Sunday, October 4, 2009

Of Truckstops and Knick-Knacks

Nick and I have officially started our trip out east. Today ends day 3 of travel. Really, this is our favorite part of the whole process. Something about just being in the car and on the road just works for us. There really is a romance of simplicity to it. You have one goal, few ways to procrastinate, the necessity to cooperate with your travel partners, and an endless number of unforeseen obstacles that could find their way into your itinerary. And really, let's be honest, it is inevitably those obstacles and surprises that make our trips memorable.

Currently, we are in Dallas ending the pioneering portion of our trip. Starting
tomorrow our trip the rest of the way east will revolve around visiting various family and friends. However the past three days we have been on our own rockin' it out from San Diego across the desert of the southwest. Probably one of my favorite regions in the country. Just beautiful. And while I was fully aware that I was in "desert" region I did not realize that there are parts of this country that have full out desert dunes. Yeah, like no joke I just fell into the Sahara, giant velvety foam looking dunes. Amazing! I made us pull over at the nearest rest stop to take pictures. It was here at this truly primitive rest stop with no picnic tables or running water that I also stumbled across this little gem: Yes. That is a sign reminding your that car theft is wrong and includes a hot line. I am sorry. I could have sworn there was already a hot line for reporting car theft. I learned it when I was 3. The phone number is 9-1-1. "Hi, police. I need to report a car getting jacked." Having a separate hot line just seems excessive and confusing, doesn't it?

We cont
inued passing through Arizona and started coming across these billboards for "The Thing". Now I am a huge sucker for roadside attractions. You heard right. If there is a huge jack-a-lope, or a potato chip that looks like the Madonna (or one that looks like just Madonna for that matter), or the world's largest collection of garden gnomes within 10 miles of the highway I will beg to go. AND it is a well known fact that the farther out the billboards start the more awesomely bad the attraction will be. So after an hour of: "The Thing: see the desert mystery", "The Thing: and get a Dairy Queen Blizzard", "The Thing: and Handmade Pottery" and finally "The Thing: and Southwest Jewelry" I was dead set on exiting at #322. Admission was a $1 for my husband and I; it was worth every penny we paid to the two old cashiers with 10 teeth between them. Spoiler alert: The thing about "The Thing" is there is no thing but instead, several things. Three long, open, aluminum shacks encompassing the trailers behind the truck stop where, I'm assuming, the employees lived. These shacks were filled with an extensive collection of stuff that defies description of genre or value. A few favorites of mine included: an antique Roles Royce that Hitler may (or may not) have ridden, a collection of torture themed sculptures, and a mummy with no description of how old it was, where it was found, or even if it was real.

However, the climax of our trip thus far happened late last night. At about 10PM we were working our way through western Texas. We had gone through one last border inspection station about 30 minutes earlier and Nick decided that he needed a caffeine fix so we pulled of the next exit to a truck stop near Van Horn and "The Plateau." Now I have procured gas and taken a leak at various truck stops all over this great country of ours. And while cleaner than some this stop took the cake by being the SKETCHIEST TRUCK STOP EVER! As we walked in we were greeted by a $54 three foot figurine of a cougar across from a relief in reverse of Jesus. I got nicely ogled by a big, burly, guy with a sweet 'stache, trucker cap, and a ponytail that was longer than I have ever been able to grow my hair. He was playing a virtual slot machine as he watched me walk into the bathroom and I thought, "Great, tonight is the night I get Jodie Fostered." However, upon entering the ladies room I was distracted by the sign above the sink noting that there was no potable water...charming. Then as I entered the stall I spotted a nice little scribble: "For a good time call your mom so that she can slap some since into you." JACKPOT! I couldn't wait to tell Nick about my little find. As soon as we are in the safety of our little car and turn to him:
"Guess what I saw in the bathroom!"

"A guy shitting out little balls of cocaine? Cause that's what I saw in mine."

"How do you know?"

"Some guy was in the can with an empty grocery sack set out at his feet. I don't know what else he could be doing."
Checkmate. Nick wins. There isn't a possible bathroom wall typo that could compete with that.

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