We drove 1,400 miles in two days, in the beginning.  We loved Albuquerque.  We got to the Grand Canyon too late to get into their campground (and it was expensive, anyway) so we camped in Kaibab National forest and drove in for the sunrise in the morning.  it was lovely, and hiking around a bit later in the afternoon was as lovely.  you should have seen the ledge we found (I’m sure it’s “found” every day…).  this particular ledge jutted out from a piece of the North Rim not too far from the lodge, over the canyon floor 6,000 feet below.  the canyons just stretch out in an L-shape away on the left, their arms and tops almost like rows of giant sphinxes, red, rose, tan, so much much air turning the bases and furthest canyons bluish and violet.  the wind up there is so gentle, but going all the time, hitting your ears so gentle, and the swallows would swing by and dip down like the smallest dolphins in the largest sea.  oh, it was, beautiful.

on the other side of things, we thought we were going to spend the night in Las Vegas because “hotels there are so cheap,” but guys, we sped out of there like bats out of hell, which is what it felt like.  Las Vegas.  I was really kind of looking forward to taking lots of pictures of that place, but driving through, I didn’t take one.  we got quiet and just started to feel ill…and it just didn’t end.  so, we felt lucky to have gotten out of there alive.  enough of that.  instead of pictures of casinos and weirdos I now have pictures of a town called Beatty, Nevada.  that’s where we are now.

Beatty is the last town before Death Valley, which we’ll drive through tomorrow.  (they say to take four gallons of water with you before setting out.  woo.)  we had pizza and beer at this wooden saloon across from our hotel, and afterward KG and I walked down the main street for some more pictures.  this is the cutest little town you’ve ever seen, with an antique store, two hotels, two bars, and 800 people.  the sun was getting cooler and low, making the hot chalky hills above the town seem a bit friendlier and all the white surfaces (everywhere) a little less painful to look at… oh, the light was “filtering” down so homey on all the old signs and painted buildings.  we were walking past the vacant lot with a huge carnivalesque neon sign saying “Free Parking” (like Monopoly) when we got near a group of middle school kids (who looked like highschoolers) and stopped to talk.  they thought we were the coolest things ever, and we thought they were.  we took pictures.  we thought we’d like to write down the whole thing in short story form, but I have to leave that for another day.  

I’m taking so many pictures — more than I thought I would.  and am missing my porchies a lot, really, for real.  I love you.  keep praying for us!