I got to the hotel last night about three hours before everyone else. I didn’t stop for dinner, I figured that I would just order pizza when I got there.
I searched “Pizza” in my iPhone and found the normal Dominos, PIzza Hut, and Papa Johns stuff, but below that, I found Pizza Planet. Without hesitation, I dialed. Of course it was closed. But maybe it was for the best, because it would just ruin childhood dreams. I mean, I have had “a” Pizza Planet before, the one in Disney. However, that Pizza Planet is disgusting. They give you this tiny five inch microwavable pizza in a styrofoam container. It is the complete opposite of delicious.
So, instead, I ordered Papa Johns. The last time I ordered Papa Johns, I was a sophomore at Rowan University. After it got to the room, I remembered why the last time I ordered Papa Johns was when I was a sophomore at Rowan University. It is not good. Not even a little bit. Like, it’s edible, but that’s where I draw the line.
Everyone finished it when they got to the hotel in Amarillo, so it worked. It wasn’t a complete waste of money, although we did wake up this morning with stomach aches (well, Kyle and I did anyway).
Today began much like every other day on the road, with a late start.
In our room, it was Kyle, Chris and me. We didn’t even wake up until 10:30 (Side note: Damn. We missed the continental breakfast again. I was promised biscuits and gravy from the woman at the front desk). We rushed to get up and get showered because check out was at 11.
As you can probably predict, that did not happen.
We were up and out by about 11:30. We went down to WalMart (because where else would we go?), where Chris and Kyle bought clean socks, and I got the dogs some bones for the car ride. After that, we went and got breakfast at Whataburger. Well, they did, because I don’t eat anything. I will say this, the cheeseburgers at Whataburger are bigger than any burger I have ever seen in my life, and their french fries are delicious (their cinnamon buns, however, are not). They also had spicy ketchup. But apparently it tasted exactly like regular ketchup. So, whatevs.
We got back on the road around 12:30-1:00 pm.
I find when you’re driving, there is always a car that stays with you. It’s like your friend, but not really, because you have no idea who the hell they are, or where they are going, but you kind of stay at the same pace, and you kind of both test the water with how fast you can go. Because realistically, only one of you is going to get pulled over. My buddy in Texas today was a burnt orange Kia Soul. I drove alongside them for a good two hours. I probably would have driven with them all day (because I’m sure that they were definitely going to Flagstaff), but tragedy struck.
In my rear view mirror, I saw a cop from the other side of the road swerve into the grass in the median and turn around. They were heading in our direction. Needless to say, my foot slid gingerly away from the gas pedal and I slowed down as fast as I could without using the brake.
I hate when you see cops in the rear view mirror. It’s like everything slows down, and you think that they’re watching you, like they have x-ray vision and they can see into your car. They can see where your eyes are. They can feel your heart racing. You know they can’t, but at the same time, you feel like you’re the only one in their vision and they’re watching your every move.
I watched intently as the car came flying down the left hand lane. The suspense was killing me. Were they going to slide over behind me and throw on their lights? Were they going to blow by me and go get my friend, the Kia Soul? Or was there an actual emergency to respond to? I know. The suspense is killing you too. Did I get another ticket? Was there some burning brush somewhere in the distance? Was Timmy stuck in a well?
My poor friend, the Kia Soul got pulled over. The good news? I didn’t get a ticket!
While it was unfortunate that I no longer had a driving buddy, I decided that I should probably continue.
Texas wasn’t all that fun. I didn’t really enjoy much. New Mexico on the other hand was pretty awesome. First, the speed limit was immediately increased to 75 mph. Second, I saw my first tumble weed not even two miles into the state and third, it added an hour to my day. I’d say that’s something to celebrate. On top of that, there was actually something to see.
The view through New Mexico was pretty amazing. The mountainous landscape was certainly a sight to see. I’m not going to lie and say that I ever understood all of those goddamn nature hippes. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I watch the discover channel just as much as the next guy. But actually being there, and being able to see the vastness of… well, everything, it just makes you get it. You become immersed in it.
I expect that it’s a lot like the feeling the ocean gives you. Like, you can look at the ocean, and all you see is water. No matter how hard you try, you won’t see anything but water on the horizon (unless you turn around and look behind you, asshole). It kind of reminds you of how small you are. It kind of reminds you of how big everything else is (I know, the universe is humongous big). But it’s true. Seeing it in person, it’s kind of surreal.
I kind of love being on the other side of it, being able to look into the distance and see mountains and rocks jutting into the sky, occupying the horizon. Looking around you and seeing the mounds of earth carved with distinction.
It’s unlike anything you could ever possibly see in New Jersey.
On the final stretch of New Mexico, I took an exit to head towards a rest stop. There, I took the picture that is the featured image for this post. It’s unbelievable how incredible the sunset is here. It’s so vibrant, and the way that it peers over the mountains, and takes over the sky is indescribable (which for me, is a bad thing, being that I went to college for seven years to learn how to describe things, but whatever). Sure, it’s not the ocean, but I’ve been there, I’ve seen that (not that I’m like a sunset junky, but it’s not exactly the worst way to watch the light fade into darkness).
We didn’t make Surprise today (as you can tell, the title of this post is not Day Four: Amarillo, TX to Surprise, AZ), but we did make it to Arizona. We are in the state and we’ll chalk it up as progress because it’s not worth stressing over. We’ll make it there tomorrow.
We are a mere three hours from arriving at our destination.
We are so close to the end of our journey, and at the same time, so close to the beginning of our lives in Arizona.