Notes from the road — the P(x) digital diaries
Day 3: Monday, August 16th
There is nothing quite like waking up to the smell of a home cooked breakfast of French Toast from homemade bread with extra butter, extra syrup and good conversation! Fortunately for us that is what we got. April's mother went all out! For those of you who haven't had the pleasure to meet her, she is peppier than April, if that is any way possible, and as sweet and wise as can be. We talked for hours about education and the state of the current educational system. We discussed the different ways in which children learn and how we can be in touch with ourselves better. All of this great conversation occurred over breakfast, laundry, packing and logging digital video tapes. We really have no time to lose.
Out in the great wide open ... we are on our way to Albuquerque. April's mother was sweet enough to pack us some homemade zucchini bread in country style zip lock bags. Some of us have already dug into it before we hit the road. Being the writer I have the prerogative of leaving that person nameless.
In Albuquerque (do you know what a pain it is to type the name of that city over and over again?), we head to the Nob Hill district's Double Rainbow Café and dessert shop. For the San Francisco crowd, this is nothing like our Nob Hill, for one it's flat (go figure), however the Double Rainbow is similar to SF's ice cream shop. They have killer iced mochas and scrumptious desserts. It's no relation to the other Double Rainbow, but it definitely rivals them. But we're here to interview people. not give dessert reviews.
We pulled George out of the truck in front of the ice cream shop and within seconds we had a captive audience. A journalism student from the University of New Mexico was curious as to what the equipment was for. April and Cynthia were more than happy to talk with him as he was quite cute and well, we did have a job to do.
From there we had seven other takers: a tattooed and pierced woman with a baby (that for the record wasn't hers. OK), another UNM student, a waiter referred us by a newspaper deliveryman we were hitting up (to interview of course) and two Native American men, one Navajo and the other White Plains.
At this point I would like to say that the majority of the interviews we've conducted have been positive, open, fascinating and inspiring. During this stop we also encountered a journalist with the Channel 7 local news. He was kind enough (and enough of a forward thinker to take an interest in us, wouldn't you think?) to hook us up with a station he used to work for in Idaho Falls, Idaho. If you check the map we gave you you'll notice that is one of our later stops. If you've lost yours, shame on you, share with a friend or visit our web site.
Another interview I would like to highlight is one with a 30-year old woman sitting outside of a whole food supermarket with her 16-month-old son. When we interviewed her on camera she spoke of her concern for the environment with a special emphasis on planned pregnancies. She and her husband were very happy with the child they planned for, but she felt that there were many people who have children because they didn't know their options or didn't know where else to go with their live. During the interview her voice was quiet but impassioned. It was great watching her feed her son yogurt while she talked about her views on the impact of population on the social and environmental future. We concluded the interview and while she signed the release form we continued the discussion.
April and Kelli were in the process of setting up for an establishing exterior shot nearby when the woman turned to me and confessed that she had recently found out she was 9 weeks pregnant and experiencing horrible morning sickness every day. Her and her husband had only planned to have one child and she was happy with having one son. To be more up front, she wasn't ready to have another child so soon. Her dilemma was her husband. He wasn't upset about it; in fact he had become excited about the thought of having another child and decided it wasn't right to have an only child when their families lived several states away. Planned pregnancies were in many ways an issue very close to her heart.
We pushed on along Route 66 to Tucumcari, NM or as Kelli likes to call it Too-come-I - kari. At the west entrance to the town they have erected a huge, shiny, silver art piece in the form of "Route 66." It stands over five feet tall and sits on a eight foot pedestal made to look like the back of a 56 Chevy in sandstone. We stopped to take a group photo and got a little out of hand, first trying to get the photo timer to work on two different cameras. The delay inspired many unusual and silly poses. Yet another great reason to visit our web site. :-)
As we drove through town looking for a good interview spot we stopped at a light next to two boys in a truck. Imagine that! As the light turns green and we take off from the line the boys let out a loud catcall. Our ears prick up as we slow to catch their gaze because we're thinking, "INTERVIEW!" Once Chris slowed they sped up and began weaving through traffic to ditch us. Well, we were going to have none of that.
Chris followed them closely for two miles, until they pulled into the parking lot of a local school. Pulling up next to them we said hello and asked for an interview. Shyly they declined. We persisted letting them know it would be real quick and extremely painless. Again they declined, too shy to talk with us much less on camera. Accepting their refusal we pulled away to leave — our departure was greeted with another loud catcall. Come on boys, can't handle the real thing?!
We found the best place we could think of to set up shop — the local Alco (it's a smaller suffering version of Wal-mart). We conducted three interviews with the deafening din of cicadas surrounding us. If you thought crickets were loud, try this racket on for size.
One of our interviewees was a sweet quiet spoken man who could not think of a single place where folks hung out in all of Tucumcari. He said they basically stay at home. Interesting social scene. I wonder how they ever meet new people and what sort of an impact we had on their daily schedule.
Later on as we were packing up to leave he approached us with some literature he thought we might want to read on our long trip. A pamphlet entitled, "If God really cares, why is there suffering?" This would be the first of many witnessing experiences we would encounter on our journey.
This same gentleman was able to direct us to a local restaurant — K-Bobs. We were famished, tired, sweaty and desperately in need of some down time. We headed to K-Bobs two miles away to find it closed at 8:45pm on a Monday night. What is up with that!?! On the verge of passing out and sick of birthing ourselves from the tomb in the back of the truck, we opted for the Subway sandwich at the truck stop across the street. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but it would have to do.
At the truck stop Cynthia challenged the rest of the gals to a game of Galaga. Even with an out of shape firing wrist she managed to win second place on the high score screen. Chris fought a mean fight coming in third. April didn't quite make it onto the board and Kelli knowing how tough the competition was declined playing altogether. What cheesy '80s arcade game will the next truck stop hold??? We'll all just have to wait and see.
Arriving in Amarillo at 1 am we began an immediate search for our next temporary home with a cozy bed and a functioning shower (unlike our accomodations in Kingman, AZ). Out goal was to frequent a local establishment (as opposed to a nationwide chain) and find a place along Route 66 with character. What we ended up finding were plenty of local establishments along Route 66, but with signs reading:
No Illegal DrugsNo WeaponsNo ProstitutionAdult Films Only for Daily Customers
We kept on looking!
Finally we found a place that seemed OK. Please remember while reading this next part that I said it was OK. Do not mistake OK for great or even good. OK is just that, OK.
Oddly enough the place we finally felt OK at was named Route 66 Motel. It touted good rates, Cable TV, and two beds in one room. The doors were painted bright tourquosie with orange neon lights for trim.
April checked in, threw us the key and we began the unloading ritual, carrying George and Oscar into the overpowering mothball stench we were to inhabit for the next nine hours. As April stepped into the bathroom to wash off herself the five layers of sweat and grime each of us managed to accumulate throughout the day she watched the roaches scurry from the fly corpses littering the floor. At the same time Kelli grabbed up a Bible to defend herself from the army that had formed on the wall. It was at that moment that the massacre began.
Panning the room we found a locked door with a chair in front of it leading to an adjoining room and one window sealed shut. Later we were told by the owner that people had been known to break in through that window to "use" the bed. We didn't ask what for. Aside from the thin tacky bed spreads and florescent lighting, the only décor was a velvet painting of Don Quixote.
April and Cynthia settled down and began logging for the night. Kelli and Chris hang out outside enjoying a smoke and the live showing of "Cops" happening at the motel. Each time the police stop by they are never certain which room will be the one this time. We would spend more to stay in a classier motel (perhaps that is an oxymoron) but as you know we are running on a tight budget and we aim to spend your money wisely.
By 3 am everyone is finally in bed sleeping. Including the cockroach army.