MAY 19, 1996: SUNDAY


Scheduled trip: Roswell, NM - Flagstaff, AZ
Actual trip: Roswell, NM - Flagstaff, AZ (565 miles)

Desert driving
We started the day at Wal-Mart where we had breakfast and 36 cans of soda, just to be on the safe side. It's not a whole lot of fun running out of drinks when you're driving in the desert. Most of the cans were put into the cooler in the Mustang while a small supply went into the Chevy. Manuel and Niels switched places.

Roswell is probably best known for the alleged UFO crash of 1947. The town boasted at least two museums dedicated to this event, one of which was our next place of sightseeing. A map of the town was purchased at a gas station and after some effort we found the museum. Unfortunately it was closed on Sundays so we didn't hang around for long.

We went west on Highway 380 and passed the off-limit White Sands Missile Range. No activity whatsoever could be detected from the road. The landscape was quite arid. A few scattered trees could be seen but otherwise the vegetation mostly consisted of bushes and dry grass.

After crossing the Rio Grande, Marco and Niels in the Mustang lead the way as we approached the north/southbound I-25. Dave was giving instructions over the CB. Nonetheless the leading car missed the ramp and was forced to go south instead of north. Much profanity cluttered the radio waves in the next few minutes. This was the first and only time tempers really flared on the trip. Some 10 miles in the wrong direction had to be traveled before we got a chance to make a spontaneous U-turn.

Going in the right direction once again everybody settled down. In the Mustang conversation died down. Niels got a monster of a headache possibly caused by draft in the car the day before.

The speed limit was a pleasant 75-mph so both cars rocketed towards Albuquerque, sometimes faster than the speedometers could measure (they stopped at 85 mph). Once again we rejoined I-40 and continued towards California.

We passed through a corner of a Navajo Indian Reservation in the afternoon, crossed the Arizona State line, and decided to check out the Petrified Forest National Park. For some reason it was closed too.

Late in the afternoon we reached Flagstaff, booked a room in a high-rise motel complex, and went out for some grub. Mostly we just rented a single room with two beds so every other night you had to bunk on the floor. Usually a motel bed is made up of several sheets and blankets. Therefore it is possible to build a rather comfortable 'nest' on the floor. During our days on the road nobody ever complained about flooring it. Ordinarily we were so bushed that we could have slept anywhere.

<<May 18, 1996<<


Day 00: Prelude
Day 01: Leaving NC
Day 02: Tupelo, MS
Day 03: Henryetta, OH
Day 04: Roswell, NM
Day 05: Flagstaff, AZ
Day 06: Las Vegas, NV
Day 07: Victorville, CA
Day 08: Long Beach, CA
Day 09: Los Angeles, CA
Day 10: Thousand Oakes, CA
Day 11: Malibu, CA
Day 12: Lompoc, CA
Day 13: Lompoc, CA
Day 14: Palo Alto, CA
Day 15: Palo Alto, CA
Day 16: Fallon, NV
Day 17: Escalante, UT
Day 18: Grand Junction, CO
Day 19: Lafayette, CO
Day 20: Colby, KS
Day 21: St. Louis, MO
Day 22: Knoxville, TN
Day 23: Burlington, NC
Epilogue: Author's notes



(6) images are available

Video: Roswell, NM (1:50)
Windows Media Player required



California or Bust (PDF)
The entire travelogue in a printer-friendly format.

Redneck Carz Screen-saver!
Floating cars and disgusting audio to lighten up your life.

More information
And additional downloads.