Sayre, Oklahoma to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas

Wednesday October 25

This is the WEST. No doubt about it now, nope, this is it. I have taken to calling myself a decadent daughter of the effete east – it has a ring to it, n’est ce pas? Everything is new and strange! It is very exciting! Travel is amazing at showing you what a complete fucking idiot you are. I am very much enjoying becoming a gaping dingbat who knows nothing.

I spent the night in a city park in Sayre, Oklahoma and it was quite lovely and, yo, FREE. I like free. There were even geese – the obligatory geese! – and a donkey! Well, I never actually saw the donkey. I just heard it. It was either a donkey having some kind of, jesus, I don’t know, deeply insane paranormal experiences or horrific indigestion or possibly it was an Old One opening the Hell Gate again. The noises were unreal. I honestly couldn’t tell what the hell they were except I’m pretty sure there was an occasional hee haw in there. Maybe the Men in Black have come and gone and zapped my memory already. It sounded like nothing on earth. It sounded so insane, actually, that it didn’t scare me at all. You can’t be afraid of something that surrealistic. I have given up being afraid anyway*, after a bad night of completely unjustifiable and totally ridiculous fear at Lake Thunderbird. The only thing to be afraid of there was the flies. There were a million, million flies and at least one of them is still in the truck. I can’t get rid of him. I’ve named him Jeff** and he’s my little fly frenemy. Every so often – usually after he lands on my arm or my drink – I roll all the windows down real fast and then up again and I cackle, HA JEFF GOT YOU NOW but alas Jeff is too canny for that trick and in about 20 minutes he shows up again. This has gone on now for two complete days on the road. Me and Jeff! We’re eternal frenemies! He wants to go to Hollywood, he says. I plan on going to Hollywood myself!*** So who am I to stand between a fly and his dreams?

The road from Sayre to Amarillo – I-40, I can pretty much deal with the highway every other day – was uneventful except for the windfarms. They are awesome! I shouted happily at them! They were so incredibly cool and gigantic and since the landscape already looks like Mars, these big spinning white TECH OF THE FUTURE turbines just made me feel like I was driving along on another planet. Unlike most of the planets I’ve landed on in 2017, I quite liked this one!

I had to go to Wal Mart in Amarillo. I have personally enriched the evil Walton coffers by about a million dollars so far on this trip and I’m sorry about that, America. We are not the better for them. But, unfortunately, stable door, horse, etc., and also I suck. It’s too easy to go to Wal Mart where I can park Moby and Amelia with no problem, get a new sewer hose**** AND some fleece pants (it was cold this morning, man! I mean cold!) AND a salad for lunch. Plus a ton of other sundry useful articles. Also I’m ingratiating myself for the inevitable night I sleep there, which actually is probably going to be Friday. I have to leave here on Friday – they’re full up with reservations, boo – and the weather is supposed to be ugly, and all the other RV places in and around Amarillo look expensive and sort of silly. SO! It’s either Wal Mart or Sams Club for me! Livin’ large! Maybe they’ll have wifi I can leach off.

I will write more about where I am now tomorrow but for now let me just say it is INSANELY BEAUTIFUL AND FULL ON WESTERN and also the geese couldn’t make it so they sent a whole flock of wild turkeys. The turkeys and I hung out together for an hour or more. It was amazing. They laughed at my jokes. I said things like, “Dinosaur! What the hell do you think you’re doing, getting in the tree? Turkeys don’t go up in trees!” and they chuckled at me and perched in the tree – the very small tree – and ate berries or something out of it. IT WAS GREAT I feel insanely privileged. I took about 100 pictures of turkeys. Close up! This place is so wonderful I can’t hardly believe it. It’s full of small trailers! I talked with a skinny French guy who’s staying in a tent! I took Moby and Amelia down the 10% grade NO PROBLEM and when I got to the bottom I found the campsite and BACKED INTO IT LIKE A BOSS EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NOT A STRAIGHT UP BACKING AT ALL. I rock. I am so impressed with myself. THIS PLACE IS MAGICAL. There are only two problems: there are no bars, down here in the canyon, and I mean that in both senses of the word: no cocktails and NO CEL PHONE SERVICE at all. Which is actually a little scary, like, forget Twitter, I cannot even make a phone call. It is like the dim and distant past we called. . . THE NINETIES. So since I survived those I will probably survive this. And, problem number two, the bugs. I have only ever seen mosquitos and flies like this twice before in my life: Edisto Island and Assateague Island and both times I fled. I’m covered with bites. The mosquitoes just laughed at my hippie repellent and the flies? Dear God. I’m starting to think that ending up here, which I thought was mostly by chance (well, because this guy I talked to at Spring Hill recommended it so strongly) may have just been Jeff’s secret plan all along.

FOOTNOTES! WE GOT YOUR FOOTNOTES RIGHT HERE!

* Fear! I bought a bat. Yup. A T-ball bat, so it’s not as big as a full on baseball bat, but it’s wood and it’s under my mattress now. If my bartending daughter can stare down a room full of rowdy drunks secure in the knowledge that there’s a bat under the bar, then I can face my weird 4 am noises with a bat under the bed.

** You know why I named him Jeff. Yes, yes, you do.

*** I want to take a selfie with the Hollywood sign like every other idiot in America. Also, I want to sleep with Nicolas Cage. This seems to be a high bar for an overweight fifty something from North Carolina but you know what? You know what class of women Nicolas Cage has probably never slept with? Overweight fifty somethings from North Carolina! It would be novel! I can appeal to his jaded palate! Also I’ve had a crush on him since Valley Girl and, OK, it’s taken a beating lately (dear GOD hellraiser or whatever that awful thing with the flaming motorcycle was) but what the hell, I’m loyal. Which should count for something because Nic, I’m glad you’re paying your bills but dude, seriously?

**** My sewer hose DISAPPEARED. Which means one of three possibilities: 1) I left it at the dump station at Spring Hill, which is very possible except I think I remember putting it in the side storage compartment where it lives and putting my new gloves on top of it. 2) It fell out of the goddamn compartment because the “locks” that are supposed to hold the doors closed do not work for shit. This is the most likely, if awful, and I’m so sorry, back road somewhere in Arkansas or Oklahoma, scenario. I think that may be what happened to my bag of black t-shirts as well – the bottom of that closet goes straight into that storage compartment and I, in my infinite wisdom, removed the little shelf between closet and compartment. GOD DAMN IT. Or 3: somebody stole it. But I seriously, seriously, doubt that because EWWWWWWWW.

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