Back in Albuquerque two months, the travel itch started at my right big toe and is working its way up to my right kneecap.
Life since Matzatlan has meandered and it isn’t until an invitation is offered that I have a chance to scratch.
On the road at four in the morning, I can barely make out shapes of road cuts as I weave my way along the freeway between them. There are road signs waving at me to slow down. I see hints of sunlight struggling to break through the darkness that envelopes my car. The instrument panel on my little chariot reminds me it is time to stop for gas and food.
Just outside of Tucumcari, New Mexico, on Route 66,I know, from other trips this way, that there are several truck stops.
They all offer travelers gas, a restaurant, a place to stock up on snacks..Though they cater to truckers, their doors are open to everyone, and, in a pinch, a tired traveler can catch a nap in the parking lot with a coat thrown over his head to hide light from huge signs that advertise to those whizzing by, going both directions across our country.
There is no reason to stick around Tucumcari when Albuquerque or Amarillo is only a short hop, skip, and jump away. You don’t need to drive through a whole town when all you need is a piece of it for a bite to eat, a bathroom break or a place to walk your poodle. Freeways created drive by towns and moved us into a different sense of time and space where the country is something to be traversed as quickly as possible, not something to be relished like a sweet piece of hard candy.
This early morning stop wraps up quickly and I pull back onto the Interstate for Amarillo, watching a new sun edge over the tops of road cuts as I barrel through their gauntlet.
After several months home in Albuquerque, my brother’s invitation to visit is a welcome relief.
I never want moss growing between my toes.