Tis the holiday season and I am on the road, again! No, I am not moonlighting as a warped, Jewish version of Santa Claus, though I am driving a shiny red ford escape which might be mistaken by nearsighted individuals as a sleigh… But I’m not schlepping tons of wrapped shit across the country or climbing into chimneys, that would be ridiculous and totally out of character.
Instead I am on a road trip with my wonderful, adult son, Billy who is taking turns driving, keeping us audibly entertained with the contents of his iPod and engaging in just the right amount of conversation. We are traveling from LA to Austin via highways 10 & 40. Along the way we are taking in some sights and calories and leaving a trail of my sweet Maxie’s ashes and a tear or two.
We got to Scottsdale last night and checked into the retro hotel Valley Ho… Totally cool … Especially with the Hotwire deal which made the 5 star room affordable and then some! The place looks like you stepped into a set for Madmen … The food was decent, the beds supremely snorable!
This AM we checked out of 60’s flashbackville, loaded the sleigh-mobile, flipped on the GPS to get the route to cousins David and Alice for a quick visit. I find it refreshing to be able to check in with these wonderful people and feel so at ease, that no time has actually passed since we last saw each other … Even though, in our particular world/plane of being, time has indeed traveled. I am immensely grateful for this opportunity to occupy moments such as these.
After the comfy kibitzing, coffee and croissants, we bade farewell to head on down the road toward the petrified forest. We were going to revisit the meteor crater, after over twenty years, we thought not. Billy said, “it’s just a big commercial hole in the ground now.” To which I responded, “What? You don’t want an embroidered patch to replace the one I donated years ago?” We drove on to the Petrified Forest exit in such deafening silence you could’ve heard a meteor crash.
When I said we drove on to the Petrified Forest, it was more like we drove on and on and on… It took awhile. We arrived at the guard gate at 3, the park closing at 5. Two hours to ooh and ahh and deposit the Can O’Max #5 in some meaningful way. We did. I cried. Again, as I have done each time I have taken one of these tiny vessels of the BIG man I still love, and each time I wonder if I will stop crying, knowing I will and do, if only til the next deposit. Funny how the guard told us not to take any wood or stones but said nothing about leaving ash. I did take a pebble the size of the toenail on my baby toe on my right foot. Each time I deposit Max’s ashes I replace them with something from where I did so, my form of exchange, kind of like my saying to the universe, “Here’s some of my precious Maxie which really you took in the first place, now you give me something!” Though I’m not as petulant as that may seem, but you get my drift.
Okay then, #5 settling into the scenery of Petrified Forest and we are outta there as the sun sets, quite beautifully I might add. Billy snapped pictures with appropriate and accompanying remarks such as “Wow, Oh my, Shit that’s amazing”…etc. You know, the statements one can only make in the presence of whoever may have created such a wonderful world in which we live. It was far-fucking spectacular in my mind. You can do what you want with the expletive.
We spent the night in Albuquerque at The Hotel Albuquerque, which is pretty, but nothing to return to. We got spoiled by Scottsdale’s Valley Ho. Today we’re up early to get some miles closer to Austin and our wonderful family.