Our journey really started early one Saturday morning. We had already moved out of our house, secured our furniture and belongings in my mother-in-law’s garage, and dealt with all the associated paperwork. We loaded our car while it drizzled. The dog came willingly; the cat was probably saying F you. Luckily they are both fairly good travelers. The dog usually observes… everything! When she gets tired she lays her head on one of the front seats and observes. The cat just stays quiet. Whether this behavior is the result of complete terror or apathy is unknown, and frankly, it doesn’t matter.
Asa drove. We managed to avoid the pothole on the freeway in town that claimed my hub cap last week, but after that I don’t remember much until I woke up in Alabama thinking I must be going crazy because the clock only said 9:15 AM. Oh time changes. Asa and I fortified ourselves with a stop for Hardee’s breakfast, switched drivers, and soldiered on. We had a good laugh when we passed Chunky, Mississippi and had a good time trying to guess the equipment being hauled by big rigs. We crossed the Mississippi River in the late afternoon with the sky as blue as the river. At the day’s close we found ourselves 100 miles into Texas at a La Quinta and walking to a nearby mexican restaurant for dinner.
Day two started by scraping a thin layer of ice off the windows of the car and trying to figure out the most efficient way to put things back in the trunk. Our only goal for the day was to make it out of Texas; a formidable task when one starts the day at mile marker 556 and there’s still 200 miles on another highway to make it out of the state. Luckily, the speed limit was 80 mph. It’s not surprising, considering that there’s nothing there. We passed through Dallas and Fort Worth which were pretty much the end of civilization as we know it and the beginning of small run down towns with cars on poles advertising long defunct garages. Just outside El Paso and Ciudad Juarez we began to see Border Patrol everywhere. Going the opposite direction they stopped and searched every vehicle. Our day ended with a half hour of meowing from the cat (we didn’t blame her; being stuck in a car carrier for 12 + hours can’t be a fun experience) and a sign saying “Welcome to New Mexico”.
By day three we had no desire to get in the car again, let alone drive the entire day. Also, the weather threw us a curveball, or should I say some snow flurries and 35 mph winds. As luck and planning would have it, we managed to avoid traveling on Highway 40 through Flagstaff and Albuquerque, which received enough snow to close down parts of the highway. Asa managed to keep the car going in a straight line at a good clip, although passing some of those 18 wheelers was a bit hairy. We made it to Tuscon in time for lunch and continued on. We saw more cops on the road this day than we had seen in the last two, most of them in Arizona. Asa drove for most of the day in an effort to conquer some demons from his past. Two of his friends died in a car accident on Highway 10 between Pheonix and Indio a couple years ago. They will always be missed.
Day three ended at the only place (or what felt like the only place) in the Indio/Palm Desert/Palm Springs area that allows pets without charging an arm and a leg. We walked to get Italian food and then crashed in our hotel room watching “The Blind Side”.
Day four started unexpectedly early (4 AM early) with the cat knocking change off the table, jumping on and off the bed, and being generally annoying. We tried various ways of silencing her until we decided that it might just be a good idea to get up and get on the road before we went crazy. Unfortunately, no matter how early in the morning one tries to get through Los Angeles and it’s associated suburbs, one always gets stuck in traffic. We played a little freeway hopscotch with the help of Asa’s IPhone and the carpool lane and made it out of the chaos before 8 AM. We made it to our destination a bit earlier than expected; safe and sound, and very tired.