I’m back in the US and settling into my new place. A couple weeks ago I flew out to California to get my car. A close friend of mine had let me store my car at her place (and started it up periodically for me), and it was time to bring my car to Texas. I was looking forward to driving my car again – she’s a cute little convertible – and seeing parts of the country I hadn’t seen before. My drive would take me through parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
One of my retirement dreams is to rent a really nice Winnebago and drive through all of the states and check out not only the national parks and other sights, but also stop and look at the quirky, fun things, such as the world’s largest ball of string or the Vent Haven, a ventriloquist museum, which will probably cause many sleepless nights afterwards. (Side note: I have already seen the world’s largest tire. It’s near Detroit and was used as a ferris wheel at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.) Anyway, I didn’t have much time for the trip – just 3 days – but I did vow to make at least one stop at a roadside attraction.
The drive itself was pretty uneventful, which is a good thing when you’re driving 1,500 miles. I hadn’t ever spent time in the desert and was surprised and in awe of its beauty. I spent most of my drive through Arizona and New Mexico looking around at the cactus, scrub brush and constantly changing landscape. I even saw a coyote and a road runner…but not together, and there were no anvils or rockets involved.
I made two roadside stops in Arizona. The first was in Dragoon. I had been driving through the desert, and all of a sudden came across an area of the highway where there were these gigantic rounded rocks all piled on one another, similar to those meditation rocks you see carefully placed on top of each other. As I was admiring the rocks, I saw a small sign for a museum and decided to get off the highway, explore the rocks and check out the museum at the same time.
The museum was the Amerind Museum, and I highly recommend it. It’s a small museum that showcases Native American pottery, handicrafts, history and culture from centuries ago to present day. Pieces are from the US, Canada and Central and South America. Next to the museum is an art museum that also focuses on Native American art. All in all, it was a wonderfully relaxing hour or so that I spent there.
The second stop was more along the lines of the world’s largest ball of string. I had seen the first billboard in California and counted down the miles until I reached it…also in Dragoon, AZ: The Thing. The Thing lived up to every expectation I had for it – cheesy tourist stop with a lot of weird funny stuff that makes you laugh and shake your head; souvenirs with aliens, dinosaurs and “The Thing” t-shirts, written in 1950’s B-grade horror movie script; and a Dairy Queen. And let’s not forget the alien fortune teller named Jose, who not only told me the secret of life (I won’t spoil it for you; you’ll have to go and find out for yourself), but also gave me a fortune. Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than this!
All in all, it was a great road trip.