|Las Cruces, New Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I've lost track of the number of times my wife and I have made the long drive from Los Angeles to Houston. Since our daughter moved to Houston several years ago we've made the run many times. We've got it down to a schedule for the most part.
On the day that this blog article posts we will be undertaking the first leg of our journey. We'll shoot for a departure of between 5 to 6 AM. After grabbing a to go breakfast from McDonald's (it's across the street from where we live), we'll hit the road. The destination for the first day will be Las Cruces, NM. This is almost precisely the halfway point between L.A. and Houston and makes for a fairly comfortable twelve hour day including a stop for lunch and a few gas stops.
The western portion of I-10 traverses hundreds of miles of mostly desert. From Palm Springs to the Arizona border we'll be crossing the empty expanse of the Mojave Desert. Not much here other than empty space. Not bad to look at, but not a place you'd want to break down in the middle of a hot summer day. We'll try to make it to Arizona before 11 AM.
Lunch will be on the southeast side of Phoenix. It was after several trips that we discovered that Chandler Blvd. was a good place to find restaurants. We've now honed our usual choices between a couple of barbecue restaurants--Rudy's and Can't Stop Smokin'. We alternate between these two most of the time. Since there are no really good barbecue restaurants near where we live, eating at these is a treat for us.
After a satisfying lunch break we hit the road again. Passing through Tucson is not my favorite part of this trip, but once on the other side of that city we know we've got lots more open road ahead with maybe one more gas stop. We'll pass though towns like Benson and Wilcox. There's one mountain stretch that passes through a wild array of rock formations. Or how about the tourist trap gas station/Dairy Queen that for miles advertises "The Thing?" We've never stopped for that one, but I've been tempted. My wife says, "Keep going" and I know she's right.
Shortly past the eastern Arizona border we pass the odd little ghost town of Stein's. It looks like an interesting place to visit in it's scenic setting, but I never want to take the time. Someday I'll pull off to see what's there, but not today. We've got a couple more hours and if we're on schedule it's now about 5 PM. No rush hour to worry about out here, but dinner and our motel room are beckoning us.
The Springhill Suites has become like home to us we've stayed here so many times. Before we get our room we'll stop first to have a light dinner at Applebee's. My wife will probably have a frozen margarita while I'll cool off and relax with a tall schooner of draft beer.
In the room I'll grab my laptop to check on emails and this blog to see if I got any comments. So if you read this post be sure to comment so I see it. Once I'm wound down after a long day's drive, it's hopefully a good night's sleep before another early start and another twelve hour day to our Houston destination.
Road trips are fun. I've got a lot of road time to put in over the next few weeks. Maybe I should think about selling our house and living on the road in an RV. Might not be too bad of a life.
Have you considered giving up the settled life for a life on the road? Do you enjoy traveling through the desert? Do you have a special place like a lodging or restaurant that you visit every time you pass through a certain town?