I knew this was going to be the shortest day of driving on this cross-country insanity, and while it was, it sure didn’t feel like it. For one thing, taking advantage of ‘1/2 price bottles of wine’ at the hotel bar didn’t leave me bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning. By the time everything was packed up and ready to go, it was nearly 8:00 when I rolled out of town. I was groggy enough that I had to pull off and take a nap – yeah, road nappies, tucked into a parking lot of a junior high somewhere in one of the panhandles.
The count for the day is 580 miles, clocking the entire trip at 2298.4 (again, I should have driven around for a little bit before parking). I arrived at 6:30pm local time, which mean it was nearly 12 hours after I left Wichita that my day ended.
The day was just a drain. Not just because I was tired from last night, but it just was a drain of a drive. A strong wind coming right at the driver nose of the car caused everyone on the road to get yanked around by small road or wind changes – and a firm hand on the wheel was needed throughout. 400 of the 580 miles today was on US Highway 54 — a sometimes two lane, sometimes 4 lane, sometime something other than that highway – complete with stoplights, merging traffic, and farm equipment. It’s a well travel road, and I spent much of the day passing, waiting to pass, or try not to die from passing semis. Portions of the highway were in rough shape, namely the stretch from the Oklahoma-Texas boarder to where I merged with I-90 some 150 miles later. It was also some of the straightest, flattest road in the country. This isn’t just a short jaunt across the great plains, it crosses it at a diagonal, meaning hours and hours of widespread flat land.
It caused the cabin to be quite strained. My pup hasn’t learned that ‘cuddle time’ doesn’t include while daddy is driving. Like any good dog, Auggie had that great sense of timing. He’d choose to try to force his way to the front seat over the center arm rest just as I start gunning it to get around a truck … and in doing so knocks the gear shifter into Neutral … and then it becomes a fight to clear him off the dang thing to get control of the car and not get us killed. Which means, his harness gets strapped tighter, which pisses him off so he mopes and whines out of direct eyesight. So we both sulk now in the hotel room not quite on speaking terms yet.
Tonight, we are in Albuquerque – I am going to try to get a good night sleep (tough when you are sensitive to altitude and are 5000′ above sea level … where you live). Early morning, quick pack-up of the car, and hit the road. The last leg of this madness is short of 800 miles and just long of 11 hours. This day should be full of interest, that’s for sure. It’s I-40 west thru Gallup, NM – Winslow, Arizona (such a fine sight to see) – Flagstaff – Needles, CA – finally to Bartsow. There it’s onto I-15, into the LA Basin, and finding our home for the near future just outside of Disneyland. Long day, but two mountain ranges, the Colorado River, a few massive deserts, and maybe the pup and I will make up by then.