Route 66 – Irina’s Journal

Day 5 Monday 4th October

First feeling – terrible headache and general allergy to light… Went for a short drink yesterday, stepped for a moment into local pub. American football was on, with all towns’ supporters there (all 15 of them) with supporting hats, screams and lots of beer. Asked bar-girl for a beer and was confronted with the first puzzling question – draft or bottle. Apparently draft is a tap beer. So, we decided to go for it. Now, the situation did not improve a lot, such as the next question was – which one? I had no idea, so I just asked “which one would you recommend?” the answer killed me:

“Well, we have a really good one! It’s called Stella Artois”.

After we finished laughing and explained why, girl brought me very nice ale, and I don’t remember anymore what for JC. It was a nice one, and hmmm, rather big. But OK, I was planning to have only one anyway. We enjoyed our beers for a while and discussed what we should do after. TV was just in front of me and willing or not caught my attention. But what guys were doing fighting each other and running on the field with huge numbers I really failed to understand. So, during the commercial I asked a guy next to us to give a short explanation. Instead I got the usual question “where are you from? Oh, Belgium? I like it! We have been there in August! Our daughter lives in London, we visited her and travelled around Europe.” we got into a discussion about our trip and it turned out that he and his wife not only have been in Vegas the same day as us (in the Venetian :-)), but also took the same lost road to the canyon we did! In fact, they were in the only car going down when we were coming up – I had to give them space to pass! :-) That got us into a long discussion about route 66 – apparently they were not locals at all, but coming from New Jersey! During the discussion, his wife came over from souvenir shopping and happily joined the chat “oh, you are from Belgium?! We loved it!” here we go again… In fact, they travelled through the whole France as well – Paris, Toulouse, Napoli… Things like that get you a bit surprised during your first beer. But by the third one you agree that Monet is a great Dutch painter indeed and yes, you did visit his birth house in Bruges as well!

Plenty other interesting things, but I am not a writer so will try to stick to short notes. Had a nice chat with German girls who live in Chicago now and two Italian Swiss who were playing pool. Got (finally) rough explanation of football rules from a strange but very friendly guy with a smile of tooth paste commercial, dressed like if he is sleeping on the pub floor for a week and clean new shoes… Supported another guy playing pool really well – he won 5 games in a row! We paid for the drinks and I think we left the girl a bigger tip than the bill was – but she was really nice! Got the usual “be safe during your trip!” from pretty much the whole pub. Finally got to the motel and fell asleep instantly.

Next day, we went to the diner to have a nice breakfast, not being very impressed by the one in motel. Met the strange friendly guy already or still at the street, got a “morning” and a Colgate smile. The diner was great! I thought places like this exist only in the movies, with train like seats, huge cups of coffee and a “simple” breakfast and two scrambled eggs, bacon, potato cake and enormous delicious pancake size of a pizza and amazing syrup.

After the breakfast I thought I will die and couldn’t breathe, so we went for a short walk downtown. Suddenly the car stopped and somebody cried my name. Here they were – German girls! On their way to the canyon!

After the walk, compulsory pictures and some shopping.

Now, the canyon was great! So great, it totally justifies its name :-) we kind of took the wrong path (my fault) but it was fun anyway. Suddenly there was some screaming again. Yep, you are right – our German girls again! I agree, it’s a small canyon, impossible to miss each other. I will not be surprised if we meet them in Chicago as well. Btw, they were lost as well.

We went a bit further when some light clouds started gathering. Then they got bit darker. And then, well, let’s just say that it was worth seeing this place in a full blown thunderstorm! Very impressive! Very cold as well! Here I understood that my new hat is great and worth every penny! Luckily a bit further was a shuttle bus that brought us back to the parking. We took the car and decided to do the viewpoints. At the next point we got out, spent max 10 min outside, and my nails turned purple from cold. I don t know how cold it was, but hale that fell during the storm was not melting… Some more viewpoints further (not smart, I know) we got totally frozen, but at the last one there was great hot chocolate, so life was wonderful again!

We left the canyon and just by chance we also passed by Sunset volcano. The national park was already closing, so we kind of were totally alone there. Volcano was not all that interesting, but the view at the forest and the mountains was amazing!

We stopped for the night in an authentic route 66 motel, got into a chat with a lady at the reception. Originally polish, she came to the States in 1979 as a student. Now, I will come to this point later, but motel was a total crap. Maybe 20 years ago it was ok, but not anymore. Oh, let’s be honest – it was always crap by the way it looks. Well, bed was clean, shower was hot, I was so tired and sick, I went to sleep at 7pm wearing a pyjama and a pool over .

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