Monday, April 26, 2010

Rock of Ages

I've always dreamed of a cross-country journey, so our trek across the southern U.S. to get from The ATL to Cali was supposed to be the ultimate adventure. Nonetheless, we were racing against the clock and it turned into a long haul instead of a leisurely ride to see the largest ball of twine. But, we did still see some neat stuff. Here's a quick recap of the highlights:

1. Alabama countryside - I can't say I was expecting anything at all, so how could I have been disappointed? The road between Montgomery and Selma (Hwy. 80 AKA the Selma-to-Montgomery Trail) was surprisingly pretty - rolling hills, yellow fields and lots of fresh, spring greenery.

2. Crossing the Mighty Mississipp - The bridges in Vicksburg, crossing from MS to LA were pretty monumental.

3. East Texas - As a fan of Friday Night Lights, I could just see Riggins and crew playing football and drinking beer in the hills of East Texas. A stop to see family in Tyler (esp. our adorable nephew, Dallas) was a highlight.

4. West Texas - I didn't think anything could be uglier than W. Texas after we passed Dallas and drove for hours, and hours, and hours. I was shocked when we started to see mountains in the distance and discovered how beautiful it was. The Guadalupes have always held a mystique for my dad, and I felt the same way. It was so peaceful driving through and I can't wait to go back. Plus, Marfa is a fascinating town I'm dying to visit.

5. Las Cruces, NM - El Paso was pretty darn scary, I have to admit. The traffic was nuts. It was NM or bust, and we made it to Las Cruces to stay at the pet-friendly Hotel Encanto. It was a little slice of heaven.

6. Imperial Dunes - Seriously, could California get any cooler? I had no idea what we were going to see when we crossed the border to our new home state. Sand dunes like I didn't know existed in the U.S. - Sahara-size, humongous dunes. So amazing - if I wasn't so afraid of the border patrol (they take their jobs very, very seriously) I would have gotten out, run to the top and rolled all the way down.

7. Cleveland Natl Forest - Remember Rock Biter in Neverending Story? The eastern side of the mountains in Cleveland National Forest look like he's chewed em up and spit em out. When you come down, you pass through the Lagunas, enter the hill country east of SD and then ride on down to the ocean. It's like heaven.