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Road trip!

July 4, 2007

Hey all!
Honestly, if you have a credit card and a cell phone, it’s pretty damn easy to feel invincible. Well at least if you have a good card company also. But that’s getting ahead of myself. As you may or may not know, I drove from Michigan to California in a Penske rental truck with a guy named Shane last week. Here’s my notes. Dude, take a road trip; it’s great.

We left Milwaukee late afternoon last week sometime (I’ve totally lost track of the days of the week…repeatedly.). Drove through Wisconsin, a bit of Illinois, and all of Iowa. Which basically all looked like…Michigan. Lots of cornfields. A few toll roads. We crossed the Mississippi and the Missouri, neither of which was too exciting, though they were neat milestones. The most interesting thing was that every time we went uphill, the downhill was slightly shorter. Just a little bit, but it was obvious that we were gaining altitude. Spent the night in Omaha at a ghetto little Econo Lodge just off the freeway.

The next day it was the crossing of Nebraska. Now if you look at a map of Nebraska, you notice something interesting. It fades away. The south east corner is full of roads, and they all sort of peter out as you head north and west. We started off in a cornfield that was about two hundred miles long. As we went further from civilization, though, it started to get more desolate in a beautiful sort of way. There were more grasslands and a ridge of hills running along to the north of us. Then we crossed into Colorado and I was in love. Within a few miles of the border suddenly the hills were all around us, with totally unsettled land running away as far as the eye could see. A bit of a rainstorm was blowing in as we got closer to Denver, so it took me a while to notice the mountains. There was a ribbon of purple along the horizon that just seemed to be a raincloud, except that ten minutes later it was the same shape and a little bigger. I spent the next hour transfixed as the Rockies slowly rose out of the horizon, growing taller and more grand as we pulled into Denver. I think I could live in Colorado.

Denver itself contained another adventure. I had been paying for gas, but halfway through that day my card started getting denied. Called the card company when we got into the hotel (a REALLY ghetto Days Inn) and it turns out someone’s been using my card. O.O I was about to panic when they got through to me that it was all alright. All the charges that weren’t me had been denied. They’d issue me a new card at my new address in a few days. Turns out American Express rocks, because the new card was at my door when I got here yesterday.

Heading out of Denver it was more mountains, crawling right around the road. We went south, to avoid the steepest slopes, but it’s impossible to avoid them completely. One gas stop put us right up in them, and I hope the pictures turn out well. As we drove south the green got less verdant and the mountains slipped away. By the time we hit New Mexico it was rolling grassland again, with small mountains/large hills off in the distance now and again. The hills began taking on a flat top appearance, which was pretty nifty. There was some pretty excellent lightening at one point, right over the top of some of the mesas right in front of us. Then on to the hotel in Albuquerque, a word which I can spell now. The hotel this time was a Roadway Inn, and once again we successfully snuck in the guinea pigs without paying the pet fee. (Why isn’t “snuck” the correct past tense? “sneaked” sounds so dumb.)

The next day heralded our other adventure. East New Mexico, it turns out, is basically like the northern part of the state, only boring. Arizona didn’t get much more exciting. Drier, with some neat rock formations, but nothing seemed to hold my interest. That is, until we heard an ominous noise and felt the truck start shaking. We drove a bit until there was a small town, the only real town for an hour ’til Flagstaff, and this place not big at all. Upon checking it out we found that one of the rear tires (there are two on each side) had blown out. O.O We called Penske (that’s who we got the truck from) hoping that there’d be a maintenance crew nearer than Flagstaff because it was a very warm day to be stranded at a gas station that long. Turns out we were a block from one – :-). The guy fixed us up (btw, very cute! Amazing hands, yum) and in less than an hour we were back on the road. About a half hour out of Flagstaff we could see some hills again in the distance, and then suddenly we were in the most serious terrain we’d seen all the trip. Between Flagstaff and Phoenix there’s a beautiful national forest filled with pine trees, all growing on the slopes of mountains. There isn’t really a good place to run a freeway through all of that, so up and down we went. The really great thing was the descent out of the mountains. It was about ten miles long, total, and I think if you were on a bike you could cost most of it. We descended about three thousand feet in that stretch. There were signs about a ramp that would stop runaway trucks, but I guess they only bothered to put one ramp in because it was like “Runaway truck ramp 10 miles” and “Runaway truck ramp 5 miles”. I for one wouldn’t want to be ten miles from the one thing that could slow me down. Anyway we finally made it to Phoenix, and damn it’s hot down out of the mountains. This hotel, a Comfort Inn, was amazingly nice, and I was very pleased to be staying there for less than sixty bucks a night. Yay for alumni discounts.

The final day of our road trip was basically boring at hot. It was a hundred and ten degrees for about two hundred and fifty miles, through boring dry desert. The plants were all brown. The only excitement was the random dust devils that would come by occasionally. Even the cacti weren’t that great. Oh btw we saw cactuseseseses on our way in to Phoenix. The big kind with the arms. Eventually we made it out of there, and into the outskirts of LA. Then it was crazy freeways, and then the hotel. This one started out looking ghetto, with the teller being behind a glass, but ended up really nice.

Lots of shenanigans that aren’t important, and yesterday I got the keys to my new place! It’s so excellent! It’s big and well furnished and I love it a lot! I do need to buy a desk chair, though. Anyone wanna lend me a car to get to the store? Anyway I’ll try to put some pictures online soon, and I’ll tell y’all when that happens. All in all, a very beautiful trip. I’m so glad that I did it. And the guinea pigs had a good time too. :-D

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 4, 2007 2:35 pm

    Glad you’re having a good time. I can’t wait to take a cross-country road trip!

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