Jade and I each choose 100 of our favorite songs and burn them across eight CDs. They are the soundtrack of our three week journey. Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Queen, Nirvana. Weezer’s “Across the Sea” opens it up with Track 01, CD 01 as we leave our house at 5:45. The photo was actually taken one minute late.
We stop for Starbucks before we head out of town; something to awaken the senses for the long journey in front of us. We’d like to fly past Vegas before we bed down for the night. We let the dogs out to use the bathroom and two little butt bullets slip out of Clementine. Kaidance sprays liquid diarrhea all over the alley behind the connoisseur of coffee houses. It is so incredibly messy and sloppy that I don’t even bother picking it up. Instead I just kick dirt over it and run away.
Are the first ten minutes of this trip an omen of things to come?
We leave LA just as the sun is setting. Goodbye you stinking city! Avua (that’s French for goodbye) pollution! Seyonara traffic! Nothing can stop us now! Nothing! NOOOTHING!!!
We are stopped just over the California / Arizona border by the highway patrol. He tells us I’m driving 87 in a 75. He looks at me. He looks at my shaved head. He asks me if I’m in the military. I think about saying yes and trying to play the sympathy card. Just as I’m about to speak he takes a second glance at my “beard” and my girlish physique and says, “Nah, you’re not in the military”. My wife laughs at me. He asks to see my ID. It is South Dakota issued. He asks when I moved to LA and I tell him “oh, just recently” and he says, “when?” and I say, “uh………2005?” and he tells me I need to update it. He lets me off with a warning.
He too had a shaved head and I like to think that we shared a moment of bonding through the curse that is Male Pattern Baldness. Men who suffer from this debilitating disease think of it like that, in all capital letters. They also think of it as a disease. A sickness.
We drive on.
We stop for the night in Kingsman, Arizona at a TA truck stop. We pull our Pontiac Vibe up next to the giant semis and I feel like a fifth grader showering with a bunch of old men at the YMCA; totally inadequate.
Before we go to sleep we let the dogs run around and go to the bathroom. Kaidance is still sick. She jumps back in the car after producing The Brown Waterfall (complete with foam) and when I crawl in I find her sitting on my pillow. She is staring at me and seems defiant about something. I shut my eyes and control my anger. I tell her to move. I only say it once and she does but it’s too late. The deed is done. As she vacates my head space, a little brown starfish is revealed, stained, tattooed, imprinted on my pillow. The celestial Turd Star from the Hershey Squirt Galaxy. My pillow is dog toilet paper.
I frown and am upset but try hard not to laugh. Jade says it’s okay. She picks up the pillow and flips it over. She says, “Look! Good as new!”. Not quite. The pillow (the whole thing, not just the casing) needs to be thrown away. It needs to be burnt. It needs to be destroyed.
That night we share a pillow.
We go to sleep listening to the diesels hum quietly.
In the morning the car smells like dog farts and bad breath. We brush our teeth in the truck stop bathroom. We feed the dogs in the parking lot. We start driving at six am. Clementine doesn’t really do mornings.
On the second day of our trip we arrive at Tuba City, an Indian Reservation in Arizona.
They sell sheep.
Tuba City was a complete bust. The food was gross. My grilled cheese was stale and took forty-five minutes to make. The fries tasted like they’d been cooked in boiling water. The ceiling at the restaurant was caving in. The cook had no teeth and we were accosted by a drunk man begging for money.
At the gas station I bought a bottle of milk that was a month old. When asked if I could replace it I found that all the milk in the gas station was a month old. We left Tuba City.
We drive through Arizona.
It is dry and hot and there is lots of road construction.
We don’t take pictures of the road construction.
We arrive at Four Corners. This is where New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah all meet. For the small price of three dollars you can enter the unofficial park and stand at the unofficial spot where the four corners of the states unofficially meet.
We decide to take a picture of ourselves at the OFFICIAL New Mexico sign instead.
We drive down the road.
We take pictures at the OFFICIAL Colorado sign.
We drive on through Colorado and into The Rocky Mountains. The roads begin to narrow and begin to wind and eventually a storm sets in. We pull over in a ghost town and go to sleep while rain beats on the top of our car.
We’ve both seen horror movies that begin this way…
In the morning we are still alive. Jade gets up early and drives while I sleep. She takes photos while she drives while I sleep. We are still alive after Jade takes photos while driving.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 OF……..4?