When I have a day off and nothing on the schedule, I like to get in the car, grab some snacks, turn on some 70s lite rock on the radio, and make my way down one of those lonesome desert highways that seem to lead to nowhere.
I’ve never liked it when people say there isn’t anything to see out in these places. Those same people make it down to our neck of the desert to do nothing but see things. The open skies, the majestic mountains, the wildlife, and the places that seem forgotten to time.
Those are the places I like the most. One of the best things about living in the Southwest is driving with no plan, no schedule, and no time frame. You just keep going until what you see forces you to stop.
Like those gas stations with little convenience stores that try to sell more than just gas and soda because they know this is the last stop for a good while. If you need bathroom supplies, canned beans, flashlights, or homemade burritos, they got it.
Sometimes there is only one gas pump and if you need to use the restroom, you can go inside and ask for the key which comes with an enormous key chain in the shape of a backscratcher or a metal circle that feels as big as a hula-hoop.
The old man behind the register is always happy to see you because he hasn’t seen anyone in a few hours. If you have a question on what comes next, his answer always comes with directions and an unforgettable story.
Dotted along the highway are those historical markers that seemingly no one stops to read. Maybe they prevent you from where you are going or add too much time to your traveling, but when you have nowhere to go and no time frame, stopping to read those markers is always a good thing.
They tell stories of the people and places that used to be where you are standing even if when you look around there is not much standing around you. Just looking out into the open desert, your mind fills up with the happenings of the colorful characters that you learn about by reading the markers. It makes living in this region all the more special.