I just returned from a road trip from San Francisco to Tulsa, OK with a friend who was moving there.
It took us five days on I-40. First overnight stop was Bakersfield, CA followed by Flagstaff AZ, then Albuquerque NM, onto to Amarillo TX, and finally into Tulsa OK.
The thing that caught my attention in Bakersfield was the Barnes & Noble Bookstore. It was packed with people reading in there. Gave me goosebumps.
On our way out of CA to AZ I spotted kiwi orchards, orange groves and a plane boneyard that loomed in the middle of the Mojave desert. There must have been hundreds of aircraft parked there happily decomposing in the heat.
The drive through Northern Arizona with mountain ranges of pink rock flanking both sides of the highway left me wide-eyed. The word beautiful doesn’t even come close.
Albuquerque was a disappointment. Old Town turned out to be a bust. It looked like a movie backdrop with stores offering goods made for the tourist trade. There was nothing authentic about it. Molly, the border-collie who greeted us at the reception desk at the hotel was the best ambassador for the city.
It took forever to get out of New Mexico. Clearly you’re not supposed to leave. Eventually we crossed the state line into Texas and were greeted by miles and miles of windmills. And when we left the hotel the next morning, we were greeted by the smell of cows and their waste. We ran out of Texas.
As soon as we got into Oklahoma the green light switch came on. Trees, rolling hills and natural grasses flanked both sides of the highway. So was the 100 degree heat.
I have crossed the country many times by plane. Now I can say I have driven most of it. Would I do it again? Probably not, but I’m glad to have done it. It gave me a greater appreciation of the enormity of our country.
Calvin says, “You could have taken me, you know. Every one of those hotels were pet-friendly and I could have announced my presence in every state.”