Sunday 15 August 2010

10.55 to Yuma

My day begins in San Diego and needs to end in Phoenix. That means a fair bit of driving - 360 odd miles of it in fact. And all of them on freeways, which are tedious and tiresome.

My plan is to get on with it - an early start (well, before check out anyway), foot down, knock off some miles quickly, and stop for lunch in Yuma, just inside Arizona. I download some Metallica to get me on my way, and am headbanging my way along the Interstate when Wherever I May Roam comes on. You don't need me to describe the scene inside the Camaro:

And the road becomes my bride
I have stripped of all but pride
So in her I do confide
And she keeps me satisfied
Gives me all I need

And with dust in throat I crave
Only knowledge will I save
To the game you stay a slave

Roamer, wanderer
Nomad, vagabond
Call me what you will

But I'll take my time anywhere
Free to speak my mind anywhere
And I'll redefine anywhere

Anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home

And the earth becomes my throne
I adapt to the unknown
Under wandering stars I've grown
By myself but not alone
I ask no one

And my ties are severed clean
Less I have the more I gain
Off the beaten path I reign

Round about this time, I spot a black and white car in the rear view mirror, bearing down upon me with notable urgency. The red and blue lights on its roof are flashing frantically. Fucking Metallica.

Officer Hernandez is actually very nice. He clocked me doing 95 from the other side of the freeway, and had been hooning it for the last ten minutes in an effort to track me down. He writes me out a ticket for Travelling in excess of 70mph and advises me to slow down a little.

I Watch as all the cars I have passed in the last half hour tootle on past. Eventually I resume my journey, and reluctantly engage the cruise control at a seemingly pedestrian 79mph. This is intolerably boring, until I observe something interesting to the south. A thin black ribbon is meandering across the desert. It's the fence - the one that separates the USA from Mexico. And it is heavily patrolled.

The freeway is barely a hundred yards from the frontier at some points. And so they have roadblocks, to check that you don't have a stray Mexicano clinging to your rear axle, or small children hidden in the footwell. A combination of the car and my accent encourage a little further research:
-You rented a Camaro? Awesome. V6 or V8?
-V6, not that it matters since I can't do more than 80.
-Bro, you can drive as fast as you like in that thing; just don't get caught.
Wise words, but a little too late in the day. I stick Simon and Garfunkel back on the stereo, adjust the cruise control up to within five of the limit and carry on where I left off. You know it's Sad but True...

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