From Vegas we drove back to one of our favorite places, the grand Canyon Motel in Williams on Route 66. This time, we even got a room in a train carriage (a Caboose) to Maxim and Callum delight until we discovered that it was...wait for it...a certified haunted site, specifically in the train carriages....But we saw about as many ghosts as we saw bears...(beside the one in Castro, but it does not count)
We were in for a treat this Saturday, a real, unmissable american tradition, an authentic Rodeo. It was during Memorial week end, a three days celebration dedicated to the American war veterans.
First we stood on the main street to watch a rodeo parade, in a sea of flags, surrounded by locals in cowboy hats...with real guns. And here, for sure, you had better stand with your hand on your heart during the National Anthem that everybody sings loudly, line after line...
Then it was time to follow rodeo road and join more or less the same crowd to stand yet again with our hand on our heart for the anthem among the flags.The emotion was immense, the sadness infinite as they all remembered the terrible tragedy of 9/11 and the long war that followed.
Maxim and Callum were astonished to see children of their age sitting for a few second on top of angry beasts, tumbling in the dust and standing up again with a forced smile and new bruises. Imagine being the mother of those kids...And I thought Surf Life was scary...
We watched on as teenage horses and bulls with attitude demonstrated the 101 ways to get rid of pesky cowboys including rolling in the dust as soon as possible. I swear they were laughing with horsy teeth or bull lips as another human bit the dust (and yes, they did play the Queen song at the appropriate time). Sitting there, cheering with everybody, as the dust became golden in the sunset...another gem to store away.
On Monday, we retraced our steps to Needles and spend a day exploring one of the best part of Route 66 all the way to Kingman. On a twisty road across an alien landscape, we discovered where the makers of "cars" got their inspiration from. On Paul's mind, as he was handling one tight corner after the next, there was only one thought 'I wish I was on my motorbike'. On the way, we stubbled onto a funny little town, Oatman, ode to the good old days on Route 66, with families of donkeys (known here as Burros) ambling freely among the tourists, poking their heads in the shops or lying in the shade. It was a nice way to farewell Arizona.
Tuesday, we drove back to Los Angeles, back to potnoodles shaped roads, back to traffic and jerky truck drivers. Paul held on tight to his steering wheel, guided by the calming voice of our faithfull TomTom.
A final rejig of our luggages, a farewell to our awesome Dodge, a last relaxed stroll on the Santa Monica Pier...Bye California, thanks for the memories, we will be back. Hello New York, here we come.