It’s 1400 Houston to Vegas. Of that, 600 miles are in Texas. Yikes. Check out part two of this road trip blog.
Houston is a huge city. HUGE. Leaving from the south end, it took nearly an hour of highway driving to get out of there. Overall, I liked the city. It’s warm there all the time and seemed very clean. There’s a quiet-running tram that circles downtown, but from what I hear, there have been some problems with it being so quiet, people are being hit. But anyway, it’s noon on Sunday as I press in the Passat’s key and roar north toward Dallas.
1344 miles: Oh no! I left my Chick-fil-a hat (see part one of this blog) at my friend’s apartment. I need a new one. I’m naked without it. I cut across two lanes of traffic after spotting big red and white sign near an overpass, and then the horror hits. It’s Sunday, meaning that the most ultra-Christian of all fast food joints is closed. I love you, Chick, but I don’t know if I can forgive you for this.
1365 miles: Just outside of the city, there’s a statue off in the distance, right along the interstate. As I get closer, Sam Houston himself is suddenly towering 50 feet above me. It’s the second most impressive roadside statue I’ve ever seen. The first is next to I-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, where Jesus can be seen, chest up, arms raised 80 feet into the air, towering over a small pond in front of an equally impressive church. I take a picture of Sammy as I pass. So long, Mr. Houston.
1493 miles: My closest brush with tragedy comes as a Honda Accord tries to adjust my passenger-side mirror for me. I dodge, and as the blonde-haired forty-something driver pulls away, I spot the bumper sticker. “God is my co-pilot.” Yeah, that’s nice. Sounds like God needs to stick to the creation thing and that miracle stuff. Driving isn’t really his thing.
1922 miles: I’m STILL in Texas. This state is massive.
1989 miles: Finally, ten hours after leaving Houston, I’m finally out Texas. Yee-hah.
2074 miles: I wanted to make it to Albuquerque for sleep time, but I’m not going to make it. I just saw something flying toward the Passat from my left and it certainly was not real. I park in a hotel lot and fold the rear seats down for a rest. Believe it or not, this sedan is more comfortable to sleep in than our long-term FJ Cruiser. The seats fold flatter, and the FJ changes from carpet to plastic half-way across the “bed.” Tonight, I’m so comfortable that I sleep for six hours before rushing off, coffee in hand, into the desert.
2474 miles: A few months ago while wandering through the internets, I learned that Winslow, Arizona has a life-size Don Henley statue standing on a corner. When you’re a tiny town in the middle of Arizona, you take what you can get. When I see an exit sign for Winslow, I can’t pass up the opportunity to see this man of bronze for myself. So after not to long, I find the Eagles front man standing there, take a few pictures, and laugh to myself for a while. I call my friend Dan, who I think will appreciate my situation. He’s not amused. I think I need a nap.
2665 miles:; One last stop before my destination, in Kingman, AZ. I have lunch with Marc Noordeloos and Richard Eccleston, help move some cars across town for our All-Stars photo shoot, and get back on the road. It was great getting out of the Passat and into a few hot cars. To know what those cars were, check out next month’s magazine, in which we announce this year’s winners. Next stop, Vegas.
2783 miles: I’ve been on the road for almost 30 hours, crossing the desert alone. Vegas is a lot to deal with right now and I want to sleep. I call Jason Cammisa to find our hotel. “Where are you?”
“Umm, I’m right under the space needle thingy.”
“Alright, I think you want to go until you’re between the pyramid and the Brooklyn Bridge, then turn left past the hotel that’s glowing green.”
Vegas is as trashy as Texas is full of pickup trucks. I can’t deal with this.