Sunday, 20 September 2009

South West USA: From canyons to mountains

So far so good. Maybe I should do a bit of travel updating to let you know where we are now, at this moment. After Sedona we drove to Grand Canyon, and after that past Antelope Canyon (Page) all the way to the Rockies. We are now in Durango, Colorado. This is the land that is shown in pictures and movies about the Wild West. This is where the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was shot. Durango is an old mining town with nineteenth-century buildings, like the saloon, and nice little shops that are not part of a chain.

Of course a lot of it is touristy but not all and some quaint little gems can be found. For example yesterday I walked into a tiny little bookshop. The proprietors (a past-their-middle-age couple who looked like they had a full life, so to speak) were sitting outside on a bench. The lady told me “go on in, there's three rooms in there!” in an accent I had so far heard chiefly from Cletus of the Simpsons. (I could be wrong but that's what it sounds like to eurotrash like me.) There were three rooms in there, small ones packed to the ceiling with second hand books: romance novels, classics, childrens books from the fifties, how-to books about everything from fixing lawnmowers to finding spiritual enlightenment, science fiction and gardening. And pretty much everything else, in varying states of use, wear and tear, with beautiful old binding or cheap paperbacks for $2.95 (Much Ado about Nothing).

I had wandered into this shop as my man was checking out the bike shop across the road. Durango was the location this weekend of the mountainbike race called Singlespeed World Championship (SSWC). Singlespeed is a highly specific subculture of mountainbiking which is quite a subculture in itself. It means that the bike have no gears... Everywhere around town there are bikes, bikes, bikes. Most of them pretty expensive ones with the gears torn off. Many bikes have extraordinarily large tires to tackle the obstacles on the way, tyres up to 29 inches and we even saw a 36''.

The mountainbiking culture includes rowdy drunkenness, witnessed by us upon arrival in Durango on Thursday evening. The hangover (for them, not for us!) was Friday morning, registration for the race on Friday afternoon, the party (for them, not for us!) on Friday evening. The race was on Saturday. I have no idea who won. I believe you're not supposed to take it very seriously anyway.

Our Saturday consisted of a train ride on the historical Durango-Silverton line, up the mountains. We had booked it in advance and the views were indeed quite stunning. Especially my father enjoyed the trip very much. It was something else.

From here we will leave in the direction of Zion Canyon. I will keep you updated, of course. I obviously also have other tales to tell: my last entry left us in Sedona so I owe you a bit of travel log. I promise to write it for you. After all, you can't just skip the Grand Canyon, can you? You can't. So I will be back. But now I need to sleep: we leave tomorrow at 7:30 – and I am not much of a morning person. :)

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