×

Road Trip by the Numbers: Albuquerque to Oakland

Photo by Andrew Kearns

Taking time and 1,074 miles to daydream

Save to my Account
 The American West. The Road Trip. Taken separately, each speaks volumes in languages understood around the globe. Married, the pair assails a traveler with iconography that’s too easy to describe by hackneyed observations or deafening silence. Is there a Middle Way? How do we describe an unseen feeling, both individual and universal? The space that floods in between thoughts and molecules on a road trip. How do we describe a place rooted in macro vastness that does not undercut the value of its micro thin places? A solitary Brewers’s Blackbird soaring along the undeveloped north rim of the Grand Canyon. Even when pushed by unrelenting schedules, by needing to get from Point A to Point B because Object C is just around the corner demanding our attention tomorrow, we find solace in wandering today. Even if it’s just our mind wandering, with heightened awareness and a strengthened resolve to return at a slower pace. Heading West to the California dream – through Southwest places revered by the Ancients – demands our attention and commands our psyches. The numbers that follow are measures of a road trip well-taken, experienced, imprinted. As Jack Kerouac said in On The Road, “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

 

15.5: Hours to drive from Northern New Mexico to Northern California
3: Stops along the way
38: Minute difference between what Waze calculated at the beginning of the 15.5-hour trip and the actual arrival time

 

13.5: Hours feeling completely free
Pi to the nth degree: Increased space between my cells from the beginning of the road trip to the end

 

6.32am: First sip of Peet’s coffee (pour-over) as sun peeked over Sandia Mountains
8.40pm: Last sip of Peet’s coffee (iced espresso) as sun sank over Central Valley near Bakersfield

Sandias; photo by G Morrow


13: Bonafide stops or nearby detours for a ‘normal’ visitor along this route (Acoma Pueblo, El Malpais, Navajo Nation, Hopi Nation, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Route 66, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Havasu Wildlife Refuge on the Colorado River, the Mohave Desert).
10: Days for a ‘normal’ person’s trip through this region

 

11: Teepees seen at wayside tourist traps in Arizona
3: Tyrannosaurus Rex seen at wayside tourist traps in the Petrified Forest

Teepees; photo by Mike Girard


292: Songs listened to from 3 iTunes playlists
289: Songs sung at top of lungs (the last 15 minutes was quiet)
146: Number of songs danced-to while driving

 

25: Ounces of espresso consumed
16: Ounces of Thompson seedless raisins consumed
4: Green chili and tricolor quinoa turkey burgers consumed
0: Other food products consumed

 

Million: Ocatillo & Cholla cactus within 30 miles of the AZ-CA border (as far as the eye could see)
Quarter million: Joshua & Yucca trees within 30 miles of the AZ-CA border (as far as the eye could see)

Cholla (left, by mvcornelius); Ocatillo (right, by Sandy Slaymaker)


3: Conversations with friends
3: Dropped cell phone calls

 

0: Facebook check-ins
4: Email check-ins
0: Emails returned
17: Siri-dictated texts sent

 

5000: Wind turbines in Tehachapi Wind Farm that provide energy needs to 350,000 people annually
100s: Commercial airlines parked in graveyard of Mohave Air & Space Port, from where Richard Branson launched ‘Space Ship One’

Tehachapi Wind Farm; photo by Marcin Wichary


114: Highest temperature in Mohave Desert
31: Degrees (Fahrenheit) drop after a 10-minute monsoon-like downpour

 

2: Accidents seen that were probably fatal (one flipped car on fire, one motorcycle)
2: Times slowed below the posted speed limit

 

0.5: Lanes the car was thrown (once) by a heavy gust of wind
1: Single syllable word blurted out loud (to said gust of wind)

 

27: Mile-long train seen ferrying a gazillion cubic tons of goods in double-stacked Maersk shipping containers
1200: Semi-trailer trucks passed along a 120-mile stretch of I-5 in CA after dark

Double-stacked train; photo by Rennett Stowe


1: Bird seen crashing into car in front of me
0: Birds seen crashing into cars in front of me in my entire lifetime

 

1: Number of cows seen running in front of a power plant
9: Number of minutes spent smiling at the sight

 

1: Apocalyptic sky over Barstow with a freaky-day-glow-orange sun
24+: Cars destroyed by a brush fire that jumped the highway near Victorville and caused the sky to look Armageddon-y

 

8: Different types of clouds (cumulus, stratus, nimbostratus, cirrus, cumulonimbus, altocumulus, stratocumulus, cirrocumulus)
1: Photo taken while driving (see final photo)

Name those clouds; photo by Pat Hayes


6559: Elevation in feet of home in Albuquerque (NM)
243: Elevation in feet of home in California (CA)

 

72: Degrees Fahrenheit on departure from NM
73: Degrees Fahrenheit on arrival in CA

 

610: Elevation in feet of Mohave Desert (on my I-40 route)
7320: Elevation in feet of Continental divide in Arizona (on my I-40 route)

 

210: Minutes spent wishing for driving glasses
210: Minutes driven after dark

 

180: Minutes spent playing this ‘by the numbers’ game after dark
0: Minutes spent playing this ‘by the numbers’ game during daylight
362: More stupid and silly ‘by the numbers’ minutiae that crossed my mind

 

1: AirBnB guest left in my Albuquerque house
1: Person greeting me with open arms on the curbside at midnight in the East Bay

Near Barstow, California; photo by Kim Grant


Interests:

At A Glance

Price Range:
budget
Most Suited to:
single
couples
Season:
winter
spring
summer
fall
Length:
day
weekend
longer

Comments, Tips & Hints

Login

You need to login to favorite a post.

Need to sign up? Create an account here.

Forgot your password? Reset your password here.