One big advantage of moving from Atlanta to Phoenix: It gave us an excuse to take a great cross-country road trip. On the fourth of July, we packed my little car with a couple suitcases, our guitars, and our dog Bingsoo and set out for the West, watching fireworks bursting along the highway all night. You better believe we felt like we were in a Lana Del Rey song.
Our travels took us to Tuscaloosa, AL; Commerce, TX; Albuquerque, NM, and all the small towns and long stretches of beautiful nowhere in between. Rest areas, fast food parking lots, gas stations, hotels and motels, a stop at my grandparents’ house, Route 66 scenic overlooks. Here’s a bunch of miscellaneous impressions from along the way.
We spent a few nights with my Granny and Poppy in their small Texas town. They took us out for breakfast at one of their spots (see drawing), where the people are really friendly and the coffee tastes a little funny.
They also drove us out to Paris, TX – a place I’ve romanticized because of the Wim Wenders film with the same name, even though the movie wasn’t actually made there. In reality, all that’s in Paris is a red cowboy hat-wearing Eiffel Tower replica and a bunch of antique stores. Still, we all agreed it was worth the drive.
We subsisted on apple fritters and kolache (from the donut shop pictured above), Taco Bell, continental breakfast buffets, boxes of Popeye’s fried chicken and biscuits, bottled water and big styrofoam cups of Coke. (Road trips must be fueled by junk food and excellent playlists.)
As we approached the end of our trip and the landscape changed from the scrubby beige rainbow of New Mexico to the red canyons and taller trees and cactus-dotted desert slopes of Arizona, I started to get swept away.
Some thoughts I wrote in my diary: “Entering Arizona and feeling so emotional about all of the scenery: a desert so flat and treeless with an ominous hovering cloud that made me feel exhilarated and frightened; a forest of tall pines and purple mountain outlooks, with soft rain (rolling down the windows and James yelling It smells SO GOOD); elk crossings; a petrified forest and souvenir stores with big cheesy dinosaurs outside; and as we got closer to town – approaching the valley from the Northeast – the evergreens giving way to enormous saguaros and Seussian yellow agave flowers standing so tall – the proximity and the thrill of it all making me cry to realize: This is our new home!”
Even though it’s the ~journey~ that matters and not the destination, I have to say: The destination is damn great so far. It’s been a month since we left, and we haven’t looked back. More from this wacky new place very soon.