Notes from a 13-hour, 856.89-mile trip across our nation's belly.
1. Love's Travel Centers are to modern-day road travel what Stuckey's was to travel when I was a kid. Only with grittier bathrooms. This is the kind of place where there are cigarette burns on the toilet seat. But I guess there's an upside to that. If you crave a little leg exercise after 4 bazillion hours in the cab of a Dodge Ram 2500 (ex cuze ay Moi, 1500), nothing gets the blood flowing back into the quads like squatting to pee. Then again, as my good buddy and intrepid traveler Wicked Thistle always says, "Go ahead and sit down already. There's nothing you can catch from a toilet seat." Hmm. I wonder if she's willing to cross stitch that on a pillow for me?
2. The largest cross in the Western Hemisphere sits on the south side of I-40 just outside of Groom, Texas. About two miles before you get there, a huge sign alerts you to its existence, proclaiming it's one of life's great miracles, and oh, by the way? Don't forget to stop by the gift shop, y'all! I, however, beg to differ. One of life's great miracles is having survived a 9-hour slog through pea soup thick fog starting at the hills of the Ozarks on down through Tulsa to the edge of Amarillo, all without sacrificing one's life to the underside of an 18-wheeler.
3. The wind never stops blowing in Oklahoma. Never. Ever.
4. Whether holding the remote to the television set or to the satellite radio, the homo Sapien male is, indeed, singularly incapable of remaining on any one channel for longer than a nanosecond. The only tune I got to listen to in its entirety was Pearl Jam's "Yellow Ledbetter," a song so lyrically cryptic it makes "Blinded by the Light" sounds like a nursery rhyme. Baby, make me cry.
5. At about 4:30 p.m. in the middle of December on a middle-of-nowhere stretch of I-40 somewhere near the border of New Mexico and Texas, just after a sudden downpour as the sun begins to shimmer through the swirl of bruise-colored clouds, all that lonesome beauty will sting your eyes and suck the air right out of your lungs.
5. Fudkin' squirrels follow Moi wherever I go, even on famblee vay-cay.