Yet another full-day of driving… and by that, I mean two full days of driving. It wasn’t bad though – by this point in the trip I’ve become jaded to long drives. Or jaded enough that they’re not something super-serious anymore. It’s just a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery. Listen to some music, catch some sun, and just enjoy the freedom that I have. I do have a schedule and a course, ones that I want to follow. But I could definitely change them. I could redirect, do something completely different. I don’t, but having that option is amazing.
- Today is going to be a very long drive, but I start out with the top up, since it’s wicked hot out. My standard rule is that if it’s hotter than 93 degrees, then I can leave the top up and crank the AC to keep me chill.
- As I check the rear window, I’m pretty proud of my work… I can’t see out the back perfectly, but I can easily see when I pass people, and when someone’s behind me. But wait… what’s that up at the top? That’s the back of the tape, peeling back… So I assume it’s fine, and keep driving.
- More of the backing keeps peeling off… fuck. Yep, the tape is definitely peeling off. Maybe it’ll last to a rest stop?
- Official report: Tape is at critical peel levels. Structural integrity cannot be maintained. Fine. Fine. Whatever. I pull over onto the side of the road and deal with it. By crawling back into the packed rear seat – I literally just slide up on top of the crash pad… I’ve got room to spare. Like a good 4 inches from my face to the roof. And 18 wheelers are driving past at 75mph. It’s not terrifying at all.
- Wait, yes it is. I’m terrified. But I fix it, and keep moving.
- I have to pull over again, to deal with the tape peeling back some more. But it seems to be getting better… so this time, I think it’s good. But just to be safe, I put the top down for the next section of driving… and keep the AC on, but only directed at myself.
- Damn the midwest is big. I drive for a long time.
- I make a quick stop in at Big Texas steak ranch; the place that does the 72oz steak challenge.
The challenge is to eat 72 oz of steak, plus three sides and a drink, or something. So it’s pretty cool… and free if you finish within an hour. But if you don’t, it gets super expenside… so I just go with a simple Ribeye.
I get it, and… their steak isn’t bad, but it’s not as good as what I cook. The sides are amazing thought! Beefsteak tomatoes, seasoned perfectly. Mac and Cheese to die for. Rolls… rolls are pretty good.
- Pay the bill, and head out to get back on the road feeling really good! I even find a $50 bill on the ground as I’m walking to the car… and no one nearby to check with. Pocket! Nice!
- Back at the car, I check on the tape first; It’s ok, but not ideal. I fix it pretty easily with another layer of maritime tape.
- Check the front… ohh. It’s gone. Completely gone. The whole air deflector assembly is torn and melted completely off, with almost nothing to show that it was ever there. I didn’t even notice while driving that a massive piece of plastic was ripped off the front and shredded under the wheels.
You know what? Whatever. I don’t care anymore. I can’t do anything about it, so I won’t.
- Keep driving… through a rainstorm, but one that isn’t too bad, thankfully. The patch job holds up!
- Gonna be late… Sunset will have finished by the time I make camp. Which seems strange, since it’s still really bright out. Wait! I hit another time zone! WOO free hour!
- Get there a good half hour before dark, and set up in the consistent, yet light, wind.
- Rain storms all around… try to call Mom, but can’t get through. Says there’s signal, but there isn’t any. Drive to an inn, borrow the owners cell phone. It works well, actually.
- Back, hang out, write, cover the car with a tarp, just to be safe against a storm, and sleep 🙂
- Ohh. And yes. I did tie my tent to the shelter, just to make sure it didn’t blow away while I was going to make that phone call at the inn. Yep. ‘Cause ahmm smaaaht.
- Rain. The night is rainy, but insanely windy. Like… so much wind, that the desert dust is sifting through the mesh of the tent, and I’m pretty sure that the poles are nearly bent in half.
- Rain starts, heavy enough (and with the wind) that it can spray up under the rain fly… but I’ve got a good sleeping bag, and I’m fine. Though it’s still freaking hard to sleep with a damn sandstorm less than two feet from my face.
- But I do finallysleep… restless though it may be.
- But by the time I’m awake and moving, the rain’s already died off, and it’s nice out again. I wake up covered in a fine layer of dust… Thankfully, I planned ahead and left my contact lenses in the night before – it’s not good to do, long-term… but it’s a lot worse to get sand or dust in my eyes. And by the sheer amount of grit in the tent, I am very glad I didn’t take my contacts out!
- The morning is slow, as almost all of my mornings have been… I eat breakfast, write a blog post, pack up the tent and then the car, and then leave for Arizona!
- Again, it’s lots of long driving, but it’s not so bad. I’ve gotten pretty used to it by now, and can easily go a solid 250miles before stopping to stretch, refuel, and relieve myself. The terrain is really flat and lonely roads, so it’s interesting enough to keep me occupied. There’s lots of scenic “look at how long this road goes” pictures to be taken… so I take them. Good book covers, these shots.
- My big stop for the day was breakfast, when I shopped in Santa Rosa… ehh. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad. Not the best though.
- Move along, driving far. It’s not interesting, but it gets done, and the miles get eaten up by the tires. A bit outside of town I call my Dad to let them know and get final approach directions, and I make it Alpine a good two hours quicker than I thought. Woo!