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Thursday, August 11, 2005

LET Day 1: Los Angeles to New Mexico

We were in the car by 8 AM and out of Los Angeles by 9 -- at least, I think we were, as we were in Stef's mom's SUV and the car clock was set on New Mexico time.

To clarify what's happening -- my roommate is moving to New York. I am riding shotgun as we lug her things across the US, then I am making my way to Chicago before the 25th, in order to make my flight from Midway to LAX. We're calling it the Life Experience Tour because it's the thing I've always wanted to do, and hopefully I'll gain much wisdom and insight into the human condition as a result.

All clear? Great.

The drive from LA to Las Cruses isn't a particularly eventful one -- lots of flat land, big sky, a slate grey sunset. There was lightning in New Mexico and rain in Arizona, a sleeting deluge that dried up in minutes.

I worked on my crosswords, began knitting Scarf The First, read some of Nickel and Dimed. A delightful vacation read.

We did a pit stop in Tempe, got some Sonic and ate it at pal Nicky's house, on placemats, in air conditioning. It's not too hot yet.

And then we stopped at the Thing, a big roadside attraction on the 10, a massive gift shop and Dairy Queen built around the promise of The Thing, something You Won't Belive! I'm told is a mummified baby but have never seen with my own eyes to confirm. I did walk through the Soothing Gardens, a narrow corridor wrapping around the Dairy Queen, lined with tacky garden fountains oozing mist and cool air. There was a really awesome one with two bald eagles attacking each other. Very soothing.

They had butcher paper up in the bathrooms, so you could write messages on the wall without defacing the paint job. "I have seen the Thing and it is AWESOME," said one. "First Hawaii, then California, now beautiful Arizona!" said another.

We got in late to Stef's parents house, slept in. Today, we pick up the car that we'll be driving to New York. It's a standard transmission SUV. Neither Stef or myself know how to drive standard.

Life experience, man. I keep saying.

Tomorrow, we're off to Dallas -- and that's when it feels like this trip really begins, as we'll officially be going further than I've been previously. I mean, I've been to Texas, been to Ohio, been to New York. But not for a long time, and not by car.

We're gonna see the nation. Exciting times.

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