It was kind of like the Oregon Trail in reverse, but with less life-threatening dangers. We drove 1500 miles, encountering rattlesnakes (rattling roads), lack of food (a dearth of ice cream stores) and middle of the night raids (aka: Soupy, who was not ready to go to bed on the new time zone schedule, and still wanted to play). Thankfully, all the players made it though the whole trip alive! 🙂
Our drive was mostly all business, as we needed to make some serious miles in order to make our Amazon.com start date. We drove on 40 (or, as they say in California, “THE” 40) for days. We started in the dry desert of southern California, entered the high forest in Arizona, and skirted colorful plateaus in New Mexico. Just a bit east of Albuquerque, we realized that we could see way, way into the distance. The flat center of America was all that we could see into infinity.
We could really tell we were in Texas just after we crossed through Amarillo, and changed course to head southeast for Dallas/Fort Worth. Although all the towns in this panhandle area were at least half dead, churches and religious motifs were EVERYWHERE! The most common one is often seen as a metalwork silhouette cutout, and shows a cowboy down on one knee, his horse reverently bowed behind him, both before a large cross. We saw this one in front of churches, businesses, homes, and as a bumper sticker on about a quarter of the cars that passed us. After a summer in the fairly secular land of CA, this was really different!
Because we needed a layover and a break from all the driving, we spent 2 nights outside Petrified Forest National Park. There is a gift shop with a huge parking lot that allows dry camping, and has the best access to the entrance gate. We had to chuckle at their method to appear less dead: multiple late-model cars were parked in clusters on the periphery of the lot, but on closer inspection, they were just decoys, with flat tires and no license plates. Do ducks feel the same humor when they get close to their wooden cousins?
Petrified Forest is a small national park, and we were able to see all the attractions in our one day there. Besides the petrified logs it’s named for, there are also vividly colored sand dune like formations, and a spectacular pink and red area known as the Painted Desert. The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed the sun and sights.
We arrived to our new home just outside Azle, TX, an RV park that’s out in the country, to the northeast of Forth Worth. It’s incredibly basic, with the only amenities being a single washer and dryer, but it’s all paid for by Amazon. Our site backs up to a field that’s quite pretty in the morning and evening light, and since the whole place is other Amazon folks, it’s awfully quiet.
Yesterday we had our orientation for Amazon, and the whole experience was a bit of a culture shock, even though I knew what to expect. From the traffic jams in both directions, to the crush of 4,000 other employees, to the sensory overload of the warehouse, I felt so overwhelmed. I’m glad for the opportunity to make a lot of money in a short period, but I have to admit I’m homesick for the quiet of the mountains.