Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Westward Expansion Continued

Day 2: (Amarillo, TX to Flagstaff, AZ)

Happy as I was to leave Amarillo, happier still I was to see that the rain and fog had cleared away to reveal the bright blue sky. There's an uplifting feeling associated with coasting down the interstate in great weather. You feel invincible and that the horizon is wide open and drawing you into itself.
My first hour on the road I fielded phone calls from worried friends, people whom I'd had to cut short the night before on account of the bad weather. "Yes, I'm alive," I told them. "But still in Texas."
It wasn't long, however, before the brush started to change colors again. Hints of yellows and reds splattered the grayish-brown scape. Huge rocks began to poke out of the flattened earth. Before I knew it, it was "Welcome to New Mexico."
At first, the plains yawned out for miles in every direction. I could see faint rock formations in the distance. As I got closer, mountains rose up on all sides.
I stopped in Albuquerque, at a Flying J travel mart. That thing was packed to the gills with cars and RVs. From the looks of my fellow trekkers, I seemed to be one of the few travelers under 50 at this junction. There was one other guy around my age, in head-to-toe scrubby camo, who made it a point to try to flirt with me while I was contemplating what to stuff my face with. Hot.
The travel mart had two kinds of "to-go" foods: Pizza or "Chinese." I've learned as a general rule in America never to eat Chinese food made by someone who is not Chinese, so that left me with pizza. I wasn't really in the mood for pizza, but it was either that or dry travel snacks, of which I was so sick I would have eaten pretty much anything besides.
By the end of New Mexico, I was kind of getting sick of New Mexico. Luckily, the landscape again began to change. The rocks and earth became redder and redder. No wonder AZ is a red state, btw. Even the soil is red! (I am SO funny).
The rock formations of Arizona are gorgeous. I'm one of those people who automatically sees people in the shapes made by rocks. They placidly watched me as I whizzed by, their red faces beaming into the sunlight. It felt a little eerie, a little reassuring, all at once.
I decided that I would stop overnight in Flagstaff. I found a Holiday Inn Express, which had one room left open for the night, thankfully. This morning, when I headed down to breakfast, the room swarmed with people, mostly Germans, and one really loud and whiney baby.
I'm going to hit the fitness center this morning before heading back to the road, the last leg of my journey to the coast!

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