Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cross Country - A road trip, Day one

It's about time I got back to updating my blog. Apparently, four months flew by since my last update.

I promised a road trip story, so here it is:


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In late July, I drove my wifes car, a 1990 Toyota Landcruiser, across Hwy 40 to Maryland. I had to tow a trailer, it was a slow trip. I'd like to tell you that I was abducted by aliens, or witnessed strange events that should be found on the pages of fantastic-minded magazines, but sadly, it didn't happen.  So forgive me if I make a few things up. I really wanted to see aliens.

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I left on July 21. I don't name cars, but this one is Clyde - named after the blue ghost from Pac Man. Clyde had a lot of work done - Air conditioning, oil, tune up, brakes, steering knuckles, tow bar installed. I had a trailer loaded and ready the night before. Bags were packed, and I was on the Road at 4:00 am.
MD Road Trip Day 1

I find a certain comfort in the early morning drive. There is no commuter traffic, the truck drivers are on the road and seem happy to be making time. The sun makes those long shadows and the road warms up slowly.

My wife is a veterinarian, I totally misread this sign when I drove by it.

MD Road Trip Day 1


Highway 5 through California is long, and boring, and not much can be said about the drive other than you find a certain comeraderie with road companions that you recognize each time they pass you or you pass them. At 11:15, I reached Tehachapi pass on the way to Barstow.

Tehachapi sits at about 4000ft and is filled with wind power plants. The change of the high pressure system in the valley and the low pressure up in the Mojave dessert creates a great deal of wind, and somebody had the good sense to start using it years ago.

Once you pass through the last rolling hill that is part of the high sierra, you pass the airport graveyard. This is where jets sit to be dismantled, recycled, and used in films.

MD Road Trip Day 1

It's more high plains, it's hot, and Barstow is in front of me. I take the side road to put me through Main st. on officially on Route 66.

MD Road Trip Day 1

The movie "Cars" would have you believe that route 66 is adorned with small quaint towns filled with happy eccentrics and small towns just waiting to be discovered. As I found on this trip, that is both a lovely notion, and partially true, but predominantly a fantasy. Barstow has numerous old hotels. All of the Vacancy neon lights are on. I am confident that the "no" button hasn't been pressed in years. The only stores I saw open through mid town were alcohol/paycheck advance stores. The Uhaul place was busy.

I stop for lunch at the local yelp reviewed tourist stop and get back on the road.

This guy passes me for the first time.
MD Road Trip Day 1

So does this guy.
MD Road Trip Day 1

I think my wifes car has seen more offroad time.

There is not much to do or see out there, you have to find your meditation on the road and sky and count down miles with minutes. Road signs become welcome markers.
MD Road Trip Day 1


It's now 3:20 and I've reached the Colorado River.

MD Road Trip Day 1

And the Arizona border.

MD Road Trip Day 1

MD Road Trip Day 1
One day I'll come down here for the other tourist destination, but today, I'm settling for Flagstaff.

I start to go higher into the Arizon plains and the sky starts to change colors. Lightning is occasionally making the mountains light up, and some rain and wind make my driving a little more challenging.

There's this house on the side of the road in Yucca, AZ. Thats the house. The Ball. No Seriously, that's it.
MD Road Trip Day 1

More pretty clouds.

MD Road Trip Day 1

I roll into Flagstaff around 7:30. The hotels are booked up, and just before I try to head down to Sedona, I try one last time at the Sheraton. They tell me that they just installed an ice cooler with a loud compressor on the fourth floor, and as such, the room next to it can't be released. I ask for the key to find out for myself. Sure enough, it's a loud low bass hum, but about 2 minutes, it's white noise. I come back to the front desk and ask how much for the rooms. Since they were at capacity, they said they are normally $200 a night. But this room is available for $60. Sold.

Just before I have something to eat, I step outside and look at the Velocette Riders of North America who have come here for their annual ride.

MD Road Trip Day 1

These beauties are all around the hotel, I'll take a closer look tomorrow. Today I completed 15 hours of driving and 765 miles. I need some sleep.

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