Miles Traveled: 593; Current Location: Roswell, NM

Initially as I was traveling today, I thought that I would begin tonight’s post by explaining that I had begun to see some “eclectic” people on my journey. I’m going to rephrase that. I have begun to see some amazingly awesome people on my journey. I have begun to see just how incredibly wonderful America and those people who live here really can be. Of course, I received the great benefit of this illustration as a direct result of my truly alarming stupidity.

I had been driving for about five hours prior to the “incident.” In that five hours, I experienced one of my favorite drives that I’ve ever taken. Leaving the Grand Canyon and heading back to I-40 to make my way to New Mexico, I went through the Coconino National Forest, which highlighted some of the most beautiful fields and open spaces that I’ve ever seen. I know some will say, “a field is a field,” but after spending years only seeing land on television, I have developed a great fondness (or obsession, depending on who you talk to) for it.

The drive through Coconino took me to Flagstaff which appears to be a very nice place, and then to I-40. After a few miles on I-40, I started to see signs for Meteor Crater, the “world’s best preserved meteorite impact site.” I wanted to see Meteor Crater, but it turned out to be several miles from the interstate, and I knew I still had a long drive ahead. Plus, I of course realized it would be difficult to top Bedrock City, and I was afraid of having set the bar too high. Instead, I settled on seeing Meteor gas station (pictured below) and continuing on my way.

I did take the time to detour through Winslow, AZ to see some of the “preserved sections of Historic Route 66.” I use quotes there because the parts of Winslow that were historic were in no way “preserved,” and the parts of Winslow that appeared to be in slightly better shape, like the Dairy Queen and Sonic, didn’t jump out at me as being particularly “historic.” Either way, I do appreciate all of the people that live in these towns throughout America, and I also think that it’s important to take note of the dilapidation and poverty that does exist here. Throughout my time in both Arizona and New Mexico (and of course this also stretches to places that I have not seen and obviously does not include the entire gigantic states of Arizona and New Mexico), I saw several “towns” that were totally abandoned – and not in the cool “The Brady Bunch visits a ghost town,” kind of way, more like “hard times have fallen here.”

Of course, this observation leads into my brush with morphing into a complete jackass. At about 12:45, I realized that it was lunch time. In the entertainment industry in Los Angeles everybody uniformly eats lunch at 1:00, and I’m still struggling with the idea that lunch could be taken at a different hour. I’m hoping that my post on at least Day 14 starts with me eating lunch at 1:30, or 12, or maybe I’ll go absolutely buck wild and skip lunch that day. Who knows, only time can say. Anyway, I saw a sign for a Dairy Queen/gas station combo which sounded good enough for me, so I exited and parked next to a fuel pump, right outside of the doors to the Dairy Queen. With all due respect, the crowd looked rough. I didn’t necessarily fear for my safety, but I did wonder if there had been some kind of ban on mirrors that hadn’t reached the coasts yet. I hate myself for saying that, especially as someone who has always whole-heartedly championed for the interior, but in this particular case, I realized that truly reaching the point of non-judgment is easier to say than to actually… well, reach.

After what happened next, I know that the Spirit of America had been privy to my thoughts and concerns regarding her people and was determined to prove me wrong. I went into the Dairy Queen and found myself to be openly irritated by the excessive wait for my classic cheeseburger. It’s been difficult for me to accept that I’m not in a rush on this trip, and that I don’t have to “be on time.” I tried to be as polite as possible, but I couldn’t help eloquently voicing the fact that “this is, like, taking forever.” The girl behind the counter was sympathetic to my plight and hurried my cheeseburger along. I quickly exited the mart, and when I saw what was ahead of me, suddenly the wait time flurried right out of my mind.

I had left my passenger side window wide open. Rolled completely down. Huge gaping hole on the side of my two-door car leaving only a person’s conscience to stop them from taking everything I was carting along with me. To top it all off, I had my camera and ipod along with a purse in the center console, in plain view. There was a camcorder, luggage, a $200 blanket that someone had regifted me, and nothing was gone. No one, in the 20 minutes that I spent sighing about my cheeseburger, had touched any of it. If I’m going to be very philosophical here, I guess it’s like if you pick up reading material off of a shelf and you see that the front is just a plain or murky green, so you assume that the story is equally bland and toss it to the side without giving it a chance… yeah, i had looked at everyone around me like that…now if only I could figure out how to say that more concisely… Moral of the story: I love New Mexico, and I love everyone here. I’m here for another day and a half so things can still go downhill, but so far, everyone who I’ve encountered both in Arizona and New Mexico has been exceptionally polite and well-mannered… and none of them have stolen from me – even when I deserved it.

Oh and in other great news to report, I got the hat! And yes, I’m completely aware of how ridiculous I look in it.

Now I’m in the market for reasonably priced moccasins….

Tomorrow is Alien City, and if you enjoyed Bedrock City as much as I did, I think we’re in for a treat! Thanks for reading about my trip!