When I bought the car from him, it had over-sized rear wheels and air jacks in the back to give it a street dragster look. I had the foresight to change the rear tires to normal sized ones, but used the air shocks to off set the weight of the traveling cargo. There was a car stereo in it....a top of the line, 8 Track Tape player that was wired to two box speakers that sat on the back seat. No, really. I know what you are thinking: Why the HELL would YOU buy this car?
At the time, finding anything that I knew would get from Louisiana to California without breaking down for under two thousand dollars, was a miracle. So, "The Lizard King" (after Jim Morrison of The Doors) was born.
Prepared for a long trip, we had a faux-leather case with 8 Track tapes including The Beatles, The Doors, and this:
|This, factory-sealed, now goes for just under $10,000...can you imagine?|
We drove before sun up on our first day, my brother and me, speeding past swampland along the I-10, westbound. Again, this was WAY before anyone had a GPS, so we relied on a AAA Triptik map (a narrow, spiral-bound detailed map that you get free as a member of the Auto Club). Hotels, gas stations, and even some speed traps were indicated in the pages and it was gratifying every time we would flip a page - another 50 miles behind us.
Being from Louisiana, we were flat-landers. Yes, I had been to the Great Smokey Mountains on a trip once, but the experience of driving anywhere that wasn't flat was relatively new to us. When we arrived in Kerrville, Texas we were amazed by the rolling green hills and the sheer beauty of the place. It was late, and we decided to stay the night.
|Beautiful shot of Kerrville, TX by Tim Lookingbill|
|Unfortunately, these are the only "Monsters" in today's entry.|
That day we drove across the rest of Texas, and drove, and drove, and drove. Once you get past Dallas, the Texas landscape becomes flat and dry. The state is so large that, when you are 18 and can't wait to be on the West Coast, it can become disheartening to drive across.
By the time we got to the border town of El Paso, we were celebrating. We had put one, very large State between us and Louisiana and it only took two days! We pushed on to Las Cruces, New Mexico and thus ended our second day of driving.
The third day took us through Western New Mexico and Arizona. We had the STAR WARS 8-Track playing and it was coincidentally on John Williams' music for the Tatooine desert while we drove through mesas and buttes in awe and the massive rock outcroppings.
|To a Southern Boy, this is alien territory!|
We had made it. No cell phones, no credit cards, no GPS, just foolish youth and a head full of ambition.