Listening to: “One April Day” – Stephin Merritt

Dude, can you believe this Western United States? It’s fucking crazy, man. Apparently there are snow storms back East or something. Ha. Ha ha.

canyonlake

It’s been sunny and dry and infinite ever since I landed in Phoenix last Tuesday. I’m staying out here with some good old friends, and I’ve been doing lots of climbing and riding in cars and making primitive-sounding exclamations at all the prettiness everywhere. Prettiness in the great outdoors that is. Nature = beautiful, but the cities here? Not so much. Because they can, the cities here stretch squat and wide. Phoenix isn’t so much urban as one endless suburb, halted from further stretching its tentacles only by the mountains.

We drove to Vegas, too. Saw the Hoover Dam, which looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. There was snow in Flagstaff, AZ, and dust in Boulder City, NV and wind in Needles, CA, and sun everywhere. We spotted the honest-to-god Oscar Mayer Wienermobile (!) in a bitty outpost along the old Route 66.

fishpools

We stayed at the Rio near the strip, I gambled a minute amount at one of the low limit casinos in Old Vegas (“old” being about 50 years), had a cigar at the Venetian and a dirty martini at Wynn. We recharged from the madness that is the Strip by climbing in Red Rock outside the city, eating at In-N-Out Burger, and holing up at a genuine hipster bar along Fremont.

Today I went hiking in South Mountain Park south of Phoenix, ambled along the ridgeline, snuck out of the park through a horse ranch, and walked about 2 miles along a rural highway with the mountains all looming and purple behind me. Got about 6 honks, pet some nice dogs. My friend picked me up a mile short of civilization.

altatrail

And now, I am very tired. Three days till I head back eastward and trade my cheap bomber jacket and Chucks for my cheap down coat and snow boots. Freeeeaking New England.

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