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Rumors that I pick my daily stops for their pun potential are completely unfounded. Maybe.

But let’s first go back to Alamosa, where a weather report indicated that the overnight temperature would be dropping well below 0°F, which the temperature should never do. Ever. There are warmer places on freaking Mars right now.

But this was my dashboard as I was about to drive out of town:

NOPE

Nope.

Yeah, I just have one thing to say to that:

Yeah, that’s a great big tub full of NOPE.

Once I got out of that accursed valley, though, temperatures rose to a balmy mid-20s.

I passed through Pagosa Springs, Colorado, too early to do anything but take pictures of this too-hipster-for-words brewpub:

I'm sure you liked this one before it was cool.

It’s too small to see here, but Kermit the Frog is desperately trying to escape from the upper window.

I did, however, manage to make it to this one in Cortez, Colorado by lunchtime (at which point, by the way, the temperature had climbed up into the mid-50s):

Oh look, a brewery in Colorado! How rare! Not.

Never did find out what those orange cones were for.

I hung around this also unbelievably hipster town (I’m sensing a theme here for Colorado) for an hour or so, because at that point I really needed to a) stretch my legs and b) apologize to the glowing yellow thing in the sky for calling it “the accursed daystar” and thank it for making the temperature a little bit less NOPE.

The rest of the trip today took me through Ute and Navajo country once more; you may recall I went through it last year. In fact, this route took me right past the Four Corners monument, though I didn’t feel the need to stop there again.

On the road to Page, I encountered some more awesome scenery.

Clearly, I wasn't the sole visitor.

I hereby name this place the Valley of Lost Soles.

Upon reaching Page, which is a small town just south of the Arizona-Utah border, I looked for a place that would sell me some Navajo frybread, which is as good a reason as any to be alive and have taste buds. But there wasn’t any. Instead, I found something far, far more dangerous – a sushi bar within walking distance. Okay, well, the sushi part wasn’t so dangerous, but it was also a bar bar. And they had sake. And absinthe.

I don’t remember much after that, but apparently I made it back to the hotel, and the reason this post is later than usual is I had to wait until I only had one screen to look at.

I’m pretty close to Vegas, now, less than a day away. Unfortunately, my reservation there doesn’t start until Sunday afternoon. I still haven’t decided whether to find another place in Vegas for one night, or maybe stay somewhere else. You’ll find out tomorrow. Later today, I mean.

Kayenta, Arizona

Today’s destination is deep in Navajo country. I went up to the hotel counter. The woman there said, “Hi! Can I help you?”

Me: “I have a reservation.”

Then I realized what I’d just said and I’m sure I turned beet red. I don’t even know if she caught it or not. But I’m still embarrassed about it. Next time I’m on Native lands I’m going to be sure to say something like “I have a room booked.”

Problem is, today’s internet connection is very, very slow, so instead of the complete update I’d been planning, I’m going to go for a summary: Reno, Virginia City, Carson City, and Vegas. Some good beer and good company (at least in the Reno area). And a picture of me in a Porsche.

What’s the difference between a Porsche and a porcupine?

I have other pics now, since my camera’s working again, thanks to my friends in Reno, but since it took me five minutes to upload that one, they’re going to have to wait.

Oh, and one reason I haven’t been updating is y’all saw the Reno-to-Vegas thing I did last year, and there’s not much point in rehashing old routes. It’s a boring enough trip to have to endure, let alone go through more pics of empty desert (at five minutes a pop).

I’m hoping I’ll have a better connection tomorrow, because I expect to have some semi-interesting things to post.

The End (For Now)

And so it ends – yesterday, I got home around 11 pm Eastern time, during the longest night of the year.

Total miles traveled: a bit less than 9000. I saw a lot of new things, met many interesting people, drank wonderful (and not so wonderful but still interesting) beer, won a bit in Vegas, and for a few minutes at least, I had a monkey on my back.

Not one ticket.

Not one accident.

And it could have been a lot worse – I could have had this chick’s luck:

A 23-year-old Arizona State University student was found with her Toyota Corolla on a remote dirt road in northeastern Arizona after being stranded in the snow for 10 days, authorities said… Around 11:30 a.m., Lauren Elizabeth Weinberg, an ASU senior, was found “alive and well” 46 miles southeast of Winslow. She was located with her vehicle, which was entombed in snow at Forest 34 and Forest 100 roads, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

I’m not going away now – I may not post as often for a while, but I will post (though I want a few days off). And sometime soon I’ll be traveling again, so please stay tuned. Until then, I want to wish all of you a happy and prosperous holiday season and New Year, whatever it is that you celebrate at this time of year. Because it doesn’t matter what you celebrate or how, but it’s important to celebrate, if for no other reason than we are alive and we are all traveling, in our own ways.

And I’ll leave you for now with this, my favorite holiday song:

Standin’ on a Corner

I was pretty much forced to abandon my interstate-shunning behavior today, for two reasons: one, the weather was shit; two, if you examine the map below, you’ll see that there is no way to visit Meteor Crater without using either interstates or shitty gravel roads, and due to reason one, I didn’t want to use shitty gravel roads. And I wanted to visit Meteor Crater. I mean, misnamed or not, I’ve been wanting to see it since I was a little kid.

And so, with a two-hour detour to see the big hole in the desert, I made it to Winslow, Arizona at dusk. I’d hoped to go further, but again – weather. And this way I get to put an earworm in everyone’s head: Tomorrow I’m going to find and stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.

You know, it would be a lot cooler if Winslow wasn’t using that song as a tourist attraction. Seriously. Listen: as you approach Meteor Crater from Flagstaff, a sign informs you to tune to some AM radio station for crater and Winslow information. This is kind of like when you’re playing Fallout 3 or Fallout:New Vegas, and a new station appears on your Pip-Boy as a recorded message on repeat.  It explains about how to visit the crater, which you expect. But then it urges you to visit Winslow so you can get your picture taken with a girl in a flatbed Ford.

Um… it occurs to me that some of you might not know what I’m talking about here. Sorry. Here:

There. You’re welcome.

Oh. Yeah. Speaking of Fallout:New Vegas, I discovered a while back that many of the places in that game have real-world counterparts, like Goodsprings, Primm, and the Hoover Dam. So, being an utter geek, I decided I had to visit Goodsprings. Now, this next picture won’t make any sense to you unless you’ve played that game, but if you have played it…

I didn't go into the saloon to see if my babe, Sunny Smiles, was in there.

 

I also passed by Sloan, but wasn’t attacked by Deathclaws. Primm really does have a roller coaster; there really is a correctional facility near Jean (which also exists and has an airfield), and while I didn’t go there, Nipton exists, too.

Novac, on the other hand, does not.

There are no Caesar’s Legion encampments near the Hoover Dam, and okay, I’m going to stop geeking out now.

Well, about Fallout, anyway. Meteor Crater is kinda geeky too, what with all the science and shit. Here’s a picture I took of it from the rim. I don’t have a wide enough angle lens to capture the whole thing. One of these days, I’ll get a panoramic stitcher.

Where's all the meat? They said this one was meatier, dammit!

 

And with that, I’m going to get ready to get some rest, here, so tomorrow I’ll be prepared to go runnin’ down the road, tryin’ to loosen my load. Until then, take it easy.

 

(Come on. You knew that was coming.)