Mink Machine

Road trip across the American Southwest

After driving over 3800 miles across five states and two time zones, it feels good to be home.

It had been almost a decade since last time I drove a car along the busy streets of Los Angeles, but it was just as chaotic as I remembered. Add dusk, rush hour and heavy rain to make it extra exciting. As soon as we entered the city, I nervously scanned the area to make sure that none of Hank Moody’s psychotic pals were here.

We recovered from the long flight on a beach in Malibu and drove east along Pacific Coast Highway (more than a song by Kavinsky). After brief stops in Hollywood and Griffith Park we were ready to leave civilization.

The next morning we climbed up a hill in Death Valley before sunrise, which kind of set the relentless pace for the upcoming weeks.

We drove along Route 6, Route 66 and Route 666. If there was a Route 6666, we must have missed that turn.

Route 666 Route 666. Reine somewhere in New Mexico.

We conquered the Extraterrestrial Highway and the Devil’s Highway. Only Highway to Hell left to go.

California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. They are only a flash of impressions, still to be sorted by the brain.

Desert road One mile out of 3800.

We punished the car suspensions in Monument Valley, chatted with happy hippies in the desert kingdom of Slab City, slipped on bat guano in the Carlsbad Caverns, looked for aliens in Roswell and Area 51, stayed less than 127 hours in Antelope Canyon, stared at the antenna dishes of Very Large Array, tried Sonoran hot dog in Tucson, watched the presidential election day from a motel room in Utah, almost froze to death in the White Sands desert and visited countless movie locations.

Route 666 Monument Valley. Notice the dirt road down there.

We drove through the territories of stoner band Kyuss, north of Palm Springs. I almost imagined seeing Josh Homme hiding behind one of the thousand Joshua Trees we passed.

We even had pie in aptly named Pie Town (no kidding). Good times.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I will go sleeping for a year or so.

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