Wednesday, December 21, 2011

King of the Road


Welcome to Arkansas.


It is full of natural beauty.


It is full of sunshine.


Mostly, however, it is full of pornography.

And, now that I've pissed off everyone in the state of Arkansas...


That's right--we'll be going from east to west across the United States, or at least across the parts of it that I remembered to turn my camera on for! LET'S GET GOING.


You know, I've passed this building at least three times now while crossing the country and I still have no idea what it is. I guess I could run a Google search for "weird pyramid in Memphis," if I really wanted to know, but that would spoil the mystery of its existence for me. I think I'll just continue to pretend that they built it for the express purpose of confusing tourists. (OH WAIT THE MYSTERY IS RUINED NOW. THANKS FOR THE SPOILER, ISAAC, I HATE YOU FOREVER.)


I don't care how much energy these things produce, THEY WILL NEVER NOT BE CREEPY. Especially when an army of them appears out of nowhere at dusk.


In the middle of Oklahoma.

Seriously, think about it for a minute. There you are, staring at mile after mile of flat, unchanging landscape and wondering when you'll hit a Panda Express, when BAM--windmills show up to ruin everything.


And then you pull off at some dustmote of a town for a bite to eat and learn that the only amenities it has are a Sonic, a rather dangerous-looking autobody shop, and a Freemason lodge. They do have chapters everywhere, apparently.


And then there's that awkward moment when you realize that you're in Texas and that Texas is boring and huge and takes forever to cross and that you are going to be stuck in it for the next century or so.


But, hey, it's all right! Because where else can you find water towers that have given up on life?


Or crosses the size of Striders?


Or the "Jesus Christ Is Lord, Not A Swear Word" travel center?


OR MORE DAMN WINDMILLS, aside from, you know, everywhere else in the continental US.


It did take a literal century to get through Texas, by the way. You may be skeptical, but it's true! I got caught in a time paradox and emerged, withered and elderly, at the other end of the state. The splotches all over this picture aren't bird shit on the windshield; they are my tears of relief spilling over the camera lens.


I don't even know what this thing is, but I saw it around rather a lot. By "rather a lot" I mean "I seem to recall seeing it here and there all the way to California." The road is truly a mysterious place.


Anyway, it's time for gratuitous landscapes! This is a little mountain.


This is a stretch of land nearly as flat as Oklahoma. I hope that it adequately conveys the tedium I felt staring at it for hours on end.


This is a truck that says "Tex" on the back for some reason. Perhaps it is the name of the freight company? WHO KNOWS! Also there is some freeway and what looks like a Jeep and an SUV and some hills or something.


This is another little mountain.


This is a third little mountain! New Mexico is exciting, don't you agree? But I haven't gotten to the best part yet!


This is a pile of rocks with a cross on the top! This cross is a bit smaller than a Strider, though.


This is the first picture I took in Arizona. It is a mountain. Well, perhaps it's more of a mesa. A red one!


This is a...canyon thing? At any rate, it's two rock formations! In the same picture! Hooray!


I really, really like taking pictures of rock formations. Can you tell?


Heiter? Is that you up there in the front cab?


Oh, look, another rock formation. I've certainly never photographed one of these before!


This appears to be a mini-fridge wedged inside a bunch of rocks. Don't ask. I don't know either.


Closing in on Flagstaff. Hmm. That's a lot of clouds...






Turns out there was a blizzard the night before.


And let me tell you, snow in the desert is so flipping awesome that I forgot how much I hate it and snapped picture...


After picture...


After picture.


Then I snapped more pictures for good measure.


Then this trucker came barreling down the mountain and tailgated the car for an uncomfortably long period of time. UM, MISTER TRUCKER, I KNOW THE ROADS ARE SLIPPERY BUT COULD YOU GIVE OTHER MOTORISTS SOME PERSONAL SPACE PLZ? THX.

But really it was terrible. His brakes were not holding up well at all and I thought that he was going to bring everyone in front of him into a snowdrift.


Happily, he did not and I went back to picture-snapping.


The juxtaposition between snow and brown dead grass was endlessly fascinating to me.


After the snow vanished I just took pictures of the brown dead grass.


I also took pictures of whatever this is.


The snow returned briefly and I celebrated and then wondered why I was celebrating, as I do hate snow. I suppose I find it more agreeable when it is something to be driven through, admired, and then left behind forever.


Kingman. It is home to fabulous mountain views and some pretty good food!


The dog didn't care about that, of course. She just wanted to stretch her legs and make the humans in her life miserable. (It was freezing. Like, fifty degrees. And windy! And she wouldn't go to the bathroom even though it had been hours since her last pee break!)


What do you mean, I take too many pictures of rocks? Surely you jest.




Hey, these are the first palms I've seen in months! GOD BLESS CALIFORNIA, LAND OF EXCESSIVELY THOROUGH IRRIGATION.



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