road to cali (leaving town)

I went out to LA to see my friend Ashley, AKA Smash, AKA chef to the unnameable stars (not that I signed an NDA, but trust does still mean something). But before I got there, I had to roll across two deserts, two mountain ranges, and untold small towns that I passed without even realizing.

I covered half of I-40, coming and going. I know that road fairly well from my college days, but there’s a difference between a full on burn, at the edge of what’s possible for a college student to run out in the time he’s got to get to school, and a nice leisurely drive across half the country. On the way there, I split it across three days; six hours from home, I stopped in the New Mexico rest area and slept, after getting out and staring at the moon.

There’s a kind of tired that’s familiar to anybody that’s done any solo driving. You start to feel it at the edges of things hours before you pull over— a little ache at the corner of your eyes, wandering attention between songs on the radio. When you need to push, you can push through that kind of tired. It’s not safe, but it is at least interesting.

I started to feel it before I got to Amarillo; I knew there were two rest areas before Albuquerque that would do, if I could make it, so I pushed through a little. Now, understand, this trip has nothing on some of the epically stupid things I’ve done; Once, I started to feel the same driving through Arkansas, and turned north to drive through Kentucky, for what I thought would be a shortcut through to Virginia; about 20 hours later, sans stop, I made it.

It’s easy to lose yourself; to get disconnected from the moment. All that you see is a million miles of flat ground, and the same white and yellow lines; it’s easy to feel cut off from the rest of the universe. In that moment, the most important thing to do is concentrate. Lose focus, the mind wanders. Eyelids get heavy, and then it’s up to luck- bumps in the road, rumble strips, a song change on the radio. Or you don’t wake up.

I have always been very lucky.

Anyway, this time I decided to be at least a little rational, and stop and sleep not too far into the journey. I took pictures to try and get that feeling down, and there was a storm off to the northwest that helped-things wander, and then you get a jolt of the present that brings you back.






Posted by Matt on 2012-08-02 05:04:15 +0000