In this page I have gathered some images of places I visited in the Western United States.
I have to apologize for the low quality of these pictures; they are worh watching anyway.
Actually, they are snapshots from a video tape. For your reference, the videocamera is a Sony Handycam TR600 NTSC.
Most images are 320x200 JPEG files; they are from 30 to 80 kbytes.
This trip starts from Cupertino, California. Usually I start at the end of the workday, and travel during the night. This is very helpful if you don't have air conditioning in your car, because in summertime it can be very hot during the day.
By departing at 8:00 PM, I arrive to Las Vegas the next morning. Although Las Vegas is famous for its night life, you can see something during the day, too. The first exit off Interstate 15 gets you on "the Strip". The Strip is where all the new Casinos are located. Here you first notice one of the things Americans do better: select a theme and build upon it. Each casino has a definite style.
For example, the Luxor's style is Ancient Egypt. A few blocks later, you find the Excalibur.
Each casino has a hotel attached to it. Las Vegas is the last big city. We buy food and gasoline, and head for one of the most beautiful and strange National Parks: Bryce Canyon:
These strange rocks have been shaped by rain and snow.
The colored layers hint at different composition of the rock.
The park can be visited using the paved road. You can also descend by foot and visit one of the many small canyons.
Bryce is approximately mid way between Las Vegas, and one of the most famous marvels of the West: Monument Valley.
I'm sure you'll recognize these rock formations from many western movies:
As you can see, you can drive across the uniquely shaped mountains. You can also stop and ride on horseback for a closer look; on the Arizona side of Monument Valley, you can also arrange for a flight. Beware, however, that this area is subject to frequent thunderstorms. If you want to take good pictures you'll have to be patient, and wait until the storm is over. Only then you'll see all the worderful colors of the rocks.
Passing in Colorado, and then into New Mexico (some 5 hours east of Monument Valley), we enter Mesa Verde National Park, to visit the ruins of the ancient Anasazi Native American civilization.
Among pit houses and kivas, there are also amazing constructions below rock natural arches.
These hidden villages can be visited using one of 2 (sometimes 3) daily guided tours. The tours are on a first come, first serve basis. You have to get an additional ticket at the visitor center, where the rangers will tell you which next tour is available. To descend to the village you have to be in good health condition, since some passages are quite steep.
Here is how it looks like from the terrace, up above:
Plan to stay at least one day at Mesa Verde, otherwise there will not be enough time to visit all the ruins.
Between Mesa Verde and our next stop, lays the Arizona Desert.
This is what you'll see during most of the trip back toward the beginning of Grand Canyon.
Here is where the Colorado river starts its trip plunging into the deep Grand Canyon.
After so many hours traveling in the desert, you can finally rest and enjoy the water and the landscape.
People here can park their trailers and sail their boats in the river's calm waters.
Deeper in the Canyon, rafting is a popular sport.
We are close to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. The South Rim is more popular, and it's where the village is located. Again, to take good pictures you have to wait until the inevitable storm has passed. However, in my opinion, visiting the Grand Canyon is less astonishing than traveling to less known areas, like the ones shown in the above pictures.
From here, we follow the State Highway 95, a very beautiful road that goes on the bottom of the White Canyon. More strangely shaped rock can be seen on both sides of the road.
Several hours later we are back to Interstate 15, which takes us to Nevada, and through Las Vegas, into California's Mojave Desert:
You can see the town of Mojave at the very end of the desert, heading west. This scene always reminds me of the port at Mos Eisly from the Star Wars motion picture.
After so much desolated land, the Los Angeles area seems just like another planet.
This is where the famous Route 66 ends, in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica beach is just a few meters away:
This is the end of our journey. I hope you enjoyed it.
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