Fully recuperated by a much needed day of rest at the Needles Inn, I set off again following the historical Route 66 north-east from Needles into Arizona, crossing the Black Mountains over the Sitgraves Pass.
Route 66 clearly occupies a significant place in the US collective cultural imagination. Groups of stone-faced men, sometimes with an equally stone-faced female passenger behind them, pass on Harley Davidsons living out their odd dream of freedom. The road is lined with informal memorials – markers dedicated to the memory of these pseudo-rebels who feel their eternal resting place is somehow best represented by this strip of iconic tarmac.
The scenes that unfold along the highway allude to all the bravado and folly of the settlement of the US west. The fundamental unsustainability of American life tangibly evident in the crumbling cultural icons lining the road.
The landscape is phenomenally beautiful and, somehow, filled with melancholy.