Day 6: A Short Day

I’m up, but tired. 

I start my day interviewing my neighboring camp mates. No they didn’t hear anything last night. No they didn’t come down to check on me.

But the creeper will not ruin my day or my trip. I set out to explore Collosal Cave Moubtain Park.  I am to see a roadrunner. 

I see some sort of orange ringtail critter.

A deer. 

Lots of birds. 

No roadrunner.

I took pictures of these with my regular camera. Once I get back to civilization I will update this post with the photos. (I’ve typed all these blogs from my phone!)

I’m off to Saguara National. This is an unplanned excursion, but it’s only 10 miles away.  And it is so worth it. I drive the 8 mile loop taking pictures of the desert.  

    
    
 There is a cactus forest. I never thought of cacti all together as being a forest.  But they are as big as a tree and birds do build nests in them. 

I look at the time and gauge how long it will take me to arrive at my planned camping destination. And I realize, I’m just to tired. 

I choose a site only 3 hours away, call for a reservation and I’m on my way. 

The roadside views are breathtaking

And the camp is beautiful.  

 I’m sitting by my fire. The stars are brilliant in the night sky. There are two families and bunches of kids on either side of me. And you know what?  I don’t mind their noisy kid sounds one bit!  

Day 3: The problem with boredom 

I would make the absolute worst long distance truck driver on the planet!  You see, I don’t seem to last more than 2 hours before I need to get out of the car, if only for a minute. And it was this propensity to boredom that led to the story that follows. 

  After San Antonio, Texas I-10 is an never ending stretch of high desert landscape scattered with prickly pear cactus,  colorful flowers, shrubs and low growing trees. Mesas rise up toward the endless blue sky, providing an array of tabletops for the gods. It really is beautiful country.  On occasion, herds of cows graze on the dry grasses. A wind farm stretches across a row of mesas. Oil pumps bob slowly up and down. And I love it! Its exciting and breathtakingly beautiful.   

 But after oh, 300 or so miles I begin to crave a change of scenery, even if only for a moment. So when I spot a sign for an historical fort, I flip my blinker on and off I go. 

My car winds along the deserted road as I search for another sign. Miles clicked by. Rocky gives up on the adventure and curls up in his seat, sound asleep. 

 Still, there is no sign of the fort.  I spot a section on the side of the road large enough for me to pull into. With the car in park, I take out my phone to google the fort. Rocky doesn’t even lift his head. 

My door flies open. Strong hands grasp my shoulder and rip me from my seat. 

I kick and twist. I can’t break free. 

Behind me I here a sound. A howling canine screech. I glimpse a flash of brown and black fur fly past me. 

The iron grip releases and I leap away.  

 My attacker screams. His arms flail trying to free himself from the Yorkshire terrier attached to his neck.  Rocky’s jaw is clamped shut, his body swings outward as the man spins. His hands close around Rocky. He rips the dog from his neck and flings him out into the road. The  little body sails through the air and lands with a sickening thump. 

Blood pumps from the gaping hole  man’s neck and my hands reach to apply pressure.  But the instinct to survive overtakes my training as a nurse and I step back. 

I watch him fall. I watch his blood seep into the dry thirsty earth. My eyes never leave him as I go and scoop up Rocky. He barks and a piece of flesh falls from his mouth. I let out the long breath that I hadn’t realized I was holding as I cradle my pup and climb into my car.

The light fades from the man’s eyes. I press a 9 and a 1 on my phone and then stop.

 The police will take hours. 

I have a campsite waiting for me. 

I turn the key and the engine comes alive.  As I drive back down the lonely winding road,  a shadow crosses my path. And then another. I look up. The vultures are circling. 

Just kidding. 

That was true right up until the man. 

But I’m on my third murder mystery by Nevada Barr set in National parks and maybe my inagination got away from me!  

Here’s a few photos from my real day which included, barbecue for breakfast, cactus love from Texas on a nature walk at a rest area, a giant roadrunner and a perfect end to my day watching the sun set from my campground. I sure do love Texas! 

     
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Memories of a Road Trip

Trip Checklistroad trip2

  • Take car to mechanic
  • Snacks
  • Clothes
  • Extra copies of Troubled Spirits
  • Kindle
  • Books
  • Papers for Work
  • Toiletries
  • Dog food
  • Disposable urine bag

Today’s the day. My car is in tip-top shape and everything on my list is tucked away. I’m ready to begin my trek to the Carolinas!

Are you wondering about that last item? Well, there’s a story behind that…

I like to drive at night. Thanks to years of working the night shift, staying awake isn’t a problem. But boredom is. And when I get bored, I drink lots of water.

On my last trip to the Carolinas I left at 11 PM determined to make it across the George Washington Bridge before 5 AM. The roads were clear and I was on track to meet my goal, and then….I missed an exit.

By the time I got back on course, my timeline was in jeopardy.

Which is why I sailed past the next rest area, ignoring the gentle nudge from my bladder.

By the time I was inching my way across the George Washington Bridge, my bladder was ranting.

photo credit: Justin Kearns
photo credit: Justin Kearns

And when I reached the other side of the Hudson River, my bladder was in tantrum mode.

Desperate to appease my ballistic bladder, I searched for a restaurant, gas station–anything.  I found nothing.

And then I spotted it!  A tiny store on a little road running parallel to 95. I was saved! I steered onto the exit and onto a ONE WAY ROAD going the opposite direction from the little store.

“Don’t panic,” I told myself.  Waves of heat rolled through my body. Beads of sweat covered my forehead. My bladder forced me to keep going.

I tried to ignore the fact that I hadn’t seen one business–not one.  I saw a sign that said ‘Central Park Avenue’ (or something to that effect). I couldn’t tell  for sure, because I was so distracted by the demands of my bladder that I could barely focus. A little voice inside my head whispered, “You shouldn’t be here.”

Dilapidated buildings filled the streets before me and common sense over-rode my bladder.

I turned the car around.

My bladder screamed.

I pulled over. No one was in sight.

My eyes fell on the object responsible for my distressed bladder–the insulated water cup…


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As I embark on this journey I endeavor to drink sparingly and listen closely to my bladder so that I will not be forced to use the last item on my list (even though it was gifted to me by the truest of friends).

photo credit: Garrick Ridlon