I noticed on the latest leg of driving that Texas has a lot of hills and mesas to look at on their interstates, while Arizona has more endless flat expanses. Fields of dusty nothing made more empty for the occasional plant. It gave me fresh insight into the kinds of madness that nested in the minds of early explorers and settlers that were out there too long - I had audiobooks and the ability to go 80mph over smooth highway and I felt a kinship to the Donner family.
Part of that may be from my decision to take this trip solo, I got a lot of flak for that. Sometimes, and by that I mean when I was working in a basement hole with no elbow room and three officemates, I get socially claustrophobic and just have to get away from people. It's in everyone's best interest. It's been so long since I've had the chance to do that that I've forgotten how much I enjoy bantering with people (that can banter back, at least), so hours upon hours of driving listening to Rene Auberjonois read from Lincoln & Child stirs my crazy pot in the other direction. Sometimes it's enough to trade problems if solving them isn't possible right away.
Gretchen gave me some rosemary-flavored WASA crackers for the trip, and they've been great finger food during the trip. I love me my gluten, but I don't miss it here. I'm told a little butter or something to cut the dryness is great, but I don't have the means to do that while I'm on the road, so I bear with it. When I made it to Carlsbad, NM, I had some Mexican food in one of the only restaurants open on Monday nights after 7pm, which made me reconsider how much of a nap town Indianapolis actually is. It was forgettable, so I forgot the name of it.
That night I crashed (not literally, relax) at the Great Western Inn, which looks like something out of a Jack Reacher novel. The place was mostly clean, though the desk and end table had a thick layer of dust all laid out for me.
The next morning I set out early to go to Carslbad Caverns. It made me over an hour late arriving in Chandler, AZ, but it was so worth it. I'm still a bit too travel-lagged to describe it justly without pictures, and I can't provide pictures because SOMEBODY (Verizon) made the cord on their charger recharge-only, not the power/ data cable I'm used to. Some might say, "But Ryan, surely you had tested and known this cord behaved in such a way, having had it for months already?" To those observant people, I say with all respect and friendliness, "Shut up."
When I do regain the ability to pull pictures off of my phone, rest assured, the internet will know. Oh yes. It will know.
The Endres welcomed me into their home last night with all the refinement and energy of a heavy metal concert. It was kind of sweet. I think I will repay their kindness by showering sometime soon.