Sunday, April 27, 2008

getting our kicks on route 66 ...

After 3 nights in Vegas I'd had my fill, so I was glad to set out into the desert for one final road trip.

After the relative excitement of driving across the top of the Hoover Dam, the highway running through the Arizona desert was dull, dull, dull. A whole hour without the slightest curve or kink made me very glad indeed of cruise control - never again will I think of motorway driving in the UK as boring.

We spent the night at the old Route 66 town of Williams just 60 miles south of Grand Canyon National Park, which nowadays has reinvented itself as a tourist gateway, with restored 1950's diners.

A we drove out to the canyon the following morning we nearly hit a roadrunner crossing the highway - having now had the opportunity to observe both a Coyote and a Roadrunner, I feel qualified to raise a few issues with the classic cartoon.

Running out front of cars is just plain stupid. However, the Coyote we saw displayed his wiley characteristics perfectly as he stalked a small herd of deer - wandering off casually behind a building after being sighted, only to reappear moments later from a completely different direction. In real life I just don't think there would be any contest, much less the need to spend a small fortune at ACME.

But the biggest question is why? Roadruners are tinier than the cartoon makes out. In fact I reckon you'd probably get more meat on your average housesparrow. I can't see that in real life a Coyote would even bother.

The Grand Canyon was well worth the journey, and if anything possibly more impressive than I had expected. After taking in several viewpoints, the return journey gave us the opportunity to take the more scenic route for a couple of hours along the 66. It was just a small taster of the classic road trip from Los Angeles to Chicago, but I think the full route would make an excellent holiday - and current exchange rates I doubt there'll ever be a better time to do it.

We'd had a great day, but as we took lunch in a classic 1950's Soda fountain (think lemonade, with vanilla ice-cream and fresh cherries) I couldn't help thinking Mel had let all this talk of cartoons go to her head ...

Finding new beers to sample is becoming increasingly difficult but as we stayed just outside Vegas I got to sample of couple of hitherto unseen beers from Utah at a local wine bar.

My eye was especially drawn to the Polygamy Porter and after ordering a bottle I was even more amused by the strapline on the bottle - Why only have one?