When we heard that there was a storm system moving through the southwest, we laughed pretty hard, being the hearty midwesterners we are. But now, after driving a steady 33 miles per hour on a highway with a speed limit of 75, we aren’t laughing so much at the weather as we are at ourselves. Armed with only sour gummy worms and Swedish fish, we, the dwellers of our faithful Prius, dubbed LUTHER2, continue our perilous trek through Texas.
12:04 PM. Situation has progressed. While traction remains constant in our vehicle, the radio reception does not. Mollie has undertaken the heroic task of manning the console, scanning religiously through the southern airwaves. A smile ghosts across her face as she stumbles upon a consistent station. The smile disappears and is replaced by a single tear as she discovers it is yet another “commercial free country-western jam station”. The car is consumed once again by static.
12:08 PM. “Holy cow” Peter whispers. Holy cow, indeed, Peter. A whole farm of them. We smell them before we see them. Approximately 50 miles before, when we crossed the state line. Cows smell. Texas smells like cows. Static.
12:11 PM. Mollie finds a radio station that does not give the name of the song on the console’s radio display, instead proclaiming “CAN YOU GUESS THE NAME OF THIS SONG?” We guess correctly both Adele’s 2011 smash hit “Rolling in the Deep” and Queen’s long-time classic “Somebody to Love.” We come to a group consensus that we can indeed GUESS THE NAME OF THIS SONG and change the station, having felt that we had adequately satisfied the challenge.
12:19 PM. Excitement fills the car as we discover that the road is in fact originally regular asphalt, a popular choice for road construction in the Midwest, and not permanently covered in snow! We rejoice in finding common ground in this strange place. The car accelerates to an awe-inducing 40 miles per hour, but then falls back to 33 as the asphalt disappears once again.
12:29 PM. LUTHER1 calls us on our walkie-talkie, informing us that we will stop for lunch at the next town. We then pass a sign proclaiming “no services for 75 miles.” Our stomachs form a chorus unparalleled even by Nordic Choir, probably.
12:48 PM. After crossing a one-lane bridge, we find ourselves a clear stretch of road and reach an astounding speed of 50 miles per hour. Lady Gaga cheers us on from the radio. The lines on the road are appearing slowly, and the sun is coming dangerously close to breaking through the clouds and shattering the frozen wasteland image with which Texas is trying to fool us.
12:06 PM (mountain time). The sun has suddenly broken free of the clouds and shines down upon our caravan as we cross the border into New Mexico, proclaimed the Land of Enchantment by the welcome sign. Enchantment is right, as all the snow has suddenly disappeared off the roads as we finally, after all this time, hit the speed limit and drive into the desert.
6:46 PM (mountain time). We have arrived safely at our dormitories, welcomed by lovely people and some really funky quilts. Tomorrow we begin our adventure touring Gallup!