Part 1 – The Dreamcatcher
I woke up in an unfamiliar and dark room, disoriented. I got up and pushed aside the curtains and saw it was dawn. I got dressed and packed my bags, making sure the laptop was with me. As I walked over to my frost coated car the man in camouflage was also leaving. “Cold is good for the soul!” he said before getting into his vehicle. I moved briskly as I put my bags into the car and wondered if that was true or not. I’d later discover was 37 degrees. It wasn’t a temperature I was familiar with—didn’t remember too many days in the Los Angeles basin where the temperature had plummeted that close to freezing. Drove to a nearby gas station where the price was just under $2 per gallon. That was a nice change from the Golden State’s prices.
The scrub of the desert was behind me as I was now surrounded by pine forests and signs of snow! So close to the snow but there wasn’t much of it and certainly none on the road. Yesterday I had seen it atop mountains, now I was apparently in the mountains. Signs warned of Elk Crossing but I didn’t see any.
Not much longer and I’d gone through the outskirts of Flagstaff and there was the next major interstate that I’d take: 40. It ran the length of the country so it would be going even further east than me. But all I saw was the split: left was west to Los Angeles and right was east to Albuquerque. I had to go right but I sadly pushed my turn signal down and headed toward the risen sun.
It was a beautiful day for traveling and I just wanted linger in the area. Noticed a place called Meteor Crater and impulsively decided to pay it a visit. Got off the interstate and drove down a gravelly road. For a few minutes I played tourist and took pictures of the Meteor City Trading Post shaped like a dome. It was some old Route 66 roadside attraction.
But more interesting was the world’s largest dreamcatcher. Taking pictures, not having to be anywhere at a specific time, it was my last taste of freedom before returning to that place. That place I’d call Nadir. There, in front of the dreamcatcher, I saw where I had come from, the snowy mountain tops way in the distance. Beyond that a few hundred miles lay the place I missed so much already. I looked through the dreamcatcher facing west.
I left, driving slowly down the road before I had to get back onto the I-40 East. And I spent the rest of the day driving in that direction, ever eastwards. I was driving 80 miles per hour with the cruise control on and under the big blue sky surrounded by grasslands I kept on going. Me and my Mustang. I listened only to mantras because I didn’t want to hear any music. I didn’t want to deal with more memories. I just wanted to drive and snack on my 3 food groups: water, pumpkin seeds, and raisins.
Saw a semi truck going west on I-40 advertising the WWE. I remembered when it was the WWF and I actually attended a show at the Forum back in the late 1990s.
Refrained from stopping off at the Geronimo Trading post and bypassed the Petrified Forest. No more tourist attractions for me as I wanted to get to New Mexico and beyond. The lure of the road, the passing of trucks, the feel of driving and driving. Making miles disappear. Not that I was driving toward anything. Kept dealing with the feeling that I was driving away from something. I knew that I would be returning to L.A. I knew that sometime in the future I would be on this road but heading west. I kept telling myself that, instilling my belief that I would succeed in returning.