Memories of the road, USA

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By Anja Ahrens:

We were only in the United States for two weeks – a flying visit really – and we had decided to spend three of those days driving through the desert. With a four year old child and my in-laws in the back seat. Everyone said we were crazy, and maybe we were. But we loved it. During those days on the road I understood how fascinating the mountains can be, how the desert does not stay the same (as you might imagine) but instead the landscape was changing every twenty minutes, or with every bend in the road. The back seat passengers were happy and so were we.

My memories of that trip begin with the turn off along the old Route 66 and an abandoned town, my son playing cowboys amongst the buildings before it was time to hit the road again towards the Grand Canyon. We drove along a dead straight road for hours, passing only a lonely hotel and an airstrip to deliver those tourists who flew in rather than driving across the desert. We got to the canyon with fifteen minutes before nightfall, the amazed guard of the National Park surprised that we wanted to enter. Within less than an hour all daylight had gone, an incredibly fast process that we were not used to, and so we picked our way through the darkness to find our hotel.

From our hotel the next morning we made our way to Monument Valley, and then on through the canyons and valleys, deserts and gorgers, through Gooseneck and Mexican Hat, National Parks and landscapes of amazing colours and forms and rock. We took photographs of course, many of which you can see here, but the memories of those three days will live with me for a long time, such as the natural wall of rock a couple of hundred metres high that we came upon and the road that seemed to drive straight up it, bending and weaving like a rollercoaster and making me happy that I was not in the driving seat. And from the top, more great views and more great memories. My son is still asking when we can make a journey like that again.

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Words & Pictures: Anja Ahrens

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