The problem we seem to be having on this trip is that whenever we leave a place, its immediately placed in imminent threat of destruction. Hurricane Gustav is currently evacuating New Orleans and placing warnings as far north and east as Tennesee and East Texas. As we drove through West Texas, there were thunderstorms following just behind that brought severe flooding to a normally dehydrated desert. As we entered Tucson, Steve and I saw the most spectacular thunderstorm we've ever seen: the sky turned all sorts of amazing colors, and huge bright flashes of white lightning struck down upon the mesas all around us, 20 miles in every direction. We played Riders On The Storm, Thunderstruck, Thunder Road, Explosions in the Sky, and anything else that was appropriately epic. It brought us very little rain, and no wind; just an amazing view. Certainly though, someone was getting their ass kicked. After leaving Tucson, we stopped into see my friend Emily and her husband Mark in Phoenix, and we realized who's butts we saw being whupped. All through the city, trees were torn up by the roots or splintered to smithereens, windows were shattered, tall stone walls blown over. As I hugged them goodbye, the clouds darkened, thunder rolled in the distance; the weather was taking a deep breath to start again.
We are riding the leading edge of danger.
Friends of California, Oregon or Washington, beware. In the coming week you may find yourself caught up in horrible storms, mudslides, earthquakes or volcanoes--it is a very dangerous time to be friends with Steve or I. Perhaps you should take a break from that for a while, or just go on vacation somewhere else till long after we've passed. Or, maybe you should take it as a sign from God that you ought to flee your homes immediately and join us. After all, Steve and I have yet to be victims of any calamity. If you stay with us, you too can avert catastrophe. As Steve says, "We are the eye of the hurricane".
Anyway, besides discovering that we are two of the four horsemen of the apocolypse, we've been enjoying ourselves. The southwest is ridiculously beautiful, and our thirteen hour ride was actually extremely pleasant. Just set the cruise to 80 and hold the wheel straight for a very very very long time. Mountains, mesas, cacti and sunsets-- I cannot get bored of these things.
In Tucson we stayed with Steve's friend Jen and her boyfriend Elliot. It was funny, Jen was friends with all of my friends before I was their friend, and she left before I became their friend. Therefore, I'd heard all about her in stories told as if she were still there, but had never actually met her, she was just some mythic character in the saga of my friends. I found the real life incarnation of her to be super pleasant, she made really good beer and coffee, and thats really all I can ask of anybody. Also while in Tucson we went to the Titan Missile Museum, a decommisioned nuclear missile silo. It was really cool and somewhat frightening. Really cool in that the engineering and logistics going into this place is flawless, they thought of everything. I have never felt safer in my life than when I was in this silo. What was frightening was learning just how real the threat of complete annhilation was, and how extremely necessary all that engineering and logic was. The place was wired for Mutually Assured Destruction. We're going to hell all right, but Russia's riding shotgun.
We left Tucson and stopped by the Sonora Desert Museum, which was way cooler than I had expected. I kinda want to go back, the place was huge, and we only got through half of it in the few hours we spent there. Its sort of like a zoo, with all the animals you'd find in the desert put on display, all the kinds of cactus and agave and such too. But it was done so sooooo well, it didn't feel like a zoo at all, it felt like you were just walking around in the desert and seeing really cool things. I recommend it if you're ever near Tucson.
From there we rode the couple hours to see Emily and Mark in their new apartment in Phoenix, and were greeted with homemade jambalaya, beer and a record player. This is why I love Emily, she knows exactly what I need in life. We hung out with them for a few hours, toured downtown Phoenix briefly, took a group picture, and then we reluctantly left.
Six hours to San Diego. The Mexican border is 500 feet to our left. The sun is setting, but if we keep driving west, the day will last a little longer. I'm still technically a hobo, I have no job and no apartment meeting me at the end of this trip, but meh.