Le Grand Détour

Arizona and Grand Canyon

3 August 2017

The last time I experienced rain was in Yellowstone, or rather just before I entered Yellowstone National Park. Through all of July, I somehow managed to avoid rain. Something which unfortunately cannot be said for my countrymen back home, where they have been experiencing a summer free July. [1]


A small gathering of the local Citroënists and me in Phoenix.

I did not expect the time when I saw rain again would be in Arizona, however. But yet, as I drove Flagstaff on my way to Grand Canyon National Park, I was hit by hard rain. So much rain, in fact, that traffic completely stopped on the motorway. However, in this area, rain is not a joking matter, as the monsoon season can cause flash floods, that had killed ten people in the week before I arrived.


The proud owners stand by their respective vehicles.

Indeed, before I made my way to Flagstaff, I arrived in Phoenix, where I met some of the local Citroënists. Incredible to think that most US states have their own Citroën clubs. However, most of them have fewer members than the Danish BX club. [2] Then again, there are probably fewer Citroëns in total in North America, than there are Citroën BXs in Europe.


Some parts Grand Canyon, some parts sky, some parts vegetation, all photograph.

After Flagstaff, a city which name I find amusingly banal, I made my way to Grand Canyon National Park, where it was not raining as much. Now, Americans are at an disadvantage, because their country is so new, and their language has not evolved yet, so that words have changed form and meaning.


This place is old, so some forest have moved in, apparently not caring about the big canyon nearby.

This is why a lot of names in North America have so obvious names, like Grand Canyon. Oh, it is a canyon and it is big, but it is more than big, it is grand. And this is not the only location like this on the continent, there are numerous geographical location whose names are purely a description of what you can see.

However, before we Europeans start laughing at North Americans' lack of creativity, we must realise that most geographical locations and towns in Europe are also named after something entirely obvious. Our advantage is that our languages have evolved over the centuries, that today we do not recognise these names for their original meaning, and these words only appear in these names. But we too did exactly that.

Perhaps some 500 years from now, people will take a name like 'Flagstaff' at face value, not understanding that at some point, people used to hoist flags in staffs.


Indeed, everywhere you look, the sides of the canyon was covered in vegetation.

But Grand Canyon is apt. They say it is one of those sights that does not disappoint, and I must confess that whoever I am quoting right now is correct. It is just unfortunate that so many other people these days have found a similar interest in also not being disappointed.


[1]In Denmark, a summer day is a day where the temperature reaches above 25° in a majority of the country (only land counted). That did not occur this July.
[2]Great club, by the way. Giving a shout out to fun people and a great car.