Disclaimer: To those who know me well, the following blog may shock you due to the alarmlingly high concentration of exclamation points, particularly following my own dialogue. If you were previously unaware of my deep mistrust and hatred for all things exclamation point, now you know. But in this blog, I feel that it's necessary to properly illustrate how very, very, very excited I was. I was like, Batman excited.
On with the blog.
September 1, 1:20 PM PST You see, MoLinder used the air condition sparingly. On for two minutes at ten minute intervals. She's used to the heat, fucking San Diegans. She wears hoodies when it's eighty degrees. I thrive on cold.
I'm sitting on a tufty winter sleeping bag in hundred degree heat, sweat sliding down my calves. "Oh my god I'm dying. Can I please turn on the air conditioning?"
"Yeah, of course. Sorry. I just don't want the car to overheat."
Whatthefuckever. "Dude, the desert fucking sucks."
"I told you. It's just a big nothin."
"Yeah, I know, but I'd never seen it before."
"There's nothing to see."
"Seriously." I have been riding in this car through the desert for just over an hour. I'm not even outside, and I know I hate it. I feel sorry for Clint Eastwood, and kind of like a pussy. Water.
Up ahead, past the wasteland of sand and rock, I can see this oasis of green. It's all glittery and wettish. "Oh my god. Oh my god. Grass."
"I know--what's that doing there?" She leans closer to the steering wheel and squints. "Oh, Colorado River."
I take my feet off the dashboard and lean forward alongside her. "Is that Needles?" Three Dog Night starts going through my head.
"I think so."
"Sweet." I wish I had that song with me. Obviously I did not plan out my soundtrack well enough.
Pulling out my mangled road trip book, I realize exactly where we are. "Okay, so now we're going to Oatman." + 2
"What's in Oatman?"
"Burros." + 2
"Like Mexican donkeys just fuckin walkin around. We have to go there." + 2
"How do I get there?"
September 1, 1:45 PM PST MoLinder is driving straight for the mountains on Historic 66, which veers off the main highway for about forty miles, and she's very excited that the road continually dips up and down, because she doesn't need to use the gas when she's got enough momentum to climb up one hill after we coast down the previous one. + 3
"So what else is here?"
"I don't know. I think there's a ghost town somewhere." I look in my book. "Yeah. Old mining town. Oatman, Arizona." Pointing to the caption. "Fucking bur-ros." + 2
"How do we see them?"
"I dunno, I ain't never been there. I guess they're just like, walking around. Like pedestrians. Or baby ducks."
"Yeah, I know. Whatever."
"You know that we can't, like, stay long and go exploring and stuff, right? Because of the cats. Kitty's whining and she's totally pissed off. I think the drugs wore off." - 2
"Oh, no, that's fine. Poor Kitty. I just need a picture of the burros. I have to see the burros. It's like, I'm being drawn to them. They're calling out to me. Like the hyenas." Ahhh, the hyenas. "I wanna ride one." + 5
"I don't think you can ride them--" - 2
"Well duh, of course I can't ride them, but that doesn't mean I don't want to. I'm just gonna jump outta the car and like, walk around for five minutes. And you can get gas. And then if you want, I'll wait in the car while you walk around."
"I don't know, man. But I do need gas. I hope we make it around the fucking mountain."
"We'll be fine."
"Well, we'll see."
September 1, 1:53 PM PST The Focus turns a corner around a giant outcropping that looks like Pride Rock and there it is. Oatman. There's a beaten sign.
It's all run down and deserted. "Where the fuck are all the burros? Give me burros or give me death, dammit." - 3
"Oh, Ross, I am going to fucking kill you if this is it. If this is it, I will push you out. of. this. car. and. leave. you. here. for the fucking burros." - 5
But there aren't any burros. Sigh. "Just drive further, there's got to be something." I get the feeling that this is it. I'm feeling insanely guilty for making her go so far off the highway. And we're definitely running out of gas. - 3
We turn another corner, and instead of depressing rusted shacks and abandoned skeletal trucks there's this gorgeous kaleidoscope of Mojave blankets. Farther around the corner we find a fifty-foot stretch of wonderful touristy shops full of complete crap that will inevitably shatter or get lost within two weeks of purchase and then be sold at a garage sale or donated to a thrift store, where some asshole hipster will buy it and put it on a shelf and tell visitors they got it on a road trip. + 10
I wanted ALL OF IT.
And there are wild burros everywhere. + 20
"LOOK AT THEM. Just walking around. Bein' burros. I fucking love this." Burros are strolling lazily down the street, standing on porches, inside shops, laying in makeshift mangers, huddling around foals and shoving thier noses into passing cars. Shit was nuts. + 5
MoLinder is silent. - 5
"Isn't this fantastic?"
"There is no gas station." - 5
"I'm sorry. But--burros!"
"But I need. to. get. gas. I--I guess I--I--I just--just thought it would be different. I didn't think it would be this, I didn't think it would be, you know. This." - 5
"What did you expect?"
"Not this. A town."
"I told you it was just burros. Wandering." + 1
"Yeah, but I thought...I don't know. Gas station. Something."
"Can I pet one?"
"And I'm hungry."
"But I want to pet one and take a picture. I need a picture of me and one of them."
"There's nowhere for me to pull over." - 5
"Come on, please? I need to take a picture. Pull over here."
MoLinder is pissed. "I just...I don't know what to do." - 5
"Five minutes, okay? Pull over right here."
"Here." I point. "I just really want to do this. This is the only thing this far off the road that I want to see anyway." Mentally, I'm crossing out other sights and activities off the list of Route 66 funstuff. - 10
"I didn't expect this. I really didn't."
"But look! BURROS! How fucking cool is that?"
"They're just burros." - 5
"Well...yeah. But come on. It's funny. I want to buy something."
"Just hurry up." - 5
"It's okay, I have no money." Thievery passed through my head in shimmery red letters as I closed the card door, and my inner monologue is on fire.
Fuck that, Ross, no stealing from the brave Mojave. Maybe I'll take a burro. (+ 3)
Oh, MoLinder would HATE me! But hey, free wild burro. (+ 3) That foal-cub looks like we could cram it into the car above the cat carriers. ( + 3) If you don't mind crushed burro legs (- 5) burrowed in the back of your skull (+ 5 for word play!).
Oh, poor baby burro with its little crushed legs. I'd have to wheel it around in a Radio Flyer and name it "Birdy." (+ 3) And people would stop me on the street and say, "Is that a horse?" and I would reply, "No, it's Birdy, my burro. I found him crippled and starving when I was hiking in the high cliffs of Mexico and saved him from circling vultures and lurking cougars. I'm in the process of trying to nurse him back to health. The veterinarian says he'll always be a wild burro, and could never be tamed and will probably never walk again, but I say fuck that, I saw "My Friend Flicka," and all he needs is patience and love. (+ 10)
So I snapped a shot of a burro with my disposable and the entire downtown area and ran back to the car, which MoLinder immediately turned around. I made her stop once more so I could jump out of the car and pet one of the burros, and it ambled over to the car and shoved its nose inside. MoLinder shrieked and giggled, and she didn't hate Oatman anymore. + 15
September 1, 2:02 PM PST We left the way we came and got gas and a couple packets of Jack Links back in Needles, and hopped back onto the main highway and through Arizona, towards New Mexico, where Satan lives. + 14 (half a point for each time I said burro, because it's a fun word. Burro.)