Pan America 2011 - 2012
American writers like Kerouac and Miller influenced me a lot when I was in my Twenties. And I heard lots about the West Coast from American travellers, recommending great national parks and the Route 101 that is sort of famous thing to do for cyclists. So I decided to postpone other planned adventures and flew to Vancouver BC, equipped with my good old pushbike, a tent and a (warm!) sleeping bag.
After fantastic landscapes and forests down South to San Diego I teamed up with Kathrin, a great cycling mate. When we reached the Southern tip of Baja California, we decided to move on together, crossed Mexico into Guatemala and Belize. After living in a rented house on the Lake Atitlan we ventured out for snow capped mountains of South America, crossing the Andes from Santiago to Mendoza and moved up North again, to Machu Picchu. After 11 months and 11000 kilometres I arrived back in Germany, with Kathrin...
- Category: Pan America 2011 - 2012
A big reservation of the Navajo Native Americans is a few hours East from Flagstaff. As well, there is Monument Valley. The next destination is set. Vast high desert, after a big climb outside of Flagstaff. Visiting the Navajo Tribe Museum in Tuba City, I finally get in touch with a little part of Native American culture and history. What a great futuristic vision it seems that the Navajo did not know the concept of money nor land ownership. Religion and art were no distinguishable concepts, they were integral part of everydays life. Cradles with lots of lovely details were used to project the future of the newborn. The somewhat Asian looking staff answers a lot of freaky questions about Shamans, psychedilc plants and the likes. Driving through the desert to Monument Valley. Cycling the dusty gravel road, a 20+ kilometer round trip through the giant red rocks. Talks with some jewellery selling Navajo. Sunset turns the sky to a spectacular colorful caleidoscope. No reason to spent 15 Dollras for a campground without facilities I decide, and go on. Biting time in a Mc Donalds in Cayenta I meet Rene, a German traveller that recommmends me to visit the nearby Zion National Park, for being a beautiful as Yosemite. A venturing statement, I find, yet two or three of his photos plus his still valid entrance ticket (worth 25 Dollars) convince me to go there. I drive through the night to gain a few hours of daylight in the National Park, and as well spare me a few hours of uncomfortable and cold sleep squezzed into the small Nissan.
Dramatic landscape already on the way to Zion - straight road along hundrets of meters tall red and white layered bluffs for miles in the desert. Crazy canyons without famous names. Mobile homes scattered in the desert every now and then indicate sort of civilization out here. If I haven't been to Sedona or Grand Canyon or Monument Valley before, I would have no reason to go there after having seen this. Yet still, entering the Zion National Park from Zion-Mnt. Carmel Highway, watching the towering giant white sandstone rocks over the lush green pine and yellow leaved oak trees scattered on sand stone flats is beyond expectations. I leave the car at the visitor center and engage the bicycle to get to the Sinawava Temple at the end of the North Fort Virgin River canyon. Cycling provides just enough flexibility to take way to many photos of that autumn colored flat valley between the steep and hundrets of meters high towering rocks. Indeed, this is as incredible as Yosemite!
The river is way too cold to challenge a bare feet adventure into the famous Narrows. Wise man invented special gear for this expedition - wetsuits... Angels Landing is a great rocky pinnacle in the middle of the canyon, elevating almost 500 meters over the valleys ground. Up there, that's where angels land - no question. Definitely...
Weather forecast predicts snow for tonight and a major temperature drop. Rather then staying in a zero facility campground in the park, I rather hide in a motel a few miles away in Hurricane. The next day I drive up 30 kilometers to Lava Point at the end of Kolob Terrace, some 2400 meters above sea level. What a great viewpoint. Walking on snow...
On the way to Las Vegas I almost run out of gas and stop randomly at a gas station near the Interstate. Ancient drums are calling, a Powwow of the Moapa is taking place here. Dancing young and old Native Americans in the traditional clothes. Few spectators, this is real Native American culture! I talk to some of the people and learn that there are Powwows gatherings of Native American war veterans everywhere in the country. And that I could just camp here tonight, and join them. Sunset, and a stupid decision to go to Las Vegas because of a cheap hostel reservation. Both tires of the bicycle are flat, so I cruise the Las Vegas Boulevard by car, and later walk to Fremont Ave with its tourist attractions. Steppenwolf in Sin City. I leave on the next day. Tired, exhausted from enormous visual input in the past week. It has been incredible! Back in LA Barry provides a shelter one more time, and the car rental company gives me an unexpected 100 Dollar discount. Which I invest right away in a new fork for the bicycle.