I am part dog. That is to say, any road trip is a good road trip… provided it doesn’t end at the vet, or in a human case, the dentist.
I was told by numerous people that the drive from Phoenix to Chicago wouldn’t be very exciting. Having now done it, I disagree. Then again, I was amused by Nebraska. I had never done a three day drive across the country before. Everything was exciting and new! Perhaps as I continue to tour the Midwest, the site of corn will begin to incite a restless rage deep within my soul. This first time though, I found it idyllic.
First stop was for a good burger at Buster’s in Flagstaff (keeping it local!). I also briefly visited Bookmans (local again!) to browse their audiobook selection, as I realized I hadn’t brought anything of the sort with me and was, after all, going to be driving through Nebraska. The selection was slim. I settled on what I thought would be an interesting account about the history of China. I got back in the car and followed the signs to Albuquerque.
Second stop was Holbrook, AZ. It wasn’t part of the plan, but I saw “Holbrook – 20 miles,” and I realized I needed closure. I had to visit that town. I also needed gas, but that’s beside the point. You see, I was forced to write a 5 page report on Holbrook, AZ in fourth grade. I remember the process involved some tears, possibly sweat and blood (this was before the internet). Well. Having stopped at Holbrook, I now see the paper couldn’t possibly have been any longer. In fact, I’m impressed with my 10 year old self for having written as much as I did. I think it mostly ended up being about cows. I got some gas and left.
When I crossed the border into New Mexico, it was close to sunset. I looked to my left and saw the rock walls washed in purple and pink. A freight train came into view. Arlo Guthrie was suddenly playing on the ipod. Aaaand life was a movie.
Can we also take a moment to discuss New Mexico’s adorable wind warning signs? “Gusty winds may exist.” Is that a challenge to my perception of reality, New Mexico? Plenty of time to ponder the theory of relativity when you’re driving cross country.
I pulled into Albuquerque around 8pm. The sprawl was palpable. Albuquerque has a thirst, a magnetic, pulsating energy about it. Not like New York. That’s more hurried and manic. This was a deep, centered kind of intensity. Even recalling it causes my heart to kind of trip over itself. I don’t know if I could live there, but now I definitely understand why New Mexico is called The Land of Enchantment. I arrived at my destination for the evening, was warmly welcomed by dogs and family, and passed out soon after.