We kept driving southwest, my cat Lucy and dog Milo and I.
We ignored the large interstate highways when possible and stayed on smaller roads. As we grew closer to our destination I watched the compass waver from “SW” to “S” to “W,” but most of the time it stayed pinned firmly on “SW.” We were heading southwest across the country to a place I had never seen.
My truck is small with no backseat, so at first Lucy and Milo and I all rode together in the front cab. Lucy did not think it was reasonable that she had to remain in her cramped carrier for a 20-plus hour ride with no view and she let me know this. I let her out of the carrier and then Milo let me know that he did not think it was reasonable that he should have to share the front seat with a cat. Instead of stretching out, he sat glumly in the passenger seat with his head resting on the window sill, occasionally casting unhappy glances at his seatmate.
Eventually, I let Lucy ride in the back of the truck and this worked out best for all concerned. Lucy doesn’t like air conditioning and under the topper the back of the truck was nice and warm. I had packed my clothes in trash bags and she found a nest amidst the bags piled under my desk. I could see her peering out from under my desk, looking peacefully out the window at the passing landscape.
At night I would stop at a campground and set up my tent. The night air was cool. In Colorado there was a storm in the night. I watched the lightening flash and heard the rain beat on my little tent, but in the morning the desert air had dried it completely.
We drove by stockyards and we drove by prisons. I couldn’t help but notice how similar the two looked from a distance. We drove by a wind farm with not dozens but hundreds of windmills slowly spinning. Milo sat up and took notice as we passed beneath the giant blades.
Driving further west, the two lane road we were on got smaller. “No services 75 miles,” the sign read. “No services 78 miles,” said the next sign. There was a “Point of Interest” but it didn’t look very interesting so we kept driving. The grass turned to sagebrush and the road was lined with sunflowers, daring each other to creep past the white fog line. The radio stations decreased till there were only three on the FM dial and one was a mariachi station.
Finally, the hills began to appear. The earth turned red and in the middle of a field I saw my first adobe house. It was small and abandoned with faded wooden shutters. “Adobe!” I shouted to my startled dog and turned on the radio to loud mariachi music in celebration.
As I crossed into New Mexico, clouds appeared overhead in the late afternoon. The sun was shining brightly when it began to rain. Then it poured. As I climbed up into the mountains the rain beat on my windshield. I felt welcome; I was welcomed by this rare rain in the desert under the shining sun. I crested the mountain top and we began gliding down into the valley. I watched the pink sunset reflect against pink adobe buildings as we glided down, down into the broad valley to a place I had never seen before.
Till next time,