Yesterday was a rough day. Emotionally, I realized that my trip is nearing its end and I’m not quite prepared for the final days and the days that will follow. Physically, I drove for about 14 hours on very little sleep, battling a headache, and a sick stomach.
I usually try to stay in a motel only once a week and I aim to do those on Wednesday or Thursday. But extremely hot temperatures and a shortage of rest options forced me to take refuge in a motel several days early. To boot, this morning I decided to extend my stay here by a full day. I figured I would hide out in Texas for the day and use it to try to mentally prepare for what’s to come.
Day 27: Cortez, Shiprock, Route 666, Gallup, Albuquerque, Roswell, Carlsbad, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Fort Stockton
Day 28: No Travel
Brutally Long Day
Yesterday, I attempted to make about 900 miles from Cortez to Carlsbad Caverns (via Gallup and Albuquerque), and then on to Big Bend National Park. That required me to wake up early on a night when I did not sleep particularly well.
I picked up my fifth hitcher – a Navajo Indian named Gerald – at Shiprock and drove him to Gallup. And in Roswell, I had a little fun on social media with the local mythos. Beyond that, there really wasn’t much worth taking note of.
Carlsbad Caverns was a pretty big bust. I can’t can’t remember why I put it on my itinerary, but I circled the full park and saw nothing of interest. I can see why they don’t charge an entrance fee for this park. And to make things worse, I got pretty sick halfway through the park.
As I continued south, the temperature seemed to skyrocket from the low 90s into the low 100s. As I moved through western Texas, I noted that at 8pm, the temperature was holding at 102°F. I checked Fort Stockton;s forecast. It would not fall below 76°F, and not until the morning.
Moreover, there were no nearby National Forests to camp out in. The only rest stops were on I-10. I found one near Fort Stockton, fully prepared to suffer through the heat. But the rest stop was barely that. I’m not even sure why they called it a rest stop, because there was barely anywhere to park. It was clear that they designed it to discourage lingering.
Between the heat and the shit nature of the rest area, I decided that remaining there was not tenable. Moreover, the heat was forcing my A/C to work extra hard which made the truck colder and drier, and caused me to develop a headache. Frustrated, I made a last-minute booking at the nearest Motel 6.
I’ve been feeling particularly energized and pumped about the upcoming haunt season, and the fact that my accelerated trip will free me up to participate in it.
I haven’t seen the things I had hoped I would on this trip. I was hoping to find some horror-themed roadside attractions – similar to what you see in House of 1,000 Corpses. I was hoping that Black Horse Lake and [former] Route 666 would somehow be a little darker or more mysterious. Despite all that, this trip has been very inspirational. I’ve seen abject poverty, abandoned homes, ancient structures, and different types of people and personalities that I never saw in the eastern half of the United States. I’ve been looking forward – not only to going back to work in the haunt industry – but to bring my experiences and these inspirations into my future work.
Despite my enthusiasm, I am increasingly apprehensive about the next few days. I realize I mentioned this in my last blog post, but I do expect a meeting with a colleague that will likely set my immediate future. I have no guarantees about work waiting for me “back home”. Even if I do have work waiting for me, there’s no guarantee that my planned proposal will fly, or that I can parlay any of this into permanent work.
The stressful part is that this meeting could unfold several dozen ways. It’s not just “A or B” or “yes or no”. It’s so difficult to imagine how events will unfold, and therefore, difficult to imagine what I should do in terms of housing. Will I live in Green Bay? Madison? Illinois? Washington? Will I get an apartment? Will I get a trailer? What are the different problems I have to address with whatever options I end up picking? If there is no work available for me – where should I go and what other kind of work should I look for? Hell, am I even going to have the meeting I expect to have?
A million questions and exponentially more possible outcomes. I hoped that taking the day off and relaxing in the motel today would help me gain some clarity and focus.