Highway Desert

Road Trip Central

 Hi y’all!  Some of you may remember me from my road trip to California from Kentucky in my 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan last May.   This article is about my return trip back to Kentucky.  I still was traveling with my Staffordshire Spirit but I lost my babygirl Skeeter.  She made the trip back in a box though and is still with me always.  I have one of her pups now.  Her name is Beretta.   She has her mom’s sweet eyes and coloring but the resemblance ends there.  She’s a handful!  She was a bottle fed pup so she thinks she’s human.    

     Life in California wasn’t what I expected it to be.   The state itself is beautiful.   Some of the people are amazing.   The cost of living is outrageous.   I spent the last 4 months I was there living in my van with the pups.  It was definitely  an adventure.   Beretta is a precocious little pup.  She learned how to lock and unlock my van doors.  She would get mad at me and lock me out at very inconvenient times.  I have had to have friends she wasn’t “mad” at coax her into opening the doors.  Needless to say I learned to never leave my keys in the van.  Lol.   Who knows how many people wondered about my sanity, including me, as I stood outside my van begging this pup to unlock  the door and let mommy in.  Spirit just looked innocent and unconcerned.   Also she was quick at hitting the child locks to open the windows when I pulled into a parking lot.  The major defect of the van in my opinion was placing the locks on the top of the arm rests.  She truly thinks and plans to do this.  Maybe I spent too much time with them but I still think they plotted against me some days!  Lol.  Made the time bearable though.  They were real troopers and there was definitely never a dull moment.

     I got the covid variant the first of January and that sealed the deal.   I called my daughter and told her I wanted to come home.  Of course she was excited.  She had told me I was having a mid life crisis all along,  which could be true.  I put a couple tires on my van, got the fluids changed, filled up and got on the road the end of January.    The day I left the high temp reached about 70°f.  I add that so you can see the difference of a cross country trip.  I took a different route back.   I ran along US hwy 40 a good part of the way.  It replaced the historical Rt 66 that many songs and movies have been made about.  It was a beautiful trip.  I actually spent the first night at a truck stop on Rt 66.  The second day once I left the desert and got into the mountains in Arizona I saw snow for the first time in over a year.  

     Entering New Mexico has got to be one of the most gorgeous sites I have ever seen.   I just absolutely love the deserts and the rock dwellings and you can see some of those entering on I40.    I would have stopped if not for the pups.   I will go back one day and explore when I have more time and funds.  I thoroughly enjoyed the drive through the New Mexico deserts and plateaus.   

     After New Mexico I went through a corner of Texas.  Still desert and rocks.  The very northern edge.  Texas is a very large state and I just was on the northwest edge.   My imagination is really good so it’s real cowboy country.  One can almost visualize John Wayne types riding horses and shooting bad guys.  Lol.  

     My route then took me into Oklahoma onto a toll road where altogether I paid $10.00 for the privilege of driving through their fine state.  On to Missouri.  I got a speeding ticket about halfway through.  The officer was very nice and it’s a payable ticket.  😁  I’m feeling almost home by now.  Just a few hundred miles to go of my 2500 mile journey.  I get in the Ozark mountains and know I’m getting even closer to home.  The Ozarks run through the Eastern midwest much like the Rockies run through the west.  By now  mountains don’t bother me nearly as much.   

    A quick stop in Cairo Illinois for gas⁹ then I cross the Ohio river bridge into Kentucky and I’m home.  Well almost.  But close enough I’ll get there!!  Really I still had 3 hours to drive.  I got to my daughters at 11pm that night.                      

     For the most part the drive was really non- eventful.  Somewhere in Texas I think it was Beretta decided she wanted to jump across my lap while I was going 75 on the interstate.  Up until then she had been the “kid” that hangs on your should like “are we there yet?”  She got a small spanking,  got an attitude with me and was a little angel the rest of the trip.  Spirit mostly just critiqued my driving and gave me looks if I cussed at another driver or went too fast.  He’s really too human sometimes.  He learned to scratch on the dash when a “pitt-stop” for necessaries was required.   The return trip cost less than the original journey.   Partly because I didn’t add the additional stops and mostly because gas got cheaper as I got farther east.  When I woke up the first morning in Kentucky it was 12°.  Quite a shock after living in Cali for almost a year.  

     I’m settled back in Kentucky and think I’ll stay for awhile.  I may take more adventures but I’ve decided there really is no place like home.   It’s nice to not need GPS to go to the grocery store and Walmart!! 😁  Hey the ocean was amazing though!!   Maybe my next adventure will be to Maine or even Canada.  Think I’ll stick to North America for now anyway, and wait until gas prices go down some.  

     My next adventure will have to be in a different vehicle because a little over 2 weeks back home I was in an accident in my van.  It’s still drivable but needs some body work.  I kind of think I may look for something a little more sporty, like a Jeep.  I’ll fix it and keep it though.  It’s been a good dependable vehicle and I can’t complain about it at all.  Routine maintenance and  tires and I wouldn’t be afraid to go up the eastern side of the country!!  

    My adventure may or may not have turned out as expected but I saw some amazing scenery, met some wonderful people and proved you are never too old to follow your dreams.  Even if your kids think you’re crazy!!  Peace y’all!

T.D. Patterson

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