Posted by: chptr37 | 04/05/2009

Pg. 4: Arizona to New Mexico


Somewhere on Route 66. And look:I finally changed my clothes!



  • Miles Today: 384
  • Miles Total: 1884
  • From/To: Flagstaff, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Soundtrack: The soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
  • Worst Thing: Too many hours in the car. Too few rest stops.
  • Best Thing: Santa Fe at sunset. It was too pretty to even take pictures of.
  • Quote of the Day: “That just makes you slap-happy.”


There are very few times in my life when I’ve wanted to be a boy. I mean, I’ve always done boy things — played rough and rugged sports, beat up on anyone who looked at me sideways, sat with my legs uncrossed, drank other girls under the table — but I can only ever remember a handful of times in my life when I truly wanted to be a boy. Most of them revolved either around unpleasant girl things (pain, usually) or else the desire to be able to walk anywhere I wanted without worrying about being harassed.

Today, I wanted to be a boy. This discovery occurred somewhere between the bottle of water that I drank back in Arizona to keep myself hydrated while flogging through the desert … and exit number four hundred and six into New Mexico without a restroom in sight. I wanted, at that very moment (well, for many of those moments and miles), to be male. To be able to pull over anywhere, in broad daylight, and pee without exposing my butt to the passing truckers and tourists.

Instead, I did the proper thing (for once in my life). I waited. I thought about deserts and sand. And I thought about the grand canyon, until I remembered that there’s a river in the middle of it. Which then made me remember the time I tried to convince my family — I think I was ten or eleven — that there was no river in the Grand Canyon. I don’t know why I believed this to be true, or why I needed to convince them of such, but I was rather determined. All of which then made me think of the time I convinced my brother that there were sharks in our hometown lake. Which made me think of water and all the water I drank back in Arizona. And suddenly I was in this rather rather endless cycle of thought. So, I returned to thinking about deserts, and crossed my legs as best as possible while pushing down the clutch to shift into fifth gear and go just a wee bit faster toward that “Rest Area, 20 miles ahead.” Which, of course, only brought the inevitable “closed” sign a little sooner, and made me wonder how much money I could make inventing something that women could pee into on the road (besides a very very wide-mouthed bottle, I mean). Needless to say, the rest station was much welcomed, and I was entirely happy to remain a girl once I left there.

I did actually see something today besides a serious lack of restroom signs, I swear. The dessert is a beautiful, desolate and somehow peaceful, while also being serious and deadly. It inspires the kind of writing in me that is sharp–full of death and isolation, cactus and scorpions, cracked skin and cracked lives. Santa Fe is also gorgeous–the tiles, the colors, the adobe, all fool me into thinking I could stay here, live on and on and on in this low space of pinks and corals and blues.

I know I couldn’t live here though. It’s too dry for my blood. As much as I enjoy the sun and the landscape here, the truth is that I am a creature of water. I need forests and streams, oceans and waves, rain torrents that wash away all views of the outside world, the crack of thunder in the midst of a downpour. I thrive best, it seems, when I am well-watered.

In the meantime, I’ll soak up the sun and let my skin crack a bit. I’ll smell like sage and adobe. I’ll find the water I need by drinking it. And I’ll keep one foot on the gas and one eye on the restroom signs.

Far and fast, s.


Road-weary expression courtesy of 380+ miles in the car. Braids courtesy of me, myself and I. Hat courtesy of The Masked Texan.


“What is more beautiful than a road?” ~George Sand (pen name for Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin)



  1. You are very welcome for the help with the hat Darlin’! And judging from the number of times I’ve had a chick doing the “gotta pee” dance in the passenger seat, I’d guess you could make a killing with that invention.

  2. This what you need? ; )

  3. Hah! I know that masked Texan! I was actually planning a trip down south some time in the not too distant future. My brother told me about a trip down that he took down there. Although I’ve never though of it as my ideal vacation spot, he made it sound rather appealing.

    Digging the hat and the braids! Saddle on up Shanna!

  4. I’m becoming addicted to your travels…

  5. Hmm … I remember hearing that they actually do make devices of this type. One sec …


    (plus similar products farther down page)

    May the next stretch of road bring you a well-stocked camping supply store! (I wish you were the one getting rich off it, though!)

  6. I love the hat – oh and the traveling…I remember moving from Wisconsin to California (and thinking oh my gawd what is this? three months of green then firestorms!!) only to travel back – this time, with my dad at the wheel – and I was able to stare out the windows at the landscape.

    Enjoy your moments dear.. I miss your humor. (this is Tal btw – I should clarify that ;p)

  7. The ”gotta go” situation reminds me of the show ‘Weeds” where Nancy Botwin is stuck at the Mexico border and needs to go. She uses and empty latte cup (I dont think the average woman has that good an aim or maneuverability but thats tv for you) wish I could find the clip on Youtube

    Youre right about the Southwest it is extremely dry here and was not quite prepared for all the water and moisterizer i will have to use to keep from shriveling up;P

    Hope you enjoy New Mexico, I always wanted to see Santa Fe and then Taos

  8. First, tell George I know something more beautiful than the road; it’s this chick in an Element doing a cross-country in the Spring, stopping every couple of quarts to sends exciting and elliptical (I never truly understood how to use that word, so what the hell, there it is) epistles from East Nowhere and Bumphuque, Egypt.
    On a more serious note –well, maybe not– I know a temporary solution to your Pee Problem. No, I’m not going to suggest a leg bag attached to a Foley catheter that your desotted nurse insert. (Then again… ‘scuse me.) It is a TRUE biophysical fact that thinking about peeing or the fullsomeness of one’s bursting bladder initiates an unavoidable reflex that begins to loosen one’s sphincter. In other words, thinking about it makes it Oh, so much more urgent! So think about anything-but-anything else. (Good luck.)

  9. Dakster: Yes! I was doing the pee dance. Heh. But at least I didn’t spill my popcorn in the process. -snerks-

    Nikki: OMG! I’m going to buy one of those. My first purchase in the UK!

    Shawn: I’m saddled and ready. -snickers- And, yes, I recommend the drive. Both for the view and for the experience.

    Alison: Yah! That’s the highest compliment ever. Thank you.

    Jeremy: Somehow I should have known that you would be my go-to man on this topic. That thing kind of scares me though… What do you think? Worth the price?

    Annie: I miss your humor too. Damn. I love having sexy, snarky, funny girls in my life.

    Stacy: Oh, yes, I’d forgotten about that. -goes off to look for it on youtube- I really have no idea if my aim is that good. I’m scared to try it, truly 🙂

  10. Well, now I have to admit that I only play a peeing expert on TV, and I don’t really know much about these beyond their existence. (Damn! There goes my reputation.)

    I do see that one of the Amazon reviewers calls the device “the best thing for women since sliced bread.” Not sure if she’s using it properly, or if she’s adapted it into some sort of portable sandwich holder.

  11. Shanna, I feel your bladder’s pain. Really, I do.

    This happened to me recently on a road trip up in Georgia. I’m in a place that’s 15 minutes off a paved road, the house I’m peering into is empty, it’s surrounded by peanut fields, and I figure, “oh, yeah, it’s safe to squat down and pee.”

    Sure enough, I get “sequestered” behind a magnolia tree, squatted and pissing, and along comes a truckload of field workers who have probably never seen such a Skinny White Ass and who, I’m sure, talked about it later that night with much glee. But, I just kept peeing, shook off as best I could, and pulled up my pants.

    And then I laughed so hard about it that I peed some more when I got back in the car.

    Clear skies,

  12. Jeremy: I think that she means “since sliced hot dog buns” right? Maybe?

    Vincent: That is a fantastic story! I can just see it in my mind too. I’m heading to New Orleans tomorrow, and it’s making me think of you and Hotel Bourbon and all the saints and sinners we know!

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