有名な観光スポットは全てSouth Rim 側にあるわけですが、複数の友人・知人の証言によると、North Rim (北側岸壁)は更にすばらしい眺めがあるそうです。North Rim は空港からのアクセスが悪く、ツアーもあまり出ていないので、レンタカーしないといけません。次回は、グランドサークルを回りながら、是非North Rim を訪れてみたいです。


Day 3 ends at Mexican Hat, Utah

モニュメントバレーの観光が終わったら、あたりは真っ暗。まずは、腹ごしらえといきますか。名物、Swinging Stake でステーキディナー。バーベキューピットの上をゆらゆらブランコみたいにグリルをスウィングさせて、ステーキを焼いてくれます。



Today's Driving: 340 miles

The Animals of Monument Valley

Eeeekk!! A real life tarantula!

A not-so-real-life "sleeping dragon"

Look very closely and you will see a coyote at the base of the rock (the little white speck).

An antelope that dates back to 1,300 A.D. (according to local sources).

Plants of Monument Valley

Some flowers...

Some ferns...

And some more flowers...

Monument Valley 2

ツアー後半は夕闇差し迫る、静かな時間。空の色のコントラストが素敵な時間でもあります。写真は、Sun's Eye (太陽の目)と呼ばれる、半分ドームになっている大きな岩砦。屋根の部分に自然の穴があいていて、空が見えます。あたりはスッカリ冷えてきても、ドームの中は岩の温度であったかい。ガイドさんが「あーん」と叫ぶと、その声がこだましてました。(ここにはツアーでないと入ってこられないみたいです。)


Monument Valley 1






Santa Fe, NM




Day 2 Ends at Santa Fe


Today's Driving: 300 Miles

Dumpsters and Other Delights

For those of you who have travelled the Southwest, you may know that sometimes it is hard to find stuff to take pictures of. In times of trouble such as these, I suggest dumpsters. They tend to have lots of rust, dents, and an ominous presence (without being overbearing).

These dumpsters in particular are from the middle of butt-nowhere-Texas, but they have such character. They cried out for a photo shoot. So I gave it to them. Paid fifty bucks and we went our separate ways.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico



ジェフ、オハコの、Andy Goldworthy。芸術らしいです。雲に重なってキレイ。

Oregon or Bust!: Mexican Dog Fights and Other Delights

On day two of journey we left the comforts of home in El Paso TX for the exotic local of la Ciudad Juarez in Mexican National Territory. I felt uneasy the entire time... until I found a local bar that satisfied all my wildish nightmares about Mexican dogfighting. Pitbull vs. Pitbull. Two dogs enter; one dog leave. I anxiously put my money down. I cheered. I drank beer. I yelled. I cried.

I lost. So I left Mexico and left for White Sands.

Walking to Mexico



Oregon or Bust!: Christianizing the Pagans

Despite the threats of Hurricane Ike, Naoko's mom and her friends arrived safe and sound in San Antonio bound for Oregon. However, on the first day of our road trip I realized a horrible truth. My fellow travelers were in the favor of my lord Jesus Christ... for they were pagans. Yes, pagans. Unbelievers. Satan's minions. Ignorant blobs. Christ's goldmines, etc.

Immediately, I took them to a standard back-up for such situations: Mission San Jose. While they were chattering amonst themselves, I blessed them with a good ol' "in the name of the father, son, and the holy ghost." They didn't even know what hit them. Boom. I hit the back of their knees so they could learn to pray and from that moment on they ceased being pagans and became fellow travellers of Christ. Crisis averted and the road trip could continue.

Day One ends at El Paso, TX

今日の宿泊先、エルパソに到着したのは、9:30pm でした。でも時差線をひとつ越えたので、8:30pm到着ということになりました。1時間得した気分。前エルパソに住んでいた、Laurie お勧めのメキシカン料理を食べに行きました。ここのマルガリータ、今まで飲んだ中で、一番スムーズでした!お酒の味がしなくて、ジュースかと本当に疑ってしまいましたが、ごくごく飲んだら酔っ払いました。いいテキーラって本当にスムーズなのですね。いつも飲んでる安物みたいな、いや~な味がまったくしませんでしたよ!サオリさんと佐野さんはオンザロックでテキーラいってました。タコス・ファヒータ、おいしかったです。テキサス最後の夜にふさわしい、メキシコ料理でした。


Today's Driving: 552 miles