Last week my sister and I hit the wide open road across the hot AF southwest. In my mind, we were Thelma & Louise… but if they were in their fifties, had to stop for frequent pee breaks, and were traveling with a cat. So I guess it’s more like Grace & Frankie meets Harry & Tonto.
Despite the title of this post,(apologies to Hunter S. Thompson) the cat did remarkably well. I was just being cheeky.
23 years ago I made a similar trek with my other sister from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. On that road trip on our way from Asheville to Memphis, we made a quick detour to the Country Music Hall of Fame. While the Nudie Suits were the initial draw for me, it’s the posters that had my full attention. I saw a sign that said the posters had been printed locally at Hatch Show Prints and we hightailed it over to Broadway to see what it was about. We were lucky to have Jim Sherraden as our tour guide. I was hooked. I could not get the presses, the wood type, and the smell of the ink out of my mind for the rest of the road trip. That road trip and accidental visit to Hatch is what inspired me to learn to print and get a publishing job. True story.
The next night we arrived in a steamy Memphis only to find NO VACANCY on most motel marquis. We didn’t realize it was August 16th, the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. The courtyard of the one motel that still had rooms was a nighttime flea market of Elvis memorabilia and boom boxes (it was 1999) blaring Elvis gospel. We were so grateful to find a motel with a pool that we barely minded the all night party.
We were taking interstate 40 across and jumping off on the last remains of Route 66 whenever we had the itch and to eat lunch in some cool off the beaten path cafes. By the time we got to Oklahoma we were so tired of our ‘No Depression’ (google it)CD selection and hit a Walmart to pickup some B-52s. Rock Lobster never sounded so good.
We spent nights in Asheville, Memphis, Amarillo, Santa Fe, and Flagstaff. After a brief trip to peek at the Grand Canyon we were quite ready to make it to Santa Monica. Of course since it was August the radiator was on the fritz so we drove through the desert with the heat on. We’d hoped to visit the Retired Stripper Hall of fame in Helendale, California, but we were he’ll bent for sushi.
This most recent trip was more about getting from Northern California to Austin because we had a cat that could not be left in a hot car in temperatures that reached 112. Violet was a champ!
That said, we laughed to the point of almost peeing our pants more than once.
I’m still pinching myself that she now lives just 30 minutes from my home.