The Halfway Point

The Great American Road Trip has now passed its halfway point and so it’s time to recap.
We have visited:

  1. Death Valley
  2. Zion National Park
  3. Bryce Canyon
  4. Arches National Park
  5. Dead Horse State Park
  6. Bandolier National Monument

Trying to choose a favourite would be like trying to choose a favourite child, and as I have none, and Wingo has only one, such a comparison would be odious. Every park is different and every one is magnificent. We have nothing but respect and admiration for the National Parks Service – with the exception of the park ranger at Death Valley. He asked us whether we’d be visiting other parks. We replied in the affirmative, listing those mentioned above. He suggested we might buy an annual pass, after all one visit is $25-$30, and the annual pass is just $80. We bought one from him on Thursday of last week. The next day all National Parks became fee free for a week to celebrate their 100-year birthday. If we were going back to Death Valley we’d certainly be looking him up!

We’ve discovered that different states have different laws for just about everything. We’ve visited California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and we’re now in New Mexico. In Nevada we discovered it was OK to wear a pistol in a diner but not to order a beer. In Utah we found that the Mormon wowsers who control the state will not let breweries make beer with an alcohol content of more than 3%. We feel that Colorado has just about got the balance right. We like Colorado. It’s liberal. (Small L.)

We’ve sat in bars, on trains, in cafes and talked to people about politics and we’ve not found one person who has admitting to being a Trump supporter – or even to being a Republican voter. Hilary is on the nose but no one thinks Bernie can knock her off

We’ve discovered that when two slightly rotund, mature gentlemen travel together, the motel clerks assume we’re gay and apologise if they can’t find us two rooms close together. We assume gay chaps would be actually be booking one room and not two, so what’s with that? We’ve discovered that living on a budget, as we are, means that the quality of motels we’re staying at; while comfortable, safe, clean and quiet, often don’t have any condiments. Often just a little cake of soap.

We’ve discovered lots of things about each other. We know each other’s back stories intimately. Wingo admits that he is a doubting Wingo and his frequent response to a situation with which he is unfamiliar is to say, “Naaaah, Bullshit!!!” In return he has pointed out that I frequently say, “It’ll be fine”, in response to just almost any situation. I now realise that in fact I do. Frequently! From him I have learned more about growing up with the Christian Brothers than I really needed to, and we’ve learned that as we’re about the same age we know the same, (generally appalling), set of jokes.

We have discovered that in bars, the barkeep will give you a glass of iced water for every beer you drink – without being asked. We have tried to eat well and have discovered that you can go to Whole Foods and get breakfast from their vast array of excellent grains and fruits on offer. But I have sometime noticed Wingo occasionally sneaking a pastry snail from reception before we go to breakfast. We have tried to eat well and have only resorted to hamburger twice in 12 days, and once only when we were a little worse for wear. So that really doesn’t count.

We’ve had dinner in a brothel (and that really was all), caught a steam train through the mountains, drunk in some really fun bars, and have sat next to a bloke who worked in Wollongong and dated a girl from Ulladulla. We have not yet met a girl from Kalamazoo.

Since we left SFO we have driven nearly 2,500 miles or farther than from Sydney to Perth. We have discovered that while I drive at or slightly above the speed limit, Wingo likes to drive 10-15 mph below it. He is a somewhat nervous passenger but I have solved this by crushing Xanax into his breakfast cereal.

We have laughed an awful lot, although not necessarily at the same time. And just like the odd couple, we have accepted each other’s idiosyncrasies. (Just don’t tell him about the Xanax.)

We still have Santa Fe to conquer, then we will have a night at Truth or Consequences. (How could we not?) A handful of nights around Tucson before tracking north, stopping at Vegas and then onto SFO for our trip home.

And of course, I have posted photos here






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