From a fligh-path huddling hotel by L.A. Airport to the rain-washed red rocks of Sonoma we drove out of California, into Nevada and eventually through Arizona experiencing the many moods of south-western USA’s desert roads. After the seemingly endless craziness and smog of L.A.’s freeways we broke through to barren, flat, treeless plains that wouldn’t look out of place along the Nullarbor Plain. Beyond Las Vegas things improved. Rolling hills, more vegetation, ranches and even forests of evergreen trees as the Grand Canyon approached. Finally, snow capped peaks, twisting mountain passes, autumn colour and spectacular red crags… not much like the desert at all, especially as the heavens opened and drenched the spectacular scenery made iconic in dozens of Hollywood western movies.
And along the route were diners straight out of the 50s, Native American trading posts, clusters of signs towering above the dusty scenery and ever-more-remote settlements… not exactly the wild west, but the sight of a weary cow-poke hitching up to outside a saloon would not have been as unlikely as you might think.