Houston, we have landed...

The drive from Rolla Missouri was pretty boring. Once I hit Oklahoma, I put the cruise control on at about 135km/hr and blasted along the straight west. The term "big sky country" kept coming to mind and photos just don't do justice to the scenery. Texas was about as flat and you could go a hundred miles between seeing anything other than a couple of dozen other cars sharing the road. I stopped at Grants, New Mexico after driving just a little over 1600kms (yeah, 1000 miles) and through a huge snow-storm that blew in just before I hit Albequerque. An endless hour of carefully working my way across slimy road in a near white-out took it's toll and it wasn't a conscious decision so much as my body just decided to take the exit and that was that. As crossroads go, it wasn't much, but the room was cheap, included internet and was beside a Denny's. It turned out to be a nice, large room but the internet didn't work and I was too zonked to do anything about it. Finding the entrance to the Denny's parking lot next morning turned out to be a challenge too, but I got my hot breakfast despite the obstacles and was on the road by 7am local time. The sides of the road were dusted with snow and were beautiful in the pre-dawn light. I decided to visit the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest in Arizona since I had made excellent time that morning. I shot dozens of photos, which completely failed to do it justice. The best description I can come up with is that it was an unearthly mixture of vivid pinks, blacks, blues and grays painted on a jumble of hills, mountains and valleys. I think it needs to be seen in person to appreciate it's beauty and grandeur. This is a photo of the Agate Bridge, a petrified tree that arches across a small gap carved out by water. The true effect only hits home when you get close enough to see that it's actually a tree trunk and not just more of the surrounding rock. A while after the Petrified Forest, I passed through Flagstaff, and over the continental divide at an altitude of some 7000 feet at which point I knew it was all downhill from there. And there were some spectacular downhills too. I just stuck it in 6th gear, took my foot off the gas and let it roll. Shortly after crossing the Colorado river, I entered California. The next part of the drive was almost hypnotic as I swept across the Mojave desert. Eventually the road swooped down into the LA basin (I think it was a good vertical mile of drop). After a couple of hours of LA rush-hour that actually moved pretty well, I entered Ventura and swooshed down another mile and a half vertical drop. After that it wasn't far to Carpinteria and the oldish motel I'm currently staying at. I spent the day trying to get in touch with realtors to little avail. Eventually I gave up and headed into Santa Barbara where I stumbled upon a car wash and finally the somewhat tatty Mexican internet cafe where I'm writing this update. I start work tomorrow and hope to find a place some time this week. It's been quite an adventure so far. I think I'm going to call it quits and head over to this micro-brewery that's been recommended to me a few times. Then head home, find some "work appropriate" cloths for tomorrow and call it a night.