The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon takes you through a moonscape of orange sand, cliffs of grey rock, and towering saguaro cacti.
Saguaro (pronounced sa-wah-row) will be familiar to all of us from road-runner cartoons, but these protected plants only live in a limited area, the Sonoran desert. Each cactus only begins to grow arms at 75 years of age, and won't reach full height until at least 150.
We stopped for lunch at Sedona, the "new-age" centre of Arizona. It's one of those towns that has somehow managed to land firmly on the tourist trail, for no particular reason, and now it's filled with tacky gift shops, overpriced restaurants, and not much else. In other words, a bit of a dump.
The scenery nearby is beautiful, however.
The photo above is of Bell Rock, site of the failed 1987 Harmonic Convergence (essentially a bunch of gullible visitors who paid to sit on the rock in the hope it would launch itself into space). Now less visited by alien well-wishers as it is by giggling tour groups