We headed north out of St. George before skidding west into a little town called Hurricane. It was about here that the landscape started to get interesting. The rocks began flushing red and the slopes began to form up into mesas. The farther we drove, the more dramatic the change. The road we were on dipped into the state line a little, so we ended up crossing into Arizona three times within a 12 hour period. A straight-line route would have been much easier and shorter, but the Grand Canyon was in the way.
I'd never had the opportunity (as long as I can remember) to take a long drive through the Southwest. It was so beautiful. The winds had swept rock faces into unbelievable shapes, and the distance between us and the far-off mesas turned their sides to dusky purples and blues. It was awesome.
Still, it wasn't home.
We crossed the bridge over the Colorado River and the end of Lake Powell, which was as close as I've ever been to the Grand Canyon. The road wound down through the rocks into an Indian Reservation (Tyler guessed Navajo, and I think he was right). After that it started sloping inexorably upward, and the scrubby juniper and pinyon gave way to ponderosa pine. Tyler took a deep breath at 7,000 feet, his home elevation.
Not long after, we came over the pass and into Flagstaff, the end of my journey. Drove onto Route 66, which runs through the middle of town, and looped around to find the Grand Canyon International Hostel, where we'd be staying the night. I really liked it. The people were really warm and friendly, and the building was a bright, wooden, well-lit creaky thing. I was a big fan.
Find out what cleaning product you are here! by mizzytizzy
We threw our stuff in the rooms (Tyler stayed with three other guys, I with three other girls), and decided to head out onto the NAU campus for a walk-around. I quickly realized how unused my feet were to walking in socks, and had to take them off fairly quickly. There isn't much to say about the walk. It was a long one, and I was pretty quiet throughout the whole thing. Both of us liked the windmill power generators and solar panels, and Tyler pointed out the little campus observatory, which made me smile.
We spend several hours on this walk. Then it was a quick stop back at the hostel and a jaunt into town. We checked out a couple of stores...a southwesty-thing, a crystaly-incense thing, and a drum place. I love the kinds of stores we enjoy. The southwesty store had a beautiful selection of feathered bows and arrows. I like archery a lot, and I thought about looking at a couple. But I decided in the end that if I ever display a bow and arrows in my home, a) I want the bow and arrows to be fully functional, not decorative, and b) I want to be a better archer. Plus, I'm poor.
We found a great restaurant that served all sorts of multicultural stuff (Italian, Mediterranian, American, Japanese, etc). Tyler got a gigantic pita thing that mystified us both as to the manner in which it was to be eaten (but he managed). I got manicotti. We shared some hot chocolate in a mug larger than our soup dishes, and it was so rich, it was practically a meal in itself.
We were pretty full and footsore after that, which makes for perfect curling-up-and-reading time, which we did, gladly, on the futon in the hostel lobby. I tripped off to bed a little early and did the best I could to block out the shouting from indoors (9-12) and the drunken laughing from right outside my window (2-3). It was St. Patrick's day after all.
I did see some partygoer wearing a completely inappropriate shirt that made me laugh in spite of myself. "Blow me, I'm Irish."