I took the 14-year old to the car and he got to work. I went back to the little food place and worked for a while. After an hour I picked up my stuff and went to check on him. It was going well, he said but it was going to take a while longer.
“I’m going for a walk,” I said.
“Ok…….don’t go near……..I’m just kidding.”
Ha, nice one.
I walked down the street, taking pictures of graffiti here and there and getting some gas station coffee. I came across an actual café and went in to sit down and eat a muffin. Just as I was sitting down, the locksmith called. He was almost finished.
I got there and took the key, starting the car with glee. We tried the power lock together and I clapped my hands together like a little girl. I gave him his cash and thanked him profusely. He gave me some water and tea for the road, pulled out of his little car, transformed into a mobile garage.
I found a gas station and a grocery store. I got some oranges and nuts and mapped out a path to St. John’s, on the way to Flagstaff.
The drive from Las Cruces through the mountains (which I later found out was the Gila Mountains) was gorgeous. I’m running out of adjectives to use to describe the beauty of the landscape. Rolling hills with pale grass, sometimes so white it looked like snow. The land was spotted with both sage and bushes that were coal black, as if on purpose to contrast against the grass. In the shade, the black turned purple and the pale grass changed hues into pale greens. As I winded back and forth and up and down, I was in awe. I stopped every so often to take pictures, frustrated much of the time that I was passing up the perfect scene or composition.
There were little towns, resorts and junky houses here and there and I wondered what it was like to live in such a landscape. So beautiful but so isolated. When my tank was half empty, I stopped for gas at a with old school pumps. The woman said I was lucky, she was about to close. “What’s it like living here?” I asked her. “I’ve lived here my whole life,” she replied.
I saw a cow close to the road and yelled out of my open window, “Hi cow!” Then I saw that he was a bull. “Oh, sorry bull.” I said.
He didn’t answer.
It started to get dark and once again I found myself in the mountains at night. I don’t like that. So, I decided I would find a place to stay in the next town that popped up.
I pulled over in Eager and googled places. I found a nice, little lodge with a restaurant across the street. The woman who gave me a room had a beautiful, tan, weathered face and lovely, long grey hair. She gave me a key. An actual key. I passed by a set of pay phones.
I took a hot shower and had my obligatory before bed talk with Mr. Canada.
I was one day closer.
Tomorrow, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.