This film interleaves several stories, then brings them together (we hope) neatly at the end. There’s the obvious ‘Alom’s road trip summer holiday’, but there’s also the story of that bottle you’ve glimpsed at the top of Pikes Peak, and there’s a little tickle of a story about a remarkable guy by the name of Oppenheimer.
No, the other one.
Day 4 – Saturday 17th August – Blanding to Seligman
On the face of it, this was another ‘hammer some miles in to reach the next major stopping point’ day, so of course we made it more complex for ourselves by doing some tourist stuff. And then it rained.
Boy, did it rain. It often rains on summer afternoons in Colorado, but now we were in Utah. In the desert. And it rained. Big hulking end-of-the-world drops smashed down, rattling the Jeep thing, and we watched thunderstorms plough across the landscape to either side of us.
Eventually we made it to Monument Valley, where we planned merely to do some tourist stuff. It transpired that Alom really hadn’t read any of the guidebooks before we left and hence had no idea what to expect. He certainly wasn’t expecting this:
That pale stripe at the bottom is a trail road, about which there are dire warnings. However, we were driving a huge Jeep thing, and our neighbours in the car park had just driven the route in what appeared (under the thick layer of dust) to be a regular Ford Mondeo. OK, so their car was leaking, but we were reasonably confident the liquid wasn’t oil or brake fluid, so… yeah, we drove in.
I can heartily recommend the guided tours if you ever visit – I did one a decade ago and it was terrific – but it’s astonishing scenery to explore at your own pace too.
I had high hopes of introducing Alom to the delights of the Navajo Taco later that afternoon, but tragically the Monument Valley cafe was stealth-shut (huge queue, but not actually serving anything), and we left the region before finding anywhere that served them. Given my recollection of the last one I had, however, that’s perhaps a good thing.
Monument Valley behind us, we drove on past Flagstaff to the charmingly bonkers Route 66 town of Seligman. It was late and dark by the time we arrived, and we picked one of the restaurants at random. We’d had a long, wet and dusty day on the road, and the entertainingly unhinged Westside Lilo’s did a great job of brightening us up. Things were already surreal before our chatty server Erica asked if we’d like any pudding. “I’m thinking pie,” I unwisely muttered, and Erica zipped off with a ‘leave it to me’ attitude:
Miles travelled: 415 (total 1346)
Footage shot: 00:45:03 / 6.4Gb (total 03:50:16 / 37.5Gb)