America '98
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America Trip
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Days 4 to 10
Day 11
Day 12
Days 13 to 14
Day 15
Days 16 to 18
Days 19 to 23
Days 24 to 34
Days 35 to 38
Days 39 to 44
Days 45 to 49
Days 50 to 57
Days 58 to 70
Days 71 to 86
Days 87 to 100

DAY 1: A Beginning

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"

After many months of planning and dreaming, the voyage has begun. This day has been the focus of my life since January, and it is quite a relief to finally partaking on what I feel will be the best experience of my life so far.

Our start was initially later than we expected, as delays were encountered with leaving our dorms. Once most of our possessions were in storage, and only what was need for the trip was packed in my car, we were ready to explore.

Even when we were still in Flagstaff, our lives had a different feel to it. Driving through town felt changed, in an almost intangible aspect. I have driven through Flagstaff for the past two years, and it felt like home, as I would be shopping, seeing friends, or some other activity that would soon be over and I would return to my comfortable dorm room, in Tinsley Hall. But Tinsley Room 331 was no longer my room, and driving in Flagstaff became a start of a new journey.

First experience was visiting Guru’s childhood home. It is a nice home, located in a quiet and friendly neighborhood on Cherry Hill. The previous owner had told Gu that he was welcome to check out the home anytime to see the remodeling that had occurred since the home was sold. The woman who now owns it is about 40, and has a young child. She is retired, but is an artist, mother, and traveler. I was interested by the Tibetan photographs and artwork scattered around the home. The wind chimes in the back garden set a peaceful background sound. I was amused, and also slightly confused, by the cow-skin rug that lay on her main entrance room. This confused me for the reason that the rest of her house had a pretty vegan appearance, with vegetarian cookbooks and a spiritual feel. Didn’t look like a household that would eat steak every weekend. Further adding to this was that while we were visiting, her cat had caught a mouse, which was still alive and playing with the little animal. She immediately reached down to pick up the mouse, saving it from its fate, while scatting away the cat. A leather rug seemed quite out of place.

Next person we met was in the parking lot of Safeway. We need to stock up on a couple food items and in the parking lot a young man, probably my age, asked us if we could spare any money. He said he was traveling and had burned his hand. The medical costs took up his money, and he was a little short on gas money. He had been camping near Flagstaff with a gypsy group for a while, and wanted to move on to Tempe. We told him that we were in the same position, traveling on very little money. Although I seemed poor by my past standards, I felt wealthy in his presence. I could assume that he did not have a new laptop sitting in his car. We talked for a little bit, and I fished out a lighter from my car so he could light a cigarette. He talked about how he hopes to make it to the White Mountains this summer to attend a national Rainbow Coalition convention. We wished him luck on his travels, he wished likewise, and we left.

We took Highway 89 through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. In the midst of wonderful red rocks, we met up with Robert Darwin, an old friend of Guru’s. We watched the other tourists of Sedona, many of whom are Japanese, and explored the shops of downtown. Gu went for coffee at a cafe, which was free since it happened to be the last cup of the day. After looking at more of the stores featuring artwork and tourist souvenirs, we drove to Marketplace Cafe, and had some excellent food. Guru and I tried the Diamond Dog, which is about as gourmet as a hot dog can get. We then drove to Rim Rock, which is about ten miles out of Oak Creek, to Robert’s family’s home. His father is a machinist at Lowell Observatory, and his mother is a strong religious woman, quite a Creationist. I found it rather ironic that her last name is Darwin and she’s a Creationist. They are very nice folks and we talked in their living room which has a large stone mantel.