Notes from the road — the P(x) digital diaries
Day 2: Sunday, August 15th
Chris' internal alarm clock wakes us up at 6:00 am. We are up and on the road by 8:15 am. Not bad for four girls and one bathroom, huh? Cynthia finally gains consciousness by 11 am (with the help of three cups of coffee).
We grabbed breakfast at Kingman, Arizona at an establishment named the Calico Restaurant. All of the waitresses were extra super nice. So nice we were completely bowled over. A gentleman at the table next to us was admiring George (the main camera) just a little too much. We were afraid we'd have to ask the nice waitresses to rally with us as security. However, April satiated his need to "talk shop" and avoided a possible situation.
If any of you know the tune "Route 66" you'll know that Kingman, AZ is one of the places where you can get your kicks on Route 66. If you don't know then you need to recheck your repertoire and stop listening to Willie Nelson. Anyway, once we left out of Kingman we were on Route 66 and having a blast.
First stop: Lakeman, AZ. Population: A car mechanic, a general store owner, three dogs and a beetle. We grabbed three interviews: A Navajo man, a local thirty-something guy listening to Nine Inch Nails and a family from Buena Park, CA—Did we really have to drive all this way to talk to folks from California?
Next stop a supplies run in Flagstaff, AZ where Kelli (with the help of a local Kinko's) made us really cool and official CREW name badges we wear on shoe strings around our necks. You'd be surprised at how serious people take you when you're wearing a two dollar and fifty cent name badge from Kinko's on a shoe string. It really feels like Hollywood!
Then we found ourselves in a small town. Sorry, the VERY deserted small town of Joseph City, AZ. We would find out later that this in where all of the Latter Day Saints of the area live. They don't come out on Sundays as it is a "family day". However, at the time we wondered if this town was still worth putting on the map (the verdict is still out).
We set up a picnic in front of an abandoned motel/gas station which still contained furniture including beds and lamps and such. Some of the windows had been punched out and one rooms looked as if someone had a campfire going at one point in time using tumbleweed for kindling.
After a picnic of tofu cheese and veggie turkey slices that we had been astounded to find in a Flagstaff Safeway. The funny thing was that they gave us the cheese slices for free, because they thought we weren't really going to buy them since they were made of tofu. (Editor's Note: Organic foods to satisfy the vegetarian palate are hard to find as you leave the Golden State)
We made our way to Dinosaur Town USA, in Holbrook, Arizona, where selling rocks is a lucrative lifestyle. After four interviews next to a DQ (Dairy Queen, silly), we grabbed a few drive by shots of a VW dealer with a Buggaroo and many other classic bugs. Another shot of a Wigwam motel with a dozen concrete structures that look like wigwams. Now that would be a fun place to stay!!!
Last stop before we head off to Bosque, NM, where April's parental units live, is an Indian Trading Post. After chit-chatting with the locals we get the OK to conduct interviews. In fact, the gas pump attendant was so interested in getting his views on tape that he waits patiently as we interview a Christian African American couple from Memphis with six children in their minivan ranging from six to twenty six and a Public Policy grad student at UCLA, from Chicago. Does anyone in Arizona live in Arizona???
On would think that a three and a half hour drive from "Indian Trading Post", AZ to Bosque, NM would be pretty boring. However, that is far from what we experienced...
A mile down the highway April turns and asks, "Were there papers tucked on the side of the truck near the window?"
Chris: I don't know.
April: Could you check?
April: Why not?
Chris: I can't look on the ceiling with the car moving.
April: The ceiling?? No!!! The side of the truck, why would I want you to look on the ceiling?
Chris: I can't look on the ceiling!
Cynthia: Look! Were the release forms in the back with you? I can't find them up here and if we don't find them all of our footage up to this point is useless.
April: I bet those papers I saw in the rear view mirror we ours!
We pull off the highway at the next exit to turn around and head back. From square one we trace our steps from the Indian Trading Post. We head on the ramp to the 40 East when in the road, in the most dangerous place possible (where the ramp meets the highway) we see a clip board—YES!
NO! The folder with all of the release forms isn't with it and it's nowhere to be seen. "Where are we going?" bumper stickers litter the sides of the highway.
It's hard not to enjoy the beautiful sunflowers that dot the side of the road while we collect our thoughts and our stickers. (Editor's Note: Sunflowers are soothing for the soul, and can bring calm in a storm. They just seem to smile at you.) Further down the road we push scanning the asphalt carefully. Again we seen hope in the form of a purple folder. Combing the area there is still no sign of the bright red folder holding the fate of six hours worth of footage. Again we must turn around from where the search began to scour the road side.
Pulling off the exit disappointed and extremely anxious we prepare ourselves for the worst — starting again from scratch. Each of us is saying things to make the other feel better, but more trying to convince ourselves that it's not as bad as it seems, even though it really is.
As we near the starting point of our tragic discovery we see at the end of the ramp, where we had stopped to turn around, a folder lying in the road. The angle of the sun prohibited us from seeing the color of the folder and our held breath turned to cheers when we were close enough to see RED! Inside all snug and unharmed lay the lost release forms.
Our guess is that it was left on the roof, which Chris renamed the ceiling, and had managed to hang on until we stopped to turn. We don't really care how it hung around for so long, we're just happy to have found it. You'd think that by this point the day would be over. But you'd be wrong!
The drive to Bosque was beautiful. The highway to get there is more like a country road. It is so far off the beaten path that all you can see is the distant haze of the lights of Albuquerque. The sky is black as pitch with dots and clusters of distant stars. Every now and then we would pass a homestead with a small porch light peaking through the trees. As we turned onto the bumpy dirt road leading up to The Ellises' and passed an old melting adobe house the sky turned to day and a fireball streaked across the sky burning out above a house in the distance. We all gasped in amazement. What was that???
The Ellis Family Farm
Once inside we bombarded April's mother Leanne with questions, that is after we accidentally woke her and Jim (father) up and made proper introductions. Have you seen anything like that before? What was it? Aliens? Military??? Apparently this is something that has happened before two to three years ago. For days there was nothing in the news about it and then they announced that the military had been conducting test. Yeah right! After this experience the technical crew thinks they have another documentary on their hands. We just need to pay for this one first.
After a quick tour of the Ellis family farm consisting of a real live barn, several dogs, sheep and chickens, a newly hatched fuzzy baby chick, a pair of peacocks and over two dozen bee hive boxes. We all took well needed and deserved showers, ate two helpings of home-cooked manicotti and settled down to sleep.