The following blog is a guest blog by lisabay who joined me on the trip across America that I have been blogging about for the last week. I enjoyed reading her blog on the trip- it is so interesting to see a friend’s perspective. Enjoy!!
In October of 1999, I helped my friend Tiki move half way across the country from her childhood home in Indiana to L.A. (Los Angeles). I was still in my mid-twenties and loved the adventure of the open road. I had a break from work, so I jumped at the chance to take a road trip.
I flew into Indianapolis and stayed with Tiki’s family for a couple of days. A childhood friend, Katie, would also be joining us on the trip. In her backyard, on the grass, was the car we would use to get back to L.A. It was a mature BMW, that hadn’t been driven in a while, but was still a good car with a few good years left. We inspected the car and drove it around a bit. On one cool Indiana morning, I noticed a giant- sized ant near the back ceiling of the car. Then it was gone.
It was finally time to pack up the car. If you know Tiki, you know she does not pack light, and she needed to bring all her belongings from her parent’s house. I think the trunk had a hard time closing, but it did eventually. The seats were filled to the capacity too. Then there was her record collection and that record player, she had been holding onto since the 80’s. We had to bring that too. And one of us had to carry that big bulky record player all the way back to California on our lap. I refused to do it, so Katie and Tiki rotated.
The trip started off in a merry way, I didn’t even have to drive because the seat adjustment was stuck at a setting for the taller two of the group. We drove south on I-65, through Indiana, Kentucky, and into Tennessee. We had lunch out in the rolling hill country near Nashville at another friend’s bed and breakfast. Then we took a turn down I-40, through the flat green cotton fields of the Mississippi River Valley, and were off to Memphis for the night. And oh what fun. I loved seeing Beale Street and listening to the blues music.
The next morning, we were drove through Arkansas. We past Little Rock, then on into Oklahoma. I have to say, I didn’t much care for Oklahoma. It was windy, flat, and the trees and bushes just looked like unkempt weeds to me. Then we spent the evening in the Texas panhandle. We had dinner at a Sonics drive-thru, and spent the night in Amarillo.
Continuing west, on really the same route as the old Route 66, we entered New Mexico. Right at the border, you know you have entered the desert, and you know you were going to be in it for quite some time. The desert has never been one of my favorite places, but we had a very pleasant stay in Albuquerque and Santa Fe for a couple of days.
We finally figured out how to get me to drive. Either the seat adjustment unstuck, or we just put a bunch of jackets and other soft items on the seat. So I drove away from Albuquerque with the rising sun coming up over the mountains in my rear view mirror. It was getting warmer.
That day we drove through New Mexico, and a good part of Arizona. Somewhere maybe in Winslow, I saw it. Another giant ant was in the back seat, near the window. That’s strange, I thought. Then somewhere in the middle of nowhere, the army of giant ants presented themselves in a deluge. It was toasty warm at this point. Maybe that was their signal to swarm. These ants were BIG, maybe 10 times the size of a regular California ant, and they were now crawling all over the back seat. Katie and I were starting to freak out. Tiki in the front passenger seat said in a calm voice, “Keep driving. Don’t pay attention to the ants.” The situation seemed dire. How were we going to get rid of these ants in a land of Indian Reservations and Route 66 tourist traps? Luckily, we found a small convenience store in Flagstaff. They actually had bug spray, and we sprayed the back seat enough so that the ants were manageable.
The rest of the trip was a detour to Vegas, then home. I can’t remember when all the ants left the car, but they eventually did. Maybe they have infiltrated the population of California ants. So if you ever see some giant ants in California, you’ll know where they came from.
(day 199) Guest blog by lisabay. Lisa, thank you for your contribution to my blog and I look forward to future contributions.