04. January 2008 · Comments Off on Random Thoughts on Interstate Highway Travel · Categories: Ain't That America?, Critters, Domestic, General, Literary Good Stuff, Memoir, Site News, Working In A Salt Mine..., World

Topmost on my list of such thoughts is – oh, god, it’s good to be home! It’s good to be able to sleep in ones own bed, to stretch out and not have cold feet, cold hands, cold-whatever-body-part-winds up pressed against the side panel of the Montero and is just a thin sheet of metal and some miscellaneous plastic bits removed from the frigid, wind-whipped New Mexico or West Texas weather.

Oh, yes, it was bloody cold out there; there was no snow to show for all that cold, but some nice patches of blowing dust and sand. The winds kicked up the day before we left Mom and Dads and made such a racket we couldn’t sleep that night anyway – and followed us all the way across three states. Nothing says “I want to go home” quite so much as vacating the area at 2 AM.

The best thing about departing in the wee hours on New Years Day – no traffic, once you finish dodging the drunks. There was one suspiciously careful driver, weaving gently down the Valley Center grade, which Blondie felt obliged to try and call 911 about – but all we got was it ringing about twenty times and then an answering machine. On 911; I guess they had their hands full. And the driver we were worried about didn’t look to be the reckless sort of drunk driver.

The “Starbuckifaction” of the coffee-drinking element has spread it’s what some would claim is an insidious influence far and wide, yea my brethren even to the truck plazas and gas stations along the interstate highway system. The Flying J/Pilot stores provide a surprisingly excellent selection of coffee… and have half-and-half on tap. Not just exclusively that ghastly powdered chalk non-dairy “cream” muck, thankyouverymuch. Extremely drinkable and for about a third of the cost of an equivalent at a Starbucks. No demerara sugar, though, but I expect that to appear by the next time I do a long, long road trip.

Oh, and speaking of coffee in the wee hours, I must pour scorn and derision upon the Carls Junior, just off the 1-8 in the eastern suburb of San Diego where we attempted to purchase some handy breakfast comestables and coffee at 4 AM. Yes, I know it was 4AM on New Years Day and the single unfortunate young person running the place was so junior as to make drawing fuzzy end of the lollipop and working that shift inevitable… but still; no breakfast items? We were told that only lunch items were available… oh, and sorry, the coffee brewer wasn’t fired up. And payment could only be made in cash. Yeah, so he wasn’t senior enough to have the keys to the debit-credit card processor or the coffee urns, but lunch items at 4 AM? Jesus jumping key-rist on a pogo stick, the whole damn reason for 24 hour fast food places is to dispense coffee!

Gas prices – not to shabby once outside California, and Blondie’s Montero got very good mileage on the highway. We filled to the top four times and came in well under budget, having allowed for gas at $3.25 a gallon when we planned the trip. Most gas stations along the interstate in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona had it within a nickel of $2.90, either way.

What to call the road-kill count – Bambi Bits? Bambicide? Whatever it is, the deer population takes a hell of a beating; that stretch of 1-10 through the Hill Country is a veritable holocaust for them. As a stratagem to keep ourselves awake and amused after coffee ceased having the required effect, we counted road kill from Mile 300 to Mile 511 in the median, on the roadway and off on the shoulder. Not counting various nasty looking smears and blots on the paving, our grand total was 49 deer, 8 raccoons or opossum, 3 skunks, 3 large birds (turkey or guinea-fowl of some sort) and 23 U-L-O-M, which is our acronym for “Unidentified Lumps ‘o Meat”. At that, we probably missed about a third as many, off-sight on the opposite side of the highway.

So – we’re home – and when I get home, the first thing I find is that Eric at Classical Values posted a lovely review of “To Truckee’s Trail” and Da Blogfaddah linked to it. With a resulting uptick in sales through Amazon. Maybe I should go away more often. Oh, never mind – provision of good bloggy ice cream will commence as soon as I finish going through my email in-box.

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