I’m sure you all were very surprised that I made it back to Los Angeles in one piece. I know my dad and I were!
Every time I called him during my trip, he seemed genuinely shocked that I wasn’t calling to say I had had an accident or some sort of car trouble. He had zero faith in my ability to drive. (I don’t blame him. I had no faith either!) When I called him from San Diego at the beginning of the journey, asking his advice on rental car companies, he went out of his way to think of anything but having me drive a vehicle.
“Well, sweetheart, what about a train? Are there any buses at all that go up there? What about a jet pack?” (He did not actually ask what about a jet pack, but he was really leaning toward me not driving (as was I).) Then I got bold and adventurous, and took the car option.
As I drove away from San Diego, over the next few hours I thought about a lot of things – I thought about how woefully under-prepared I was for a road trip – no CDs, no books on tape, no car charger for my phone. I thought how free I was. No bus schedules. No places I couldn’t get to. I started wondering exactly how long it would take me to drive to New York…
If I wanted water or a Gatorade, I could just stop for one. Of course there was the downside of that whole having to drive thing. You can’t change up your sitting position all the time. You can’t work on your blog, or emails, or anything else you want to work on. It was pretty and freeing for a while, but it’s also imprisoning in some ways. (Imprisoning is too strong of a word, but I wanted the opposite of freeing.) Hours of your life are just being wasted. I think a book on tape would fix that. I also enjoyed singing my face off for parts of the journey.
After driving a while on my way to Lake Havasu, I came into an area that was asking me to slow down for border patrol. Border Patrol?! Where am I? Oh goodness, did I accidentally wander upon Mexico? I know I am horrendous with directions, but really?
As I’m sitting there in a line of cars, I look at my map on my phone. Hmm, no, it doesn’t look like I’m in Mexico. I’m pretty sure I am in fact going north.
I get up to the border patrolman and say, “I didn’t accidentally start going into Mexico, did I?” He is not amused. Very seriously, he says, “Where are you going?” I answer, “The Grand Canyon.” He explains to me that border patrol is not necessarily at the border. They do random stops to make sure nothing illegal is being smuggled in. He asked if I had anything or anybody. No, of course not. Although, I was in a rental and hadn’t checked the trunk, so you never know.
I went about my merry way, barely seeing any civilization for a long stretch. I made a mental note that I had a full tank of gas going into that, so future me would need to remember to get gas while still in civilization on my way back.
I was stopped by border patrol a second time in a different spot. So much patrolling!
However, there never seemed to be any law enforcement around for long, long stretches of road throughout Arizona. People flew by me going probably 120 miles per hour. That’s not an exaggeration. Every girl for herself out there! It is crazy. It kind of made me want to go drive on an autobahn, although I can only imagine how stressful that would be.
As I survived my way through Arizona, I saw this cool sand dune place and people riding these crazy vehicles all over it. I thought about how fun that looked and how as much as I dislike driving, I like the idea of driving around America and stopping at random sites for new adventures. Mental note of possible road trip made.
In a future installment on this same driving subject, I’ll tell you about my trip back from the Grand Canyon. I may or may not have had a small adventure.