In the summer of 2003, Charlotte and I decided to take a trip across the country by rental car (why a rental? Don't ask--it's complicated, dull, and annoying.), stopping at various friends along the way, seeing the sights, and culminating in our annual visit to the Burningman festival in Nevada. This is the diary we kept along the way.
|25-26||Hot Springs AR|
|?||Oklahoma City OK|
|31||Mesa Verde CO|
|?||Grand Canyon AZ|
|11-13||Los Angeles CA|
|16-24||San Francisco CA|
|24-Sept 1||Black Rock City NV|
|2||Salt Lake City UT|
It was sunny and 97 degrees today. We have seen more lizards today, than I think I have seen in my entire life. They skitter from shady spot to shady spot. I do the same, less skittering. The heat doesn't let me move that fast.
In Moab there are signs everywhere; they are similar to 11x14 band posters, except in color and laminated. They hang on store fronts and in bathrooms and in the visitor's center. " Got H2O?" drink a gallon a day.
Water in this part of the country is not taken for granted. $2 for a shower in Mesa Verde. You must take water, a gallon per person, on this hike warns signs. We filled up our bottles this morning-- four gallons for the day. We will refill them tomorrow after a short hike. Tonight I washed my face with a handful, rinsed it with another. It was pure luxury. The locals said the heat wave ended last week. On the Mesa Verde hikes
Many of the possible paths for hikes at Mesa Verde were closed-- extreme fire risk. They can't evacuate everyone quickly enough if a brush fire breaks out. At Mesa Verde there was lightening. As Easterners we didn't understand why this herald of rain was not welcome. Even in pouring rain, if a pinyon pine is struck, the roots can smoulder for days before igniting and destroying hundreds or thousands of acres of trees and vegetation. It finally started to pour, lightening struck, a ranger said that three "smokers" were already being extinquished or being brought under control. I drive 11 mile down hair-pin turns, with sheer drops off the sides (on of the highest points is 7000 feet up) in this downpour that doesn't quench the earth is falls upon. After the hot day of hiking, during the drizzly aftermeth we head to a damp, outdoor lecture on geology and how it determines the fragile balance of moisture that kept the Anasazi alive. Somethings don't change.
Thirstily yours, Philip R Whatabotls