Day 10: Flagstaff to Broken Arrow 

That night, I dreamed about the Invisible Man, but he had gone camping. He still wore all the clothes and a hat, you just couldn't see him... The Motel 6 phone woke me up at 5:30 Wednesday morning (Flagstaff time) with the recorded voice of Tom Bodette: "Hi, this is Tom Bodette, and you just won ten million dollars! Just kidding." I showered, packed up my stuff, and stopped at a convenience store for $20 of gas before heading out. (I also got an Arizona Lottery ticket.) After some quick calculations, I figured I'd be home about midnight.  
I left Flagstaff and headed out onto the open road under a brilliant sunrise--which was right in my face. My face was pretty fuzzy by then. I hadn't shaved in over a week, I was all rumpled from the road, and I probably looked a little haggard. Just the, the radio started playing an Alice Cooper song...  How you gonna see me now / Please don't see me ugly babe / 'Cause I know I let you down / In oh so many ways / How you gonna see me now / Since we've been on our own / Are you gonna love the man / When the man gets home...?  It may have been the crack of dawn in Arizona, but I was going by Oklahoma time, and it was 8:52 when I passed Canyon Diablo. On a different day, I may have stopped at Exit 239 to take a picture of the world's largest map of Route 66, but this wasn't the day. I needed to get home.  

I stopped at the Love's truck stop in Joseph City for a quick sandwich, and then I was on the road again. I probably could have stopped a bunch of places to take pictures, but that wasn't on the agenda. I did stop at the exit right before Dinosaur Park to get a picture of the "dinorama", but just because of the sign in front of it: "Keep off Dinosaurs." The classic rock station I found on the radio helped get me down the road. At the Houck, Arizona Exit 348, I found myself thinking of Marta Houk, whom I had not seen since college; I hoped she was okay. At 10:59, I crossed the New Mexico border. New Mexico changed the numbering of Highway 666, but not all the signs, and I got a picture of an unchanged exit sign. More trees appeared, and I crossed back over to the Atlantic side of the Continental Divide at 11:46.  

At Exit 140, just after 1 PM, I stopped at the Route 66 Casino and got another $10 of gas. I was still on the Laguna Indian Reservation, but it was nice to see they were doing all right. Just west of Exit 153, eastbound, you top a rise and can see Albuquerque spread out across the whole valley. I crossed the Rio Grande River at 1:30. Albuquerque has decorated its bridges with southwest colors and stripes of turquoise; I wondered why more cities didn't do that. The colorful hills east of Albuquerque brought a fierce headwind and a big orange truck that didn't want me to pass him. I did anyway.  
At just after 4 PM, I stopped in Tucumcari for some gas. The ATM, however, said I had "insufficent funds" when I tried to take out $40. What the hell? I managed to eventually get out $20 gas money, but the transaction left me with only $17 in the bank account. I didn't understand what was going on. (It turned out to be a bank accounting error, which I couldn't fix until after I got home.) I crossed the border into Texas at straight up 5 PM. All the way across New Mexico, the 373 miles of I-40 is known as the Purple Heart Trail. I crossed it in exactly 6 hours. It was still daylight. I figured I had another 8 hours to go. Despite some road work, I rolled through Amarillo right after 6. I really wanted to be over the Oklahoma border before nightfall. If I got tired, I figured I could stop at some roadside park and take a little nap, but I wasn't spending another night in a motel. Interstate 40 takes 176 miles across the panhandle of Texas, and I made Oklahoma by 7:46. About an hour later, I stopped for $15 of gas in Clinton. I had to hold a few dollars back: I knew the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority would demand its pound of flesh.  

It was a cloudy night, but Mars shone through the haze, guiding me eastward to home. I made Oklahoma City by 10, and hit the Turner Turnpike by 10:30. I made good time, and rolled into Tulsa just before midnight. The driveway was a welcome sight. I was home! When I finally came to a complete stop, I looked at the time: 12:13 AM. As tired as I was, it still took me a while to wind down. I updated my online journal , and finally fell asleep about 1 AM. It was the first time in almost two weeks that I'd slept in my own bed.  

The sign says "Keep Off Dinosaurs"
Get your kicks on Route 666
Unpacking Satori the day after returning
Prologue --Day 1 --- Day 2 --- Day 3 --- Day 4 --- Day 5 --- Day 6 --- Day 7 --- Day 8 --- Day 9 --- Day 10 -- Epilogue
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Gerlach, Nevada
Last Updated: December, 2003
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