California or Bust – 2; A Very Long Day

Waking hot, sweaty and uncomfortable, and with a crink in my neck after a few hours of fitful sleep I ate my cereal with milk I had taken with me. Then I continued on my journey at about 6 AM. I got some Cokes to keep me awake. The scenery had changed during the darkness of last night. I was now starting to drive in the high plains of sand and scrub brush. A few sporatic trees dotted the plains with hills or mesas surrounding the I-10 interstate.

I shaved, and took my pills all at 80 MPH. I had so many miles to go. I had done about 300 and had over 1500 to do. Maybe too many. I wondered if this was such a good idea, so far to go, but on I continued. I passed El Paso and remembered that Candice G, who I had worked with, grew up there. The steep craggy hills surrounded miles of flat green valley. I munched on a banana, pretzels, and crackers and drove on west to California.

The interstate passed Tucson, and Phoenix. Somewhere in that stretch I saw my gas was quite low. I started to worry. The country is so barren and wide. There are few places to stop. I kept watching my gas gauge. At the next no-name gas station I pulled off and bought $20.00 of gas using my cash. Now I could relax a bit. I was glad I had brought with me plenty of water and soda just in case. I also realized that I need to always keep my tank full – so whenever I stopped in the future I filled up regardless. I did not want to get stranded in this desolate place, this high country, this southwestern desert.

Heading through boulder strewn mountains mid-afternoon toward California I was getting tired. I stopped again at a rest stop for a coke, but did not have change and had to continue on.

It was hot out. At the next exit I stopped at a store. Stepping out of the car was like walking into a furnace. The clerk at the store matter-of-factly told me that it was 109 outside. Sheesh. I was glad to get back into my car and very glad for its excellent air conditioning. Several canals with water heading toward Los Angeles journeyed with me. Down and down from the high country I went into the coastal plan. Over six miles of downgrade with warning for trucks to test their brakes and run-outs if they failed.

Now I was in California. Its golden hills bordered the interstate. It felt and looked like California. Massive wind farms of 100 foot tall three bladed propellers came and went.

Into Los Angeles, city of highways, curving streams of cars all leaving for the Fourth of July. The traffic flowed in, out, and about, and I flowed with it. Leaving I-10 I cut across LA on the western I-210. Forty miles of tail lights, of head lights, of city and of suburb. I turned north onto I-5. Sometimes the traffic would stop, but the books on tapes helped me pass the time and the miles. Darkness had come again. I pulled off but found no where to stop. Back on again to try the next one. Still no luck at the next one. Finally I stopped at car repair place lot next to a McDonald’s. It was past midnight. I was exhausted and fell immediately to sleep. This was my push day and I had done it. Over 1000 miles and day two completed.

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