In the late summer of 1996 my good friend Meg and I headed east from LA. I had returned from Bali and she was returning to New York.
"I've fallen in love." Meg was a tall ex-model.
We left LA at 4am on a strangely heavily traveled freeway.
By dawn we were in the desert.
That night we stayed on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We didn't need a reservation. The room had twin beds. We fell asleep fast. It had been a long day.
In the morning I posed as 'the thinker' on a rock.
That night we neared Kayenta, Arizona, capitol of the Navaho nation. The windblown town looked like Mars 100 years after a failed terra-forming experiment. Meg wanted to stop at the hotel. I said that we could a room nearer Monument Valley. I was wrong. Everything was booked for miles.
After dinner and then slept in the car. There was only one blanket. The temperature dropped into the 50s. I woke in the middle of the night and got out of the Studebaker.
Then we headed into the Rockies. Something was wrong with the Hawk's carborator. A mechanic fixed it in Durango. Meg called Chris. They spoke on the phone for a long time.
"We'll be on one as soon as we're out of the mountains."
I didn't lie.
The next day we reached the Great Plains. Meg's foot was heavy on the accelerator. "No stops."
We had no reason to stop in Detroit and continued across Ontario to Niagara Falls. We would have kept driving, except the Studebaker had a flat. The mechanic told us to wait in the diner. Meg entered first.
The patrons had never seen someone like her and followed her every steps, as her flipflops slapped against the floor on her way to the Ladies room. We slept that night on the Canadian side of the Falls.
The Studebaker had done its job. We arrived in Soho in the evening. Chris met us at Lucky Strike. He took one look at me and figured the worst. He was wrong. Meg and I were just friends, but the two were in love and I left the restaurant to go to my apartment on East Tenth Street.
Sometimes I called it home and that night was one of them.