May 27th, 2008

Day 2 of our great trek across the United States meant that we woke up in Flagstaff, Arizona and ended the night in Amarillo, Texas. This was actually my favorite day from a scenery perspective, and my least for other reasons.

Crossing over any state line felt glorious. I found myself watching my GPS in earnest when I knew we were getting close. I would then get my camera ready and snap the photo with one hand, while driving with the other. Keep in mind that I was usually doing about 85 when taking these pictures, so I am both pleased that they turned out and proud that I stayed ON the road. Yes, not the smartest trick, but Iona was unwilling to document any of our travels. That would have upset her cross-country nap time.

At one point in New Mexico Iona needed to pee…and apparently she needed to pee BADLY. Her routine was this – she would wake up, shake, look outside for awhile, and then stand immediately behind the driver’s seat. She was sitting up on suitcases, so she was at my shoulder level. If I was unresponsive, she would stub me on the shoulder. If I still wasn’t responding quickly enough, she would stub aggressively and woof in my ear. At this stage, I got the point. I also wanted to keep the skin on my shoulder. Of course, there was not a rest stop for miles. So, we pulled off the road at the exit for Cuervo, New Mexico.

Now, if you are a fan of the horror genre, then this is the town for you. If not, then I HIGHLY suggest driving fast down I-40 and ignoring the hell out of this place. I loved, loved, loved it. And I was totally freaked out. Basically this is an abandoned town. Established in 1901 around the Southern Pacific railroad tracks, the town had two schools, churches and two hotels. At its peak it boasted about 300 people. Then the I-40 was built down the middle of the town and destroyed it. I have no idea where the people went, or why they just left the buildings, but it is so weird. Some of the street signs look relatively new, yet the roads are completely buried in red dirt. Truthfully, I was creeped out. I was literally pulling Iona along and trying to get her to pee faster. At any moment, I knew the zombies were going to come out of these abandoned buildings and attempt to eat me alive. Iona was not going to save me.

Crossing into Texas meant that we were closer to our destination for the night, but also meant we were in the home of George W. I hope they have modified the sign, and at least took the “proud” down.

Word to all the travelers out there. Do not stop at the La Quinta in Amarillo, Texas. This was the nastiest of the hotels we stayed at. It is right off the freeway, had no elevator, backed up against a scary parking lot, and had terrible dining options near by. We ended our great drive that evening with dinner at Denny’s. Oh joy. The NON-SMOKING section consisted of 5 booths along the kitchen wall. Even after driving for over 10 hours and feeling like hell, we were still the hottest couple in the place. I do not think it was coincidence that Michael sat under the below sign. That boy’s bacon certainly sizzles. At least more than any other in Amarillo, Texas.