It was weird to get up the first day of my trip to Burning Man and not be in a hurry. It was Wednesday, August 21st. I couldnít get in to take the test until 8 AM, so there wasnít any point in my rushing things. I left the house at 7:29 and got to the office right when it opened. They put me on a computer right away. It was a 15 minute test. I finished it in under 12 minutes. I had been hoping to be on the road by 10, to avoid the heat of the day. I was out of the parking lot and on the turnpike by 8:36.

It was a cool morning. There was a lot of law enforcement activity on the turnpike. I forgot to fill my canteens before leaving. I also left behind the Jerusalem cross necklace I meant to wear. Once I got to Oklahoma City, I followed I-44 until the turnoff for Interstate 40. I was headed west by 10:15. I figured Iíd get to Texas by 12:30. 

On the news, Bradley Manning got 35 years for leaking classified information. Road construction kicked up red dust everywhere. It was 10:52 when I passed the Cherokee Trading Post at Exit 108. Right after that, I crossed the South Canadian River. It was starting to get hot. I kept thinking I forgot something. My friend Chester sent a farewell text message. The wind powered generators at Weatherford were really spinning in the wind that day. Trees were dancing beside the road. Ponds were dry craters in the ground beside the highway. 

Exit 71 had the other Cherokee Trading Post. I felt like the wind was slowing me down. I noticed high clouds to the southwest. It was just about 12:30, seven miles from the Texas border, when I pulled over in the little town of Erick. Thatís where I stopped to see the Roger Miller Museum. 
The museum was a labor of love, maintained by locals and housed in the first drug store Roger Miller ever visited. I was the only one in the museum that morning, so I pretty much got a personal guided tour. I remembered seeing Roger Miller on TV shows when I was a kid. He appeared on all the musical variety shows and a lot of sitcoms. He always seemed like a regular kind of guy. I did not realize he co-wrote a Broadway musical, "Big River." On the old "Daniel Boone" TV show, he played Johnny Appleseed. 
The museum had awards, mementos, tons of photographs, and Roger Millerís motorcycle. It even had the little hobo statue he used as inspiration when he wrote the song "King of the Road." 
I got some pictures outside, got $20 gas and hit the interstate just after 1 PM. It looked like Iíd make it to Albuquerque by 7:30. The wind was really bouncing me around the road. Huge bales of hay sat in vacant fields. When I got to Shamrock, the former Irish Inn was renamed a bland Motel 6. Vultures circled over a field near the Gray County line. It was 2 PM when I stopped in the rest area. I filled my canteens with water, ate a sandwich, and found my beef jerky. The place was full of cars and trucks. Tourists were taking pictures and walking their dogs. It was 60 miles to Amarillo. It looked like Iíd make it to New Mexico by 4:15. It was just after 2:30 when I passed the big cross at Groom. The Sun was high in the sky. As I approached Amarillo, a police car crossed over from the eastbound lane and pulled in front of me. There was a big peace sign north of the highway at Mile Marker 87.
It was right after 3 PM when I went through Amarillo. The famous Jesus is Lord Travel Center looked closed. I guess no one could have have seen that coming. There were dozens of cars stopped at the Cadillac Ranch as I headed out of town. I stopped at a truck stop and got another $20 worth of gas. That was where the Texas Welcome Center used to be back in 2000 when I took my family on our road trip to the Grand Canyon. Behind the truck stop, the building was hollow shell, halfway torn down.
In all my preparations, I had forgotten to pick up an insurance verification for the van. On the road, I used my smartphone to look up the number for the insurance agency. I called, and asked the nice lady to send the latest verification to me as an email attachment. She said she sent it, but with the delays on the smartphone the email didnít show up. I hoped it would down the road. Somewhere west of Amarillo, Satori clicked over 295,000 miles.
Clouds were picking up. I crossed the Deaf Smith County line at 4:34. Two miles down the road, I crossed over into New Mexico, and into Mountain Time. There seemed to be plenty of daylight left. The wind really got fierce. It was another half hour before I passed San Jon, passing in and out from under cloud shadows. Ten minutes later put me in Tucumcari. I had been on the road for 9 hours. I kept seeing a big truck pulling a boat; the name on the boat was Eesti Laev, which I think means something in Estonian. I made a pit stop in Santa Rosa and got another $20 worth of gas. I had budgeted myself $75 a day to travel on. I was over budget, and still 2 hours from Albuquerque.
Ponds beside the highway were much damper at the higher elevation. The Sun was getting lower in the sky. At 7:14 (Oklahoma time) I passed Clineís Corners. I thought about stopping there to get some gifts to give away on the playa, but I figured there would be someplace else further down the road. Iíd been too preoccupied with planning the trip to think much about gifts. The sky turned overcast. The air got cool. Twenty miles from Albuquerque, the highway plunges into a valley that always freaks me out. It was right after 8 PM when I got to Albuquerque. Traffic seemed light for a Wednesday evening. I breezed through town and got off at Exit 149. There was an RV park Iíd never been to before. It looked comfortable from the highway. The office was closed when I arrived, and the notes outside said it cost $36 a night. I turned around and went to the High Desert RV park, where Iíd stayed before. They charged me $10 for dry camping, and put me in a spot right in front of the office, with easy walking distance to the showers. The clerk let me use the office computer to access my email. I was able to print off two copies of my insurance verification. That was a load off my mind. The clerk wanted to talk about insurance companies, and about speed limits in Montana.
I took a hot shower and called home. After trying all day, I was finally able to post a picture to Facebook from my smartphone. I donít know what the hold-up was. I drove 675 miles that day, and my sitter was all worn out. Darkness fell; the park grew silent and traffic on the interstate even quieted down. I dozed off about 10 PM. I woke at midnight when the full Moon showed up in my windows. I woke again at 4 AM when it got chilly. I bundled up and fell back asleep.
Prologue  Aug. 21  Aug. 22  Aug. 23  Aug. 24 
Sunday  Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday  Monday 
Sept. 3  Sept. 4  Sept. 5  Sept. 6 & Epilogue
 BurningClam.Com    Original material (c)opyright 2013 by Tim Frayser 
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LINKS: Roger Miller  "King of the Road" 
Last updated: September, 2013