Driving Across America

Sunday, September 10, 2000

People have asked "why don't you update your web page each night?" The answer is because I like to sit on what I wrote a few days and proof read it. Each time I re-read it, I find mistakes, better ways to say something, or additional things to say. I want these entries to be interesting and entertaining as well as informative. Maintaining this web page adds to my trip but it also takes away time that could be spent doing other things.

It's Saturday 8 pm and I'm back at the Hoover Dam. I leave Nevada and return to Arizona. It was just me and the trucks for a few hours as I travel east on route 40. I passed one truck about every 5 minutes.

It's dark and I'm practically the only person on this straight flat road. The speed limit is 75 but I could be doing 105 and it would still feel like 55. My speed kept drifting up to 95 by accident. It's tempting to travel at 100 mph tonight but I'm really trying hard not to get a speeding ticket.

Saturday 10 pm I arrive at Williams, AZ, about 45 minutes from the Grand Canyon. Sunday 11 am on the road again to the Grand Canyon.

I stay in a Holiday Inn Express. The guy informs me that they serve breakfast for free in the morning from 6 am to 9 am. In the morning I get up and go to breakfast. It's self-serve and free but everything is miniature. The doughnuts are tiny. The cereal bowls hold about 5 spoon fulls. The glasses for the coffee and juice hold about 4 gulps. It's as though they are saying "Have some food, but don't eat too much."

In the lobby of the hotel was a bunch of Arizona tourist pamphlets. I just discovered the Meteor Crater they used in the movie Star Man. Luckily it's on my way to Texas so I plan on stopping there. I also found a pamphlet on Arcosanti, which I had already planned to go see. Finally, I found another pamphlet for Biosphere 2. That's also on my way to Texas! Yay!

If I keep this up, it'll take me 6 months to do this road trip. I didn't realize there were so many things in Arizona I'd want to go see.

It has been tough trying to keep all of my batteries charged. My laptop, cel-phone and camera batteries keep dying because I use them so much.

Coincident of the Day: I have WinAmp playing MP3's on my truck stereo. It's randomly selecting songs from the 20 albums I converted. Once in a great while I'll hear two songs from the same album back to back. Last night I heard 3 Cure songs in a row.

Lyrics of the Day:

Waiting for the winds of change to sweep the clouds away
Waiting for the rainbows edge to cast its gold your way
Countless ways you pass the days
Waiting for someone to come and turn your world around
Looking for an answer to the question you have found
Looking for an open door

Well, you don't get something for nothing
You can't have freedom for free
You won't get wise with the sleep still in your eye
No matter what your dream might be

What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story
In your head is the answer
Let it guide you along
Let your heart be the anchor and the beat of your song

Rush - off the B-Side of the album 2112

Here is my rational for eating fast food on the road. It saves time and don't have to leave car or lug laptop and camera with me.

Seeing all of this empty land makes me wonder what percentage of the United States and Earth is being used by humans. My guess is that its less than 50%, way less. Humans tend to gather near cities it seems. This used to be true because the city is where the good jobs where. I wonder if the Internet will change that and cause people to spread out more.

Its funny what us tourists find interesting. On my way to the Grand Canyon, I pass a row of of about 30 mailboxes. There were tourists stopped and taking pictures of them. I grew in up NJ and was used to seeing colonial houses. I thought it was the strangest thing when my aunt from the west coast came to visit and she kept pulling over to take pictures of these colonial houses. It was a big deal to her but not to me. The locals look at you like you're weird when you behave this way. They were looking at me strangely when I was taking this picture of this wall of cigarettes and alchohol in a local convenience you store in California.

It was a cool day today. It was only 85 in my truck.

Each time I stop by one of the places claiming to have Arizona Tourist Info, I find that they only have a small subset of all of the brochures available. So as you browse more and more of these, you see pamphlets you never saw before. Don't you think it would be smarter for all locations to have all pamphlets? That way a tourist wouldn't miss anything!

When you're a local, everything seems 2 minutes away or 2 miles away. For a non-local, everything seems further. I was told that the heliport was 2 minutes away but it felt like it took me 10 minutes to get there.

The longer you live somewhere, the close everything gets. When we moved to Holmdel, I discovered a back road on my BMX bike. I lead my dad down this road as a shortcut to church one Sunday morning. He complained the whole way saying there were too many turns and too many hills. It wasn't long before that route became the desired route when heading to church. Once my dad drove that route a few times, it became shorter and he realized it was 1/3 the distance so the slow speed didn't matter. You still got there in less time.

My short trip odometer (the one that only goes to 999) was at 666 when I glanced down at it today. That's actually 2666 total miles on this trip. I reset it before I left and haven't touched it since. I just count how many times it rolls over.

I got to see the Grand Canyon, one of the 7 wonders of the world. That thing us HUGE! The main river that flows thru the Grand Canyon has been tamed by Dams. It got me wondering ... is it bad to tame the earth? Is it natural for the earth to break it self down so that it can build itself up? Maybe this is a bad analogy, but when you lift weights, you break down your muscle, so that it can build back up again and you get stronger. If you didn't use your muscles or only used them a little, they would atrophy.

I remember a comic book called Magnus Robot Fighter 4000, which Earth had learned how to control the Weather. I'm wondering if that's a good thing or not. Maybe the Earth needs to destroy and rebuild itself. If we ever learn to control nature's destructive forces like weather, earthquakes, fires, then maybe something bad we don't understand will happen. It might be like the Earth's equivalent of atrophy.

The computer in the movie The Matrix, said that humans are more like a virus than mammals. He said we multiply and destroy. As far as the universe is concerned, this is not a bad thing. The universe knows nothing about good or bad, clean or polluted. It just is. The universe is a violent place where stars go super-nova galaxies collide. Since humans were created by the universe, it must be natural for beings like us to destroy a planet. As far as the universe is concerned, destruction is a natural process.

I didn't spend much time at the Grand Canyon. I paid $20 to get into the park. I spent about 15 minutes at the first overlook and realized that I could spend weeks here. I decided to take a helicopter tour and return to the Grand Canyon someday with the intention of staying here for a week or two where I could hike, camp and shoot the rapids.

The helicopter ride was amazing! Here are some pictures for you viewing pleasure:

Next I visited the Meteor Crater. It was featured in the movie in Star Man. Its web page is http://www.meteorcrater.com. Here are some pictures of the Meteor Crater.

Each night I see the most amazing sunsets. At night, when I'm out away from the city, I can see billions of stars. I think the most beautiful things on this Earth are: sunsets, clouds, mountains and stars

Songs of the day:

  • Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away
  • Chemical Brothers - Leave Home
  • Chemical Brothers - Chico's Grove
  • Midnight Oil - Common Ground
  • The Cure - The Kiss
  • Midnight Oil - Barest Degree
  • Paul McCartney - Live and Let die

I play MP3's off my laptop through my truck stereo and I play them randomly. Yesterday WinAmp played 3 Cure songs in a row. Today it played 4 Cake songs in a row. Remember, this is supposed to be random. I like mentioning strange things like this.

It's strange how I can't stomach certain music one week, but I can't get enough of it the next. This happened with Bjork. I hated her last week, but this week I love her.

I've been buying the cheapest gas but it has had a performance hit on my truck. It has a lot more trouble climbing hills. I have to go into a lower gear to maintain the speed limit. This causes me to burn more gas so I'm wondering if its worth it.

Half of the time I stop at a Motel, they ask me if I'm a truck driver. The truck drivers have been known to cause trouble. Do I look like a truck driver?

I've seen signs that say Watch for Animals, Elk, Deer, Goats, Cattle. I suspect once I get to Texas, I'll be seeing "Watch for Armadillos" signs.

Today was very windy and my truck behaves a lot like a sail, so I'm getting tossed around. One side-gust moved my truck over 2 feet! I wouldn't call that a close-call since I was in full-control and there was nobody near me. I think its been a few days without any close-calls. I was averaging one per day for a while there.

Ok, I did have one close call. I almost hit a jack-rabbit when leaving the crater.

I learned from the locals that parts of Forest Gump will filmed in Flag Staff, AZ, parts of Fatherhood were filmed near Four Corners, AZ and parts of Tombstone were filmed near Phoenix, AZ. Parts of Starman were filmed at the meteor crater like I mentioned and most of the movie Biodome (with Pauly) was filmed in Biosphere 2, which I'm going to see tomorrow.

I like checking out the local radio stations and I found this one near Flagstaff that has extreme an variety of music ranging from 50's to today. Slim Shady follows Bowie, which follows Thompson Twins, which follows Whitney Houston, which follows Beck, which follows NSync, which follows Limp Bizkit, which follows Willy Nelson, which follows Elvis, which follows Terrance Darby. That's totally nuts, but I liked it.

Idiot Driver of the day: Tail gated with me high-beams on so I changed lanes to let him by, then he repeated this for the next car, then the next, then the next. He wasn't getting far very quickly. He was simply being annoying.

I'm getting used to driving a lot. My driving muscles are getting well honed to sitting for long hours.

I drove to Arcosanti and stayed at a cheap motel. It had a small TV with 5 channels and bad reception, no TV remote, the toilet ran, no ice or vending machine, no gym ... but it's only $30 per night! I appear to be the only one staying here tonight out of the 15 rooms. Bates Hotel comes to mind. The person who runs the place lives here. I woke her up when I pulled up and she greeted me in her nightgown. The sign at the front desk said "You will be charged for any distroyed items in room and charges will be brought against you." I did not mis-spelling destroyed ... they did.

When I visited Arcosanti the next day, I learned that I could have stayed there. That would have been cool. The deluxe suite only cost $75 per night! Not bad.

The 7-day forcast is 100+ each day and it's supposed to be humid.

Date Created September 15, 2000
Last Updated April 12, 2006
Contact: patcoston@gmail.com