They say that proper planning prevents poor performance. Mr. Vagabond and I prefer to say, “Don’t plan for anything because nothing ever goes as planned.” That is especially true for us. He is a cell phone Tower Rigger. I am a Tower Rigger's wife. There is rarely a dull moment, and travel is almost constant. Recently, he needed to drive to Phoenix. Unfortunately, the gods were against him (AKA “they lost my rental reservation”). At the last minute, we concluded that I would take him in our truck and then bring the truck back. Life is an adventure. And planning is for sissies.
After arranging a last-minute pup sitter and throwing a few things into a bag, we hit the road. Tennessee wasn’t interesting, so I didn’t take any pictures. There was nothing unusual going on except for the head-banging Mudvayne CD blaring in our truck. Crossing the border into Arkansas, I yelled, “There went Tennessee!” He bobbed his head to the deafening music and replied, “HUH?”
Arkansas promised new sights, but all I got were two blurry, sideways pictures of a church and a river. There were storms. We ran over an armadillo. Ka-Thunk. And there went Arkansas.
At some point, we got the brilliant idea to drive all night to Flagstaff, Arizona. Because we are navigational superstars. His Mudvayne CD cycled around for the third time when I had the unsettling revelation that I knew all the lyrics. Around 2:30 a.m., the whining began. Not the music -- me. I needed sleep. The only things I can say about Oklahoma City are that I don’t know what it looks like because it was dark and the Circle K off I-40 has eerily clean bathrooms. I’m not sure what our hotel looked like, but I am relatively certain there was a bed.
The next morning, I decided to drive first. After cleaning up the full cup of coffee I dumped on the floor mat, we were off and running. Nearly 3 hours were spent in total silence, save for the ringing in my ears from the previous day. Mr. Vagabond slept. I was tempted to take a picture of him sleeping, but I didn't think he would appreciate photographic proof of his fly-catching abilities. There is photographic proof of windmills, though. Lots of windmills. And there went Oklahoma.
Northern Texas has a whole lotta flat. And windmills. And cows. We switched over so he could drive. I snapped a few blurry, sideways pictures of windmills and cows. And there went Texas.
New Mexico is large. Very large. And if I had to listen to that Mudvayne CD one.more.time . . .
We tried switching to the nonexistent radio stations. We settled on our iPods. I called home. He called home. I squirmed in my seat. I texted with my boys and took crooked, blurry pictures of the landscape as it turned into desert. I planned to meet with my cousin in Albuquerque, but that fell through when we realized the actual distance to Flagstaff (GPS, ftw)!
New Mexico boredom was broken by, “Hey sweetie! Look! There’s a little twister!” Sure enough, dust spiraled up on the side of the road. I chirped, "Awww, it's a baby tornado!" About then, the baby tornado decided to roll out and play in traffic. Good thing we had just stopped so I could pee since it nearly flipped the truck over. I squealed. He laughed.
“Awwww, it’s a widdle baby tornado! Look how cute!”
I shot him a look. He laughed. Again. Turns out, it was a dust devil, and we saw several more through New Mexico. Fortunately, they were well mannered enough to say out of the road.
Next stop, ice cream at Dairy Queen! It’s amazing how a plain vanilla cone can soothe the soul of a weary traveler. I passed on buying a $40 rubber snake at the D.Q. gift shop. Hitting the road again, we noticed a huge ridge of rocks that went on forever. The sign read, “Continental Divide.” I figured it was most likely an important landmark and so I snapped a few blurry, sideways pictures. And there went the Continental Divide. And there went New Mexico.
Finally! Yeah, right. After the ice cream, Mr. Exhausted napped while I drove on to Flagstaff. And on and on to Flagstaff. Where IS Flagstaff? I saw it like a shining beacon on the GPS, but it refused to come into view through the windshield. GPS earned the nickname, “Loster than _____.” Fill in the blank however you please. We did.
Eventually, the desert changed into green. I swore I saw snow flurrying around, but he shot me a look that said, “You need professional help.” He had a point. We stopped for gas at the top of the mountain. I called my mother to tell her we were almost there. And there went Flagstaff.
We didn’t know it then, but we weren’t almost there. What remained of the trip equaled Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride on crack. Had we planned for this trip, we would have known. But planning is for sissies. Right?
Check back on July 26th for part II of our adventure.