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The Grand Tour 22: Grit, Grime, and Gouging in the Golden State

This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

May 19, 2018: Lake Havasu City to Hesperia: Route 66 in the West is beautiful. Route 66 in California is ugly, unrelentingly so. Or perhaps we are just tired of it all by this point.  This is not our best day. My tummy is upset and Anna is fed up with the heat. At this …

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Burros invading a shop

The Grand Tour 21: The Funkiest and Saddest Towns of our Trip

This entry is part 21 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

May 18, 2018: Peach Springs to Lake Havasu City: If there is one thing that you can say about eccentrics, whether ordinary or deliberate, they seem a happy lot. The places that are just in it for the money can sometimes seem desperately sad.  The Grand Canyon caverns motel has clearly decided that it does …

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Mannequins on the veranda, Seligman

The Grand Tour 20: Mannequins, Dinosaurs, and Fuzzy Stars

This entry is part 20 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

The Interstate killed Route 66, but it also gave it life. Without the Interstate it would be an overcrowded highway. Because of it, it is a delightful tourist route. We visit the town where the new Route 66 was born. And I look upward and do not see stars.  May 17, 2018: Flagstaff to Peach …

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Grand Canyon at dawn

The Grand Tour 19: Of Altitude, Fairy Tales, and Earrings

This entry is part 19 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

Seen in the right light, there is a fairytale quality to the Grand Canyon and to the forests that line the rim. But the forest path can sometimes lead to the witch’s cave — in our case, the US medical system.  May 16: Grand Canyon to Flagstaff: I am usually an early riser and when we …

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Arizona Sampler along Arizona 64

The Grand Tour 18: Amazing Scenery, and the Grand Canyon

This entry is part 18 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

Surprise is a significant part of the pleasure of a road trip. The view revealed for a moment as you crest a rise or round a corner can be magical. But the great tourist sites of the world cannot be a surprise; one has seem them time and again long before one ever sets eyes …

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Hopi Taco

The Grand Tour 17: The Secret Museum and the Perfect Taco

This entry is part 17 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

We cannot separate a people from their landscape. To visit one is to visit the other. This makes tourism a kind of natural resource that people living in attractive or unusual landscapes can choose to exploit as they would oil or timber or fertile crop land. But in the case of tourism, the choices and …

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Arizona high desert plain

Grand Tour 16: Finding Fern Seed and Elephants in Petroglyphs and Rock and Roll

This entry is part 16 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

Sights ancient and modern are larded with claims of certain knowledge that are dubious at best, given the available evidence. Without contradiction, a guess hardens into assurance. But our certainty is tinged with aspiration. May 13, 2018, Gallup to Winslow: I’m not sure what the climate classification is for the landscape West of Gallup, New …

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Taos Pueblo

Grand Tour 14: Holy Jumble and the Intrusiveness of Tourism

This entry is part 14 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

To travel is to intrude. The intrusion may be welcomed. It may be invited. You may pay for the privilege of intruding. But it is still an intrusion, and sometimes you feel like an intruder even where you are welcomed. But then, there are some places, no matter how foreign, where you always feel at …

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Strange offerings.

Grand Tour 13: Holy Dirt and the Sacredness of Real Things

This entry is part 13 of 22 in the series Grand Tour

All through the New Mexico portion of this journey, I have noted how much it matters here what things look like. This is in some small part a reflection of how much things matter. I don’t mean this in the sense of how much it matters to have things. Rather in the sense that things …

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