Welcome to iconic America, the luscious backdrop of movie Westerns and the red-rock land of limitless horizons. Time has etched itself on these yawning landscapes, carving white-water canyons, soaring buttes and formations of psychedelic sandstone beyond compare. Chunky rusted jewels of mile-long freight trains rumbling through towns like Flagstaff and Tuscon hark back to a distant era, and insane art houses dot lonely rural routes. From ghost towns to spa towns, mysterious space aliens to Route 66 Americana, so many themes invite exploration that road trips barely seem to scratch the surface, never lasting long enough to experience its breadth.
Ranging from the Grand Canyon National Park to the Mexican border and taking in the states of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, the Southwest can seem like one enormous park, alternately inhabited by saguaro cacti, high-elevation evergreens and barren tumbleweed desert. Its human population has the same variety, with Anglo, Native American and Hispanic residents forming a unique tri-cultural mix. There’s plenty of small-town quirk but rarely any big-city smirk – people take it slow and always have time to stop and chat. And of course there’s Las Vegas, the neon-clad desert oasis that never bothers to sleep.
It’s impossible to see it all, despite all frenzied attempts. So pull up a patio chair at sunset, shuck your shoes and savor the film-finale sky.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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