Road scene
Somewhere in northern Arizona.

I like road trips in the U.S.   It’s fun to see new places, visit old friends and learn about life in different parts of the country.  Earlier this month my husband and I traveled to Tucson to visit our friends Judy and Clint and then continued north to the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and the slot canyons near Page, Arizona.

Multi-colored shot
Sunset at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon was not on my list of places-to-see-before-I-can’t.  I have seen so many pictures of it, I felt like I’d already been there.  Well, let me tell you:  it is more than Grand.  It’s amazing–immense, multi-colored, ever-changing.  I am so glad I got to see it in person.  A slot canyon is pretty much what it sounds like:  a narrow slot in sandstone formations, big enough to walk through and open at the top so the sun filters through.  Like the Grand Canyon, slot canyons have to be seen to be fully appreciated. 

We spent a couple of nights in Page, Arizona a town founded to house workers and their families during construction of the Glen Canyon Dam.  The dam across the Colorado River created Lake Powell, a reservoir, and in the process destroyed one of the most beautiful canyons in the U.S.  Before the trip, we reserved a room at the  Lake View Best Western.  Upon our arrival, we discovered that there was a lake view–if you happened to bring a very powerful telescope.  Worse, the Lake View Best Western was right across the street from the Best Western Plus.  When I asked what the difference was, the desk clerk replied, “The other one’s fancier.”  

I like Best Western hotels. We often stay at them on road trips because they are clean, comfortable and have excellent staffs.  All of this held true for the Not-Much-of-a-Lake View Best Western. But every time we drove past the Best Western Plus, I wondered what fanciness we were missing.  It reminded me of the scene from Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories, in which Woody looks through the window of his dark, dingy train full of unhappy, depressed-looking people into a car on the adjoining track where there is a brightly lit party in progress, complete with beautiful women in cocktail dresses, laughing and clinking champagne glasses with handsome men.  I have remembered that scene for 40 years because it perfectly depicted how I have felt at times.  Haven’t we all?  But then there were the stunning canyons, the birds of prey and endless vistas.  A good road trip is the perfect reminder of the fanciness available to all of us.

Photos by moi.



About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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