Today we left Las Vegas, which comes as a relief. I’ve found that I cannot keep up with the lifestyle of Vegas, it’s too expensive, elaborate, and rushed. I miss my steady pace of life, and the space to allow my thoughts to flourish. It’s safe to say Las Vegas has left my mind boggled.
The open road here is unlike any other driving experience I’ve had. The scenery extends into long, straight open roads, with only the odd occasional small town approaching, then fading into view. It’s been exhilarating to escape the city and be surrounded by fresh air and open spaces again, just like home. At one point, Fran remarked how it had been seven miles since he had last turned the steering wheel, something which seems to be the norm whilst driving here. The drive allowed me to ponder many thoughts about America, such as how without cars, travelling across the USA would be incredibly difficult. This may be why for many, the car and the highway have become a way of life, as for some, it’s the only connection they have to shops, other people, and amenities.
(The view from the car as we drive from Las Vegas towards Kanab, showing empty land as far as the eye can see.)
On the drive we passed by a small Mormon community, Colorado City. All the women were dressed similarly, with the same hair style, whilst the mend were also plainly dressed. I noticed the houses were fairly large, some with noticeable extensions. Perhaps this was accommodate larger families with many children, and maybe even multiple wives. I got the sense that I definitely didn’t belong here whilst we were driving through, I was in a territory I definitely didn’t feel comfortable being in.
Our first taste of history comes from a visit to Pipe Spring National Monument. This is an area of land on the reservation of the Kaibab Pauite, where water has made it possible to survive in the dry desert. We are told how Mormons moved into the area, building a fort, and how hospitable they are, however I cannot shake the thought out of my head that they stole the land. It’s all very well that they were hospitable, but the land wasn’t theirs in the first place, and I’m surprised as to how relaxed the attitudes towards this idea are. If this was me, I’d be pretty annoyed, even to this day, about my land being inhabited by others against my will. There has been obvious conflict over the land use and ownership between the Mormons and the Kaibab Paiutes, but is this an issue still ongoing today? There doesn’t seem to be much tension about this issue during our visit, perhaps suggesting that it is a common feeling that this is how it is now, and that the only way to move past it is to get over it.
(An old wagon at Pipe Spring, showing how the Mormons used to travel around the land.)
(Inside Windsor Castle at Pipe Spring, showing how modern the Mormon building was, it even had a telegraph wire installed.)