Monday, 24 December 2012

There's Beefsteak in Them There Mountains!

So we were about halfway through our desert drive and had crossed cactus, ghost towns and cowboys off our list. Next stop on the road trip express was Sedona, Arizona.

It was while watching Leah's actress chum get done up for the filming of her TV show back in Philadephia that the make-up artists had practically made us take a blood oath to visit a small town called Sedona, a short drive away from Flagstaff, Arizona. It was the gateway of Grand Canyon territory and as the car shot along the motorway past cactus forests and seas of sand and dust, the red clay mountains began to rise out of the horizon.

'They look like steak', I observed loudly to Leah over the seventieth replay of Maroon-sodding-5 on the local radio. I feasted my eyes and my tummy rumbled in agreement. It looked good enough to eat.

stop and stare

We stopped for lunch on Sedona high street, splitting up for Starbucks and hamburgers respectively. I sat chewing on the meat, watching black crows dancing across the azure sky dive-bombing in and out of the cotton puff clouds. The tundra looked raw, like a newly formed graze on a clumsy knee. I wanted to run out and play in the red, cracked rock, Cowboying and Indianing with Leah or pretend to be an outlaw on the run from a bureaucratic sheriff and his deputies. Unfortunately neither of us had come prepared for playtime so made do with fingering Western trinkets and tat in the stores and shoving each other into the doorways of the numerous psychic stores that offered tarot readings and healings.

There was more rock gawping the next day at the Grand Canyon. We skirted around the western rim counting the layers of ancient rock and craning our necks trying to spot the Colorado river that runs through the bottom of this massive crack in the Nevada earth.

There was excellent people watching to do too. Hilarious parents were dangling their distressed children over the cliffs, their wails echoing superbly into the rocky abyss. Japanese tourists were out in force, displaying posing skills the world's best supermodels would amputate a limb for. One fellow had forced his mother-in-law to take a snap of him posing with his supercharged megabucks long lens camera, the wind ruffling his hair as he positioned himself on a dusty red overhang. Ridiculousness of the highest order.

While waiting for one of the shuttle buses to come and shunt us over to the next officially-approved photo spot, a bandy legged, full antlered young moose came ambling towards us slurping at the leaky water tap and looking at us in a less than AMOOSING manner. I scuttled fearfully behind the massive rocks that acted as a fence but Leah had her Mother Nature hat on and was clucking at Lady Moose encouraging the beast closer and putting herself in serious danger of becoming impaled in those thorny antlers.


There was a tense stand-off during which I yelped as quietly as possible for Leah to move back. She took no notice. The moose's eyeballs glistened menacingly, her hoof scraping against the concrete, pissed off that we weren't moving out of her territory. She staggered forwards drunkenly, like a flock of Hen Party wenches on their way home from a Billericay kebab shop. Gently, gently. Finally, with a generous heap of British swearing and passive aggressive muttering learned from eons spent on a rush-hour Bakerloo line, the moose backed off and took her rightful place in the shuttle queue where we waited in harmony until the shuttle finally, eventually rocked up.

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