This was the stretch of the trip that one that separated the men from the boys. Going in, we knew it was going to be a long, viscous stretch of nothingness, but compounding factors made the baron landscape even more unsightly.
The day started off with my 4 year old nephew’s t-ball game. Well, it’s hard to really call it a t-ball game. It was more of bunch of kids running around a grassy field with gloves while one of them attempts hit a ball from a tee. To help manage the madness, the respective parents of each kid stood by them in the field. My little nephew, though, asked for me to relieve his dad mid way through. I obliged and found myself teaching the ready position to my nephew in a swarm of parents and munchkins. My nephew did such a good job of being ready, he got to 3 balls in a row before anyone else did. The coach had to finally say that someone else had to get a turn fielding. ‘At a boy.
From there, things went downhill pretty quickly. The first roadside carcass we saw was a skunk, and I should have taken it as the omen it was. It fact, most of the roadkill on the trip reeked nastiness as we passed.
It wasn’t long after this the dreaded check engine light reappeared. It wasn’t me this time, but regardless, blame was immediately assessed to me. My girlfriend then picked this opportunity to tell me nicely that she had a full fledged case of PMS.
Only 600 miles to go.
We stopped for lunch at Wendy’s against my wishes. I wanted A&W across the street, but decided to forgo that battle. Instead, I ate one of the worst grilled chicken sandwiches of all time. It had way too much of whatever disgusting sauce they put on it and was void of the tomatoes it showed in the picture. It was also apparently laced with barb wire as it completely ripped my stomach apart. It actually made us stop at the very next exit on the interstate. And the one after that.
I thought to myself, “Maybe the world is going to end today, after all.”
After reconsulting the car expert that is her father, we were fairly assured we could make it to Albuquerque without the engine blowing up. After failing to figure out how to spike my girlfriend’s Diet Coke with Midol, I tried to coerce her to go to sleep. That would at least give me less time experiencing the symptoms of secondhand PMS. She was finally able to nod off as I kept radio loud enough to hear, but soft enough to not wake her up.
After two separate 30 minute power naps, she seemed relatively back to normal. It didn’t decrease the miles between us and New Mexico, though. We resorted to going through her old school CDs she made in high school from MP3s she downloaded from Napster to pass the time. Did you know Jennifer Love Hewitt had a hit single?
We had two wineries bookmarked during this stretch, but we told them both to kiss our ass when we passed them.
The restaurant we chose in Albuquerque was the “best New Mexican food in New Mexico.” New Mexican food is just more expensive Mexican food. Spicier too. In fact, my carne adovada burrito was too spicy for me to eat more than a couple bites. I filled up on chips and guacamole. Oh, and it turns out the difference between a House Margarita and a Traditional Margarita is absolutely nothing but $4. There’s no telling how expensive the Regular Margarita was.
Our hotel was a much needed sight for sore eyes. We had booked a standard room and as we rode up the elevator, I dreamed of jumping headfirst into the sea of hotels blankets and pillows. But as we opened the door, it appeared someone had gotten there first. Literally. Random luggage, clothes, and makeup littered the entire room. Luckily, they weren’t in the room at the time as that would have been an extremely awkward interchange. So back down to the lobby we went.
Then came the rainbow at the end of the storm. The hotel receptionist was sincerely apologetic and since there were no more standard rooms available, asked if it would be okay if we got switched to the King Executive Suite. We agreed.
This place was decked out in modern furniture and decoration. There were two huge rooms, each with a big screen TVs mounted to the wall. They had robes and sandals laid out for us as well as a stocked mini bar.
One more leg to of the road trip to go, but I wasn’t going to worry about that until the morning.
Miles: 655.1 (total: 2153.7)
Time: 10 hours, 10 minutes (total: 38 hours, 45 minutes)
Money spent on gas: $69.94 (total: $246)
State License Plates: 4 (total: 34)
Cracker Barrels: 2 (total: 25)
Roadside Carcasses: 17 (total: 66)