In these lifeless but reassuring deserted landscapes, crossed by this long stretch of asphalt, you could flee the real world and enter into a magical state.
“Come on, it’s late!”: Vicki used to wake me up every morning before the sun comes up. If she overslept, I was calling her. We shared the ritual of rising early and enjoy, in silence, with our eyes still asleep, the beauty of dawns. We hold still for the sunrise, absorbing the chilly early-morning air and imprinting those colors in our minds.
On one of these mornings, when I crawled out of my motorhome the whole of Monument Valley was spread out before me, silent and majestic in the purple half-light. The raw rock giants were already there, waiting for the first shafts of golden sunlight to begin creeping down them.
We didn’t take into account the prohibition of entering the valley with the motorhome. We wanted to drive across those acres and acres of buttes, spires and rock arches stretching along the Arizona border. At the risk of not being able to drive through the long climbs and downhills.
We weren’t really concerned about it until we realised when we got half-way and we could not continue beyond. Our motorhome was about to turn over. We were forced to come back to the route.
Everytime we wanted to set off the Route 66, somehow the Mother Road was calling us back. One day we woke up and we decided to head to Denver, Colorado. In the earliest hours of the day the asphalt was already so hot, we got our summer clothes on and we set off to our destination. We couldn’t believe that in less than half an hour it started snowing like crazy: a degree per second, we found ourselves back in the depth of winter. The highway started to freeze. Edu was driving and he couldn’t stop complaining about not being able to control the car anymore. Strong winds began to blow, we were not prepared at all for such extreme conditions.
Surreal rolling dunes and sandy expenses reside alongside mountains and volcanic craters. Vast and dry and hot, Death Valley stretches for acres and acres of desert. Far enough to make your mind forget time. It’s a land of extremes and superlatives. Death Valley’s sand dunes, its craters, its rugged textures and its flood-carved canyons tell us a story of amazingly complex geologic history. The harshness of the landscape and its difficult and undeniable beauty makes walking among these rocks a striking and inspiring inner experience. I actually can’t think of a better place for appreciating life anew. Life feels different in this desert.
We ate up miles and miles, we crossed nations. Now that we are back, our car is still at the center of the road. It doesn’t move. All around, as we peer out of the window, the huge emptiness fills with harsh sandy landscapes, astonishing canyons, flourishing green forests, red mountains, peaceful lakes.
Drawing. Ángela Palacios
Photography. Anne Roig
Words. Vincenzo Angileri