I'm writing these lines somewhere in Missouri, between Amish Country and St. Louis. Since we last talked, we've left New Mexico, driven briefly through Texas and slept in extra depressing Oklahoma City.
Last friday, I left you as we arrived in Taos, a very interesting village nestled 7,000 feet high in the New Mexico mountains. It's a town of old hippies and artists, where actor Dennis Hopper lived, curated a museum and was buried.
We booked there to visit the Taos Pueblo, a thousand year-old pueblo still inhabited by native Americans. It's an awesome complex of adobe-style houses all stacked on top of each other, the oldest in all of the United States. It looked fascinating, but we arrived too late to visit it. Sad trombone. Taos was still great, as was most of New Mexico and its unbeliavable skies, but Santa Fe was our biggest crush of the area.
We then drove all the way down the mountains to sleep in Oklahoma City, in a smoking room I had booked by mistake. Friendly advice: don't EVER book smoking rooms! I booked two during this trip, both because I failed to notice, and boy were they gross. The walls are yellow, both rooms were dirty and the smell is just fucking horrid. And I'm a smoker! It's seriously the worst and it's a mistake I'm never making again.
Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri were very uneventful, the most memorable part being the hundreds of decapitated armadillos scattered all over as roadkill. Oh, and possums, too.
Armadillo is by far the goriest roadkill there is. I've seen the insides of so many of these guys' little bodies. I guess it's the absence of hair to absorb the blood, I dunno, but yikes - super graphic. I like armadillos and I'd never seen one live before. I would have preferred to meet them in happier circumstances. Sad face.
Texas had pretty grass of a delicately faded green and we visited a four-house ghost town along Route 66, which we're pretty much following, by the way.
Otherwise, it's been Waffle Houses, ridiculous songs thanks to Simon, churches and barns, Support Our Troops bumper stickers, shitty churches, teethless truckers that were basically Robert Crumb drawings come to life, fried chicken and I don't know how many gas stations.
It was a lot prettier when we were heading out west, more mountains and less people. Here it's just flat farmland and at every exit, the same fast food chains, tourist traps and convenience stores. The parts where there is nothing but the horizon line and the road, in a graphically perfect disposition, are my favorite.
360 degrees of skies, green grass and the open road is always a soothing and inspiring sight for me. It's that part between where you're coming from and where you're going. I dunno. It's exciting, it holds such promise. Thankfully, I enjoy it because there's been a LOT if it!
We stopped at shitty souvenir stores, a giant candy warehouse and local breakfast spots for burritos (om nom nom). A million coffees later, we're almost done for the day. Thanks to the normal oxygen levels we're in a much better mood, though Simon got a taste of my legendary morning bitchiness today because we interacted before my second coffee when I'm still a gnarly ogre (sorry!).
It's slightly bittersweet to be going back home, although we still have a quick stop in Chicago. It's strange because it takes forever and my brain has tons of time to sort through my favorite moments, filled at capacity with unbelievable memories, trying to make sense of it all. I guess the most beautiful scenery is behind us now, but we're still trying to pay attention to what's around us, trying to take it all in.
We've driven through so many cities we'd heard of in a thousand movies, TV shows and songs, all equally insignificant, but it'll be fun to know we've seen them anyway. A lot of this trip is about the idea of seeing it all, mile by mile, just to know we have. It's about stopping for coffee in some random greasy spoon and listening to the elusive average people of middle America having mundane conversations. Every time I end up wondering who I would be if I had been born there. One of the most fascinating things about traveling anywhere, I find, is to look at the people who live there and call this strange new place home.
I wish we had enough time and money to explore the Deep South, but I guess we'll keep it for another trip. We've always talked about driving down to New Orleans - hopefully it'll happen someday. But the next place I want to see is London. I've been to Europe but never to the UK and I think I'll love it.
Anyway that's it for now, it's been fun to cross America once again. I like the simplicity of the landscape, fruit stands off the highway, being called loving nicknames by friendly waitresses, watching trees through the window for days on end.
It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I know this trip will be one of the highlights of our lives. I'm so, so glad we did it.
See y'all in Chicago! If you have places to recommend there, do tell!