Having slept about 15 minutes last night (you know, those hours that you spend in bed thinking about all sorts of things that you only get to think about while you travel the world), I was extremely unhappy to get out of bed at 4:30am.
Well, it was already known that this is going to be a particularly hectic day. The distance between Phoenix and Denver is about 1400km, which is about 900 miles; we have two days to complete it, and we decided to do most of the driving in one day, which is today—as the concert is tomorrow and nobody wants to drive too much on a concert day.
Hungry as a dog and tired as the very same dog, I started driving the happy bunch to the airport, to drop Nancy off. The night before, the front‐desk receptionist reaffirmed what Nancy had told us before—that Phoenix’s traffic may be insane during weekdays, even on 4:30am. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it in my own eyes: traffic was flowing but I can’t recall when was the last time I saw so many vehicles on the road in such an early hour.
The reason for that, according to Nancy, is that Phoenix’s land‐mass is huge, and it has quite a few suburbs so a 2‐hours commute is not something out of the ordinary.
At 5:15am, there was no snow anywhere around (…) but we did capture the temperature at 74℉ / 23.3℃. That’s pretty warm, isn’t it. “Perfect for convertible mode” we thought, and took the roof down… only to realize that temperatures change with every mile you drive and before long we had to wear something extra.
No way I was going to leave Arizona without taking a picture next to a good, nice‐looking saguaro. A saguaro is what the average person first sees in his mind when thinking of Arizona. The saguaro is a particular type of cactus that grows to be the size of a tree. It is very common in Arizona, which is probably why it is considered to be Arizona’s state‐flower.
MAN are these things huge. And old, too: some of them may live to 150 years and apparently there’s a sub‐species of it that grows to be 13.8 meters (!) high.
The saguaro picture‐rama took place at around 6:00am and then we started doing some serious driving. I started, and once I realized I should not continue any further, Jeroen took the wheel and I tried to find a comfortable position to sleep in, to no avail. I was in that weird state between sleep and awareness, until I realized that Jeroen pulling over and the GPS saying “arriving to Subway”.
I opened my eyes.
“Where are we?”, I asked.
“I don’t know”, came the reply. He then proceeded: “I have never seen anything like this. This is the most boring road I could think of, much more boring than yesterday’s”.
Now that, folks, is not something to underestimate. The road we took yesterday from Los Angeles to Phoenix was really, really boring. Hard to imagine a more boring road than that, so I was really intrigued. But first, we decided to eat something and have coffee.
Following the GPS’ instructions to the nearest coffee‐place, we realized we’re in a town named Winslow, in Arizona. Driving through its downtown, I was rather amazed. We’re literally in the middle of nowhere. Nothing is open (that coffee place wasn’t even there). The only thing missing from the picture was tumbleweed and you got yourself a perfect western movie.
Realizing that good coffee is not what we’re going to get in Winslow, we had breakfast at Subway and continued the drive.
Funnily enough, yes, it was even more boring than yesterday’s.
An endless road offering nothing to see except sand, sand and more sand. Sometimes the occasional weed, but that’s pretty much it. An extremely boring drive. As we approached the Arizona—New‐Mexico line, the scenery improved and we started seeing some huge reddish rocks here and there, high sand hills, and of course more weed.
Ridiculously enough, the only acceptable coffee‐place we could find was a Starbucks in Albuquerque, New‐Mexico. To put things into perspective, I should tell you that the distance from Phoenix to Albuquerque is 750km (466 miles). That’s a long drive without any coffee. At last, we made it and took an hour or so break in Albuquerque, New‐Mexico.
Really nothing to do there. Seems like a boring city; people walk the streets with strange look on their faces. As I am no fan of such atmospheres, we left Albuquerque and never looked back.
I should tell you though, that finally, I booked my flight ticket from Toronto to Dublin for the European leg of the Get Lucky tour. I decided to take a few extra days in Spain after the tour is done, in order to unwind from the busy schedule of the tour; will spend those days somewhere in Spain, most likely Barcelona as I have friends raving about this place.
Anyway, starting in Albuquerque, scenery is becoming slightly more interesting. The Rocky Mountains, after all, are not that far away; we saw mountains at the horizon but I doubt those were the Rockies. So far I have only seen the Canadian Rockies, which is the prettiest natural sight my eyes ever had the opportunity to indulge with. I am really interested in exploring the American Rockies, see what they’re about.
From Albuquerque, it’s the I‐25 North all the way to Denver. We knew we’re not going to make it to Denver before dark, and none of us was looking forward to the possibility of driving through the mountains in the dark. Eventually, once darkness fell, we decided to stop in a tiny little city called Trinidad, Colorado—a few miles north of the New‐Mexico—Colorado line. As we climbed some mountains there (our altitude was, at some point, 2,173 meters!), I noticed some deer lurking by the highway.
Finally… the American Rockies. I’m writing this post at the Best Western in Trinidad, CO—sweet deal, huge room all inclusive $67. Will go to sleep soon and explore the Rockies for a little while tomorrow, before heading to the concert in Denver.
All the best,