Winter In The Southwest
Originally, the plan was that Denny would fly back to Michigan from San Francisco and I would hitchhike back. When Denny showed up in his ’53 Chevy all that changed. The car body was in excellent condition and Denny said, ” The engine was as sound as a top, ” but to me it was still a machine, and machines break down. On the road, everything was fine until we reached the California borderline. After fixing a flat tire, and buying two more used tires to carry along with us, we were back on the highway.
In Arizona the mercury dipped to below freezing and the car’s
heater wouldn’t work. By the time we reached Flagstaff, four inches of snow was on the ground. When we entered “no man’s land,” on the other side of Flagstaff, the car’s engine quit. 3 a.m. found us stripping the license plates off the car and leaving it in the desert. We continued on, walking along the cold, deserted highway.
At daybreak, a cat from Cincinnati picked up two freezing, tired,
and hungry hitchhikers, that’d be us. It was not a time for
celebration however. The cat was cross-eyed and couldn’t see.
Pulling back on to the highway he lost control of the car, and it
came to an unanticipated stop. He could not drive straight. At times he would cross lanes, or drive on the gravel shoulder. Then a tire blew, and Denny and I fixed it, but when we started down the highway again, the engine caught on fire. After we put the fire out, we held our breath waiting to see what else could happen. As we approached Albuquerque, New Mexico, the car’s engine blew, and the three of us arrived in the city on foot.
In Old Town (in the center of Albuquerque), Denny and I decided to take a break and do some sightseeing. There were a lot of neat Mexican and Indian boutiques to browse, very nice, but very expensive too. Once we got back on the highway, a very old black ford pick-up truck stopped and picked us up.
The driver, coming out of California, was a freak on a mission. He
was going to Nebraska to deliver ten kilos of marijuana and 200 hits of acid. During the ride, he shared some of his smoke dope with us and when he went north, we continued east in a much better mood than when we started out. While on board, I bought seven hits of acid from him. I figured it was almost New Years’ Eve and the acid might come in handy when friends got together to celebrate, if and when I ever got back to Michigan. Back on the highway, we got a lot of hit and miss rides, all of which saved us from the cold, cold, weather.