6. GILA BEND, AZ

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Aside from that one time in Texas we opened our sunroof all the way up and waved our hands in the air squealing like a bachelorette party in Vegas, we traveled the first 2,450 miles in relative quiet.

The sound of my typing on this laptop or Zan’s Rainman-esque running tally of roadkill — 8 armadillo, 3 skunks, 2 rabbits, 2 deer, 1 jack rabbit and an inordinate amount of indistinguishable lumps — the car was mostly calm and hot.

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By New Mexico, my suspicion was growing that Zan had secretly resolved to personally drive the entire 7,000 miles himself in homage to Ewan and Charley’s “Long Way Round” series. At first, this was a welcome arrangement, as I rapidly burned through most of our 3GB data plan hammering away the details of an upcoming event. Four days into the trip, however, our data plan was all but destroyed so I gave myself over to smaller social media blitzes to slow the bleeding.

The lunar landscape stretched out, pancake flat, in every direction until it met the sky along jagged peaks. With several hours still to go, we made an intergalactic pit stop at Space Age Restaurant in Gila Bend (the solar capitol of Arizona!)...

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Around mile 2,500, I tried to focus my frenzied emotions by writing a Jenny Holzer type Bucket List. After splitting my time between figuring out the mysteries of twitter, my iPhone app’s rising virtual mercury and publishing a quick blog post, it was time to turn off the work channels and tune into the trip.

A few hundred miles shy of San Diego, we launched our favorite Pandora 80's channel and cranked the volume to max for some ol' fashioned, long distance, delirious, heat stroke distracting, bad car singing.

It would seem that you haven’t driven in a car until you’ve driven through the 112 degree Arizona desert singing Journey’s “Faithfully” on the top of your lungs. Armed with power ballads* from the best — Sting, Phil Collins, Duran Duran, U2, Peter Gabriel — we were just getting warmed up.


* Gordon, click all of those links. You're welcome.