Just over half way in and there are just a few things I am beginning to miss for home 1. most importantly, Earl Grey tea – it’s been the best part of two weeks without a cup! 2. And greenery. One thing I noticed as we traveled down the state, is the alpine green of North California quickly vanishes replaced by barren scrub. The few sycamores which do try their luck at the heat look parched and this is something that characterises most of the southern state. As you drive from San Diego towards Arizona, vegetation becomes a scarcer characteristic of the landscape.
We finally crossed the state border like foreign aliens huddled like sardines and waited anxiously as the serious customs officials scrutinised our passports. Arizona is desert country and the road opened up to reveal glorious plains dotted with Suwari Cacti and a horizon dominated with a cerulean sky – the closet I’m going to get to Western country on this trip. All we missed was the tumble weed. Despite being desert, Arizonians still attempt to farm with extensive irrigation channels filled with Colorado river water running alongside fields of corn.
As you would expect the heat cranks up several notches by the time we reach the Imperial Sand Dunes. We soon hit the road, shortly after we dug the van out the sand pit. Arriving in Phoenix (widely acknowledged for not being particularly notable) we sat down to Philly Cheese Steak (a beef sandwich) and cheap Margaritas in a local All- American sports bar.
In the tone of the first half of our trip, the second half is proving true to form. Our intrepid explorer, Yankee (his new nickname) has already had to sweet talk a five-o (a bobby) for apparently blocking the street, we have 13 witnesses that say otherwise. Our night in Phoenix followed in the same style, with several warnings from the hotel staff, international drinking games and egged on by the ‘responsible’ team leader, the scenario played out like this…underwear-glad, ‘Well, I’ll jump in if you do’, ‘OK then’. And the impromptu pool party was born!