Heading East by Southeast

Boyleing Points

In my usual Jed Clampett attire, I loaded up the truck and moved towards Beverly – Road, that is. I told the GPS to avoid a massive storm and tornadoes beating the hell out of the Midwest and get me to Brooklyn or Queens where it’s a winter I recognize.

After a few weeks in Arizona, I had to get home and I really wanted to avoid the mayhem I tasted in Amarillo when ice and snow caused trucks to slide into gullies like falling bowling pins.

So, I headed towards Marfa, Texas. Oh, wait. My quick review of Arizona as a winter getaway is a rave. I’m a full DFD: down for the desert. Added bonus: you don’t see anyone from Rockaway. I mean, you go to Florida, and it feels like you’re in Stop and Shop. Don’t get your Depends in an uproar, I’m only kidding my snowbirded friends.

In Arizona, you might wake up to chilly weather. It might be 30 degrees at 9 a.m. but it climbs about ten degrees an hour until it’s 70 or so. You start off the day by thinking you’ve made a big mistake coming here but three hours later you’re in heaven. It helps improve your empathy skills. It’s the best of both worlds. Each morning, for about three hours, you feel the pain of your frozen Rockaway friends and by afternoon you’re sharing screenshots of the weather channel with your friends in Florida.

You know, once you leave New York, no matter where you go, everything is twenty minutes away.

Which is perfect. But you know what else is everywhere? Those six or eight lane commercial strips lined with franchises. And when those places become popular, the twenty minutes is more like 35 and 40. Those traffic lights on those six-lane commercial strips? The seasons change faster. 

Anyway, enough about Arizona  – I want to keep it a secret, like Rockaway.

I headed to Marfa, Texas, 640 miles away, with an overnight stop in Lordsburg, New Mexico. The whole ride home was going to be about 3,000 miles. Lots of people say, that’s a lot of driving. You know what’s a lot of driving? Driving through Rockaway and then through Long Beach. Driving to a CYO game up Woodhaven on a Sunday night. Driving through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru. Those drives will kill you.

The open highway? Piece of cake. And the things you see. Irrigation sprinklers that look like darning needles or dragon flies and wooden weather vane windmills that might be a hundred years old and single oil rigs on small properties which looked new enough to be still making some Jed Clampett some dough. In Louisiana, you see airboats in the middle of fields, and you start to wonder what the –and then you realize they’re ready to go when that field floods. Which it will. Down in the bayou.

Where was I? Oh, Texas is so big it doesn’t have internet. At least it didn’t for a couple hundred miles. I was lost but I wasn’t. I had no GPS but since the road had no exits or turn-offs, I made the bold choice to keep driving. Having no internet, no podcasts, nothing to listen to, made me long for sound of connecting to the internet and AOL with a 56k modem.

See, the road is good; it’s the staying that can be bumpy. Especially tonight in a Best Western in Mississippi. I think the cops just took somebody out of a room two doors down. Lots of mo-fos flying; radios too loud. If you don’t hear from me again, I was in room…

By Kevin Boyle

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