A long trip made me discover the proper West. Canyons, deserts, horses, and all that jazz – incidentally, very little jazz – were stunning for me and my travel companion, who had seen most of that already. Be sure that the American continent can surprise you very often. With a little over 5 days for the trip and a car, we planned a trip that would end where it started, a loop. We decided, all without a real plan or a schedule, to take different roads on our way East and on our trip back to the Bay Area. We wanted to go to Utah to see canyons and parks, to the Death Valley, maybe see a ghost town in the way, see the tricks of the light in Antelope Canyon (Arizona), and whatever else happened was to be taken with a smile. So we did, planning each step 8-to-12 hours in advance, abiding by the car’s overheating caprices, getting lost a few times without reception for the only crappy smartphone we carried.
don’t try it at home
Once we got back home, I tried to get a ballpark number for the hundreds of miles we drove (22-ish, apparently) using GoogleMaps and I noticed a curious coincidence. The route we drew on the map was similar to the mathematical symbol for infinity. From Oakland down to Bakersfield on the I-5; then North-East bound towards Death Valley, then South-East again through Vegas on the I-15, which then goes NE again. The tour around the canyons in Utah and Arizona makes it easy for a turn southwards. We ended in Flagstaff, where we met with highway 40, which runs E-W parallel to the Historical Route 66.
Back to California. After having passed through border control (!), the city of Barstow makes I-15 and I-40 meet and marks the intersection of the loop. The route back overlaps with the initial one up to Bakersfield and then turns into a fun drive through desert hills full of cows and lonely oil rigs. Only 3 hours later, the driver can finally relax and follow signs for Morro Bay, just outside San Luis Obispo. Foggy or sunny, the CA-1 is a pretty scenic route that runs N-S along the coast. The part between Cambria and Carmel has a green addition to the blue ocean thanks to the vast natural park where one should stop if fancying a trip to Big Sur. CA-1 climbs up the San Francisco peninsula, where we didn’t want to end up, especially due to the dark hour and the need for sleep. So, we switched at San Jose and went North to our beloved East Bay.
see what we did there?
Facebook pictures, small talk with friends, and funny intuitions made “a thing” of the fortuitous shape of the trip. Many friends suggested to brand the route as a landmark of any trip to the United States. I quote just one example:
“…just post a paper signs a couple times along the way that says things like ‘Welcome to the Infinity Loop’, ‘You’re 100 miles into the Infinity Loop’, ‘You’re leaving the Infinity Loop. Or are you?’ It’ll catch on!”
While it is hilarious that so many people, included the trippers, came up with a marketing idea for a trip, I would like to jot in this blog a few landmarks one should check out when planning or randomly embarking on The Infinity Loop. Yep, because that’s what a hipster with too much time on his hands would do if he had just devised a creative and original way to set a kool activity as a new fad. All of these conversation-starters at some point bottleneck, just like Friday traffic, be it due to ageing or to cultural barriers.
Meanwhile, as I transform into a hipster for a week, I’m going to re-read my blog (because I’m the center of the universe, duh!) while I hide from the sun.