This morning we all agreed that Kaitlin should not be driving for a while. In fact, I drove and Megan was shotgun–we left the two love birds in the back seat. I really loved the stretch of highway between Amarillo and New Mexico–we stopped at the Cadillac Ranch for a while before we continued our journey. The traffic was pretty good too, so it was a nice cruise.
I love the colors of New Mexico–the rich red earth tones, the vast expanse of space. I like seeing that every now and then after being stuck in the concrete jungle. Don’t get me wrong, I love New York, but sometimes you just need a break, ya know? This road trip was a really great idea. We stopped at Gallup, New Mexico for lunch. All this time, that famous jazz song, “Route 66” was running in my head. There’s a number of versions out but I like the Natalie Cole version the best.
Rick wanted to eat at the El Rancho Restaurant, so we headed there. It also happened to be a hotel that famous people like John Wayne stayed. Since we were in Oklahoma, Rick acted like he was the guide on a wild wild west tour. Megan mused, “Rick knows more wild west trivia than anyone I know,” she said smiling, “I think he knows even more about the west than he knows about cars.” I had to laugh. Rick has been acting like a kid for the past day or so. And he hasn’t shown much interest in driving–which is very, very unusual!
We went shopping at a couple of local stores including the Indian Market. I found the perfect Mother’s Day gift for my mom. It’s a turquoise Squash Blossom necklace. My mom likes big chunks of jewelry, so it was just perfect. It was a bit heavy on my wallet but hey, it’s worth it. Now she has something to show off when she goes to those suburban Christmas and New Year parties this year!
It was really interesting to talk to the people who run the stores there. Megan asked them how they’re affected by the economy–they said that things have been tighter than usual but most of the money that comes into Gallup is from Europe. We were surprised. The gentleman who was manning the cashier said, “Ya, people fly all the way from places like Switzerland to buy Indian art and jewelry.” Hey, I don’t blame them. Indian art has the most colorful designs. Megan said she likes the symbolism behind every object. Even small pieces of jewelry represent creatures that roam around the earth, “that connection is very important,” Megan contemplated. She seemed like she had moved on and was now searching for new things to do.
Megan wanted to drive the rest of the journey from Gallup up hill into the mountains. We headed towards Flagstaff, AZ after our shopping excursion. I loved how the scenery started changing slowly. “Remember when we used to go for long drives in our senior year,” Megan recalled, “I used to live for those drives. I figured I wouldn’t be seeing you guys after that year, so we might as well spend as much time as possible.” I smiled, thinking about our high school days–we were such rascals, then. “Ya, but unfortunately you’re stuck with me, Megan,” I told her. It’s really amazing how we’re still in touch after all these years. She glanced back at me and smiled. “Hey, I’m just a fan stalking you,” she joked.
I’m pretty sure Megan is hatching some sort of a plan in her head. “Ya know, I wouldnt’ mind going to some sushi joint or a Mexican place once we get to California. I’m tired of having steak all the time,” she continued, half talking to herself while driving. So I said, “Ya, I miss Mom’s cooking–I can’t wait to get home!”
The sun began to set right after we left Winslow, AZ. It was beautiful. I can see why the “riding off into the sunset” theme is such a popular notion in American literature and movies. It’s such a great way to end something. And Flagstaff, AZ seemed to be the perfect town to end the day. We went into a restaurant and saw a couple who looked really in love.
They were acting very merry and giggling away. They looked like they’d had a couple of drinks before we got there. We were seated next to their table. Half way through our meal, they broke out into a fight and the woman started yelling, “Oh ya? I dare you. I dare you to leave me!” The guy dropped a couple of bills, got up and really left. It was surprising to watch for us because one, it wasn’t Kaitlin and Rick who were fighting, and two, they looked really happy when we walked in!
We were all caught up by the drama, so I guess we were all staring at the woman left behind. She started sobbing, and I think she noticed us. She showed us the back of her left hand and said, “We just got married…” and started crying. We all turned and concentrated on our meal and waited for her to leave. As soon as she left, Rick said, “Man, never get married when you’re drunk.” We all started laughing out loud. “Rick, of all the people on this table, you’re the only one who would get married while drunk!” said Megan. We started laughing again. Rick’s such a stud.
I have to turn in now, folks. Thank you for coming on this journey with me. We have our last stretch of road to go tomorrow, hopefully nothing will happen and we’ll arrive at my folks’ place on time for Mother’s Day. Somehow Louis L’Amour seem to have the perfect Zen quotes these days, he said, “Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.” Just a few more miles to cover and we’ll be home free, literally!
FREE GREETINGS FOR THE PLANET
P.S. Mother’s Day ecards are so 2008. Send them to all the moms you know!