My journey west began last Saturday, when I rode with family to the Birmingham Airport. There, after saying my farewells and tripping my way through my first TSA checkpoint, What would flying be like? Kind of awesome, as it turned out.
The look on my face as we rose into the air and I watched the interstate and cars shrink in size was utter boyish glee, and it didn’t stop until I heard the shocking announcement that the jet was preparing for final descent into Dallas. I hadn’t even seen the Mississippi yet!
Dallas is an enormous airport, with a Skytrain trolley linking the six terminals. You can imagine my glee to ride an actual electric trolley! I was soon in El Paso, where I claimed my reserved rental (a Kia Rio of which I would grow increasingly fond), and then on my way.
The road from El Paso to Carlsbad concerned me more than anything, because it appeared on the map to be a hundred and sixty miles of nothing. Combing GoogleMaps, all I found was a small cafe called Cornudas, and a border patrol station. Who would traveling this empty road? Who would help if I broke down? As it turns out, as empty as this road is, it’s also a solid traffic corridor. While never busy, I always had company. Radio stations were sketchy, but fortunately I have a large repertoire of geographically appropriate songs, from “Don’t Fence Me In” to “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”. I warbled happily.
The approaching New Mexico border made me laugh, because it seemed as though whoever drew the Texas state lines had said “We’ll take as far north as the grass grows.” The seemingly-approaching desert quickly changed to plains, though, and in no time at all I was in Carlsbad.