Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Long Road Home

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Headin' outta Flagstaff

Early in the morning, the San Francisco Peaks stand behind the trees and meadows around Flagstaff. The grass alongside the road was bright with sunflowers and indian paintbrush.
San Francisco Peaks
The day is clear, the road not so much. It's not as bad as LA during rush hour, but I've got a lot of pictures with the butt end of a truck in them.
View From The Road
The road starts down the long slope to Seligman, with enthusiastic sunflowers to wave as we go by.
Road And Sunflowers
I took this picture to capture the winding road. I didn't realize until later, I had a picture that showed the blaze of vivid mustard on both sides of the road.
Mustard Ahead
Imagine both sides of the road awash in golden blooms. The Yellow Brick Road was never so golden.
Mustard Blooms1
Edged in the ever-present sunflowers.
Mustard Blooms2
Six percent grade, headed down out of the mountains.
Six Percent Grade
Road is steep, the view is magnificent. I remember driving this grade last week, tucked in behind a trucker, strobe flashes of lightning showing the mountains around me, the downpour trying to wash us all off the road. This is easier, but... that was exciting!
Road Is Steep
West of Flagstaff, long sections of Route 66 no longer exist as a separate road. Segments may exist as dirt roads on private property, or simply a wide stripe through the trees. The bare green stripes to the right of the road may be all that's left of Route 66 in this place.
Lost Route 66
Sometimes, road crews just cut on through, adapting the land to our needs.
The Road Thru
And sometimes, we gotta go around
The Road Around
I've taken a lot of pictures of mountains, clouds, sky, but I never get over my delight and joy at the layers of colors and textures each vista presents.
And Another Vista
Sometimes looking like cardboard cutouts or painted backdrops for a play.
Painted Backdrop

Crossing the Colorado,

the pictures are full of railing and railroad bridge.
Across The Colorado
The view back across the valley shows the Colorado River and the green of the agriculture that it generates.
Colorado Back View
Casualties of the road. And stacked neatly behind, their ever ready replacements.
Casualties Of The Road

Heading into the Mojave

The joshua trees in bloom.
Joshua Trees In Bloom
Driving thru the Mojave, sometimes the only sign of man's impact is the double ribbon of the interstate sliding into the hazy distance, punctuated by signs, rest stops, and very small towns.
Double Ribbon And Town
When you think of desert, often low rolling sand dunes come to mind. The Mojave has long rolling hills of rock and sparse scrub.
Mojave Rolling Hills
This dry lake brings to mind the words of the song "Horse With No Name" about a river that's dead. Rivers in deserts are never dead, only dormant. If you can see the riverbed, it's been scoured clean by flashflood, and kept alive by the sporadic rainfall. This lakebed still lives, probably flourishing when the snow melts.
Dry Lake
The Mojave has some fascinating geology: lava flows
Mojave Lava
Mojave Lava2  Mojave Lava3
And mountains with a split personality. I saw a lot of cloud shadows on the land, and thought this was another. It's not.
Mojave Rock Layers
And, of course, the many layers of landscape I love.
Mojave Layers1
Mojave Layers2  Mojave Layers3
The mountains seemingly floating in the distance.
Floating Mountains
Sometimes the road gets a bit crowded. I have more faith in the common sense of long haul truckers than I do many others on the road, but even so...
Trucks Ahead Of Me
It's a leetle tight in here.
And Trucks Behind
These power transmission lines may be bringing power in from Hoover Dam. They're coming from the right direction.
Power Transmission

End Of The Road

Coming to the end of Interstate 40, into Barstow, and then back into LA.
End Of The Road
Interstate 15, Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
End Of The Road2
It probably goes other places, but I always end in Vegas.
Or LA.

These are the backsides of the mountains that ring the LA basin.
LA Mountains

I suppose I should have taken more pics as we went thru LA. Maybe the mountains from the other side. But I've seen the mountains, and the traffic. If you want to come visit, I'll give you a tour. Right now, I'm taking a nap. It's been a long trip.

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