Leaving Amarillo this morning, I had the cruise control set on about 87 MPH. I figured it was 6:30 am and no one was on the road. Sure it was a 70 MPH limit, but it's the southwest, people need to get somewhere that day, you know? I wanted to be on the road for as little time as possible. I'd been fine speeding by about 15 MPH thus far, so what's to stop me now? Why, the Vega City Policeman, that's who. To avoid this sort of thing, I would generally alternate my excessive speeds with less excessive speeds when I saw other cars either coming up behind me or oncoming. I got tired of having to turn the cruise control on and off and what could happen now in Texas, at 7 in the morning as the sun was rising? The officer was actually on the regular roadway which ran parallel to the interstate and he was heading in the opposite direction as me. As soon as I saw the blue and red lights flash on I began to slow down and pull over as he made his U-turn onto the interstate and came up behind me. He asked for all the things they ask for and had me come over to his truck and wanted me to have a seat, and as I was a little flustered, I started to open the driver door, but he said that's where he likes to sit, so I went around the other side so he could finish calling my info in and write out the ticket, which only had me doing 85. He said I could appear on court to dispute it on my way back through if I wished. Like I would even want to go to Texas again even if I hadn't been pulled over. I think Vega has a population of about ten anyway.
Then I was on my way, keeping at the speed limit. I felt like I was crawling. As there was no fine listed on the ticket, I would have to call up later on to find out how much I owed, fearing something like $400.00.
The rest of the morning was rather uneventful. Turns out I had only been about an hour from New Mexico. If only I could have made it to the border before that rotten cop got me on that empty stretch of highway.
New Mexico gets really pretty near Albuquerque. The rocks and what not are really nice shades of brown and what not. A lot of the overpasses are painted or decorated in a southwestern motif. It's all rather nice to look at. I'll get pictures next time out. Maybe I'll see Bugs when he makes his wrong turn there.
Once in Arizona, I stopped at the Tourist Welcoming Center and grabbed a million brochures on things to do, as this would be the place I was going to stay the longest. Near the bathrooms, there are signs that warn to stay within the rest area as there are poisonous snakes and insects about. There were silhouettes of snakes and scorpions on the sings. Do I need to write someone and tell them that a scorpion is an arachnid? I was desperately hoping to see some poisonous creatures. That sign got me really excited.
I had planned on eating at this place called the Pancake House (no, not the International House of Pancakes). It was almost noon, but I was really tired and wanted to eat something and maybe take a nap. Being sick and watching the road all day will do that to you. I figured I'd get some pancakes. What could be a better breakfast? Well, those bastards stopped breakfast at 11. What kind of bullshit is that? You cannot call your restaurant Pancake House if you do not service Pancakes during all hours of operation. As Johnny Cash sings, Pancake House (really San Quentin) "may you rot in hell." So I went over to the Indian Trading Post and got some crappy cookies and other snack bars to tide me over. Maybe I would eat in Flagstaff in a couple of hours. No tax on the snacks, must be on the reservation.
I drove past the Meteor Crater, which I should like to visit. It's only 40 miles or so from Flagstaff. I drove through Flagstaff to get some gas, thinking I would remember places I had been 7 years earlier. Nope, nothing looks familiar. Is it more built up, probably. But I think I just don't remember it too well. Two more hours to Peoria.
Guess what. It's really, really hot in Phoenix even at night. I'm in Peoria now. It's like its own little city suburb of Phoenix itself. I decided to head there first to see Erica, as I have not seen her in six years. I was pretty excited, because we've kept in touch all these years, with all the goings on in both our lives. Tomorrow morning, I'll drive on down to Sierra Vista, 3 hours from here, to meet Tyrel and stay there for the weekend.
Erica looks a lot different then when I knew her, but also different from what I expected based on the last picture I saw of her, after her second daughter was born. But it's good to see her. I'm staying at her sister's townhouse, which is very crowded, with her, her sister, her brother-in-law and their two kids Collin and Matthew and now Me.
Favorite CDs on this trip:
Johnny Cash: Live at San Quentin, The Complete Album
Dave Matthews Band: Live at Red Rocks
Reservior Dogs Soundtrack
Kill Bill Volume 1 + 2 Soundtrack
Pulp Fiction Soundtrack
Dave Matthews Band: Live at Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado
What is this a picture of? I was trying to capture lightning during those storms in MO. And did I mention how hard it can be to take pictures while driving 80 MPH?
I'm entering what must be the Rockies in New Mexico, driving on I-40 still, which I will take into Flagstaff. People in NM like to build houses on some crazy precipices there.
Looks like there's not much to look at in some places, but to the left, huge plateaus began to emerge from the Earth's crust.
Here I am traveling on I-17 down to Phoenix, I believe.
You can see in the distance, near the highway sign, a dinosaur, I believe a VELOCIRAPTOR, making it's way towards unsuspecting northern Arizona travelers.