Paco summed up the essence of the Southwest trip. I’ll try and help fill in some holes, and elaborate.

1) I was in D.C. for several weeks. I was staying with a friend, as Paco had mentioned. Her father told me I needed to get a job. It was understandable, freeloading doesn’t set well with anyone, me included. The problem was, by the time I got to D.C. it was June, and all the summer jobs had been taken. I spent hours looking for jobs, and found nothing. Eventually, I got sick of freeloading, and wanted to go home. One particular evening when I was highly disgruntled with my situation, I called Paco to b***h and moan.

“I’m coming home.”

“When?”

“ASAP…”

“We’re leaving for the southwest trip this week, that’d be rad if you could get back and come with us.”

“Where are you going?”

“Bryce canyon, Zion, Vegas, Grand Canyon…”

“My return ticket actually has a plane switch in Las Vegas, maybe I could move my departure date up, and meet you in Vegas.”

Paco checked with his parents, and I called the airline and switched my flight. Before long the plan was set. I would fly into Las Vegas, and he’d pick me up, and we’d go tour the lovely Southwest United States.

I flew from National Airport, to Las Vegas International, arriving about 8:30pm.
When I exited the plane it was like stepping into another world. Slot machines were chiming from every corner, people were coming in and out of planes from multiple gates. It was totally chaotic. I looked for Paco amidst the sea of people. I couldn’t find him. I waited, and waited…no luck. Finally, I went and claimed my baggage. I was just starting to think. “Crap, I might have just gotten off the plane, and gotten myself stuck in Vegas with no way home…what if he doesn’t come?” When I noticed Paco.

We got in his grandma’s old car, and took off for the Circus Circus RV Park.
In the morning we left for Zion.

1) In Zion we walked all over this creek bed. At one point Paco and I jumped into this pool of VERY cold water. I’m not sure why we did it. I think it was a test of manhood or something. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact it was about 100 degrees that day.

2) We went wandering in another creek. The sides, and floors of this creek bed were extremely slippery. You couls hardly take 3 steps without falling. I slipped several times, and bruised my tailbone. It wasn’t fun. Farther down the creek bed Paco noticed something.

“Hey, there’s someone or something up on that rock?”

“Yeah…I think you’re right.”

“Is that a person? I can’t tell.” he said squinting

When we got closer we could see it was a person… A man… A NAKED man.

Honestly, I’ve never felt comfortable around naked men, especially ones who are comfortable with turning their skin into leather under the hot sun, on top of rocks. Paco wasn’t comfortable around them either, so we made quick work of getting out of there.

3) Marco was the slowest milkshake drinker alive in the world at that time. He brought the pain upon himself. There were people that started drinking milkshakes the next day who finished before him.

4) We found this “slot canyon” in a tourist book. It was located at mile marker 134 or something. We drove the car there, parked on the side of the highway, got out, climbed a fence, then walked on Navajo Nation land until we found it. The canyon was AWESOME. We explored it, and took photos for about an hour or two. On our way out we saw some Navajo, they didn’t seem very happy with us being on their land. They referred to us as “Milk” I assume because we were white, not because we were delicious with cookies.

5) Laying out under the stars at the Grand Canyon was remarkable. I’ve never seen that many stars before, or since.

6) What happened in Vegas the second time is worth it’s own story.

7) We stopped at Mono Lake on the way to Bodie, and it was very cool except for the billions of flies everywhere. That was totally disgusting.

8) One afternoon, on a particularly long stretch of highway, Paco and I discussed two possible frightening hallucinations you might have on a stretch of highway like this..

Hallucination #1
The road in front of you is blurred by the heat emanating off the pavement. The temperature, and lack of air conditioning is causing is to sweat. The soothing noise of tires rumbling on the highway practically lulls you to sleep. Just as you nod out of consciousness you notice a bolt of green flash past your front right bumper.

THUDD-DD-DDT

You ran something over.

Now fully awake you pull over to the side of the road, and get out to check. Behind your car about 20 yards back, lying motionless in the middle of the lane is a 2 foot long mass of green. Perplexed, you walk towards it for closer examination. Nearing the object you can see the rise and fall of its chest.

Whatever it is, it’s still alive…barely.

When you get right up to it you notice…you’ve run over Kermit the Frog. Shocked, you stand over him, looking down, watching his struggle for breath. A wheezing noise is coming from his gaping mouth.

He’s trying to communicate.

You get closer.

Shooooot….me….” he rasps

You just stare. He continues.

“Shooooooot…….ME…..”

“SHOOOOOOOT…..ME

This is like Full Metal Jacket you think to yourself. Then you notice you’re carrying a 45 magnum, and it’s loaded.

“Shoooooooot……..ME…….”You can’t just let Kermit suffer, can you?

“SHOOOOOOOT…….MEEEEEE…..”He’s Kermit the Frog! Children love him…you can’t end his life! He might be able to be taken to a vet, or something.

“SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOT……….ME……”

It’s obvious. You’re miles from any form of help, he’d never make it. You have to put him out of his misery. You take the pistol and lower it to his quivering skull. He looks at you glassy eyed, longing to be free from pain. Just as you touch the end of the revolver to his head you here the word.

“no.”

You turn and look, and there is a child there…watching. Your eyes scan your surroundings and you see another child, then another, and another. You’re surrounded by small children, all ready to watch you end the life of their favorite TV Muppet. Kermit isn’t helping matters, his wheezing voice is growing louder, and more impatient.

“SHOOOOOOOOOOOOT…..ME……….”

His green felt body is writhing with the pain of lying on the scorching asphalt. You place the gun back at his skull.

“NO!”

Tears are starting to roll down the cheeks of the children.

Hallucination #2
You’re driving down the same stretch of road. There is nothing but minor hills full of sage brush, Joshua trees, and tumble weeds. You’re scanning the roadside when you notice something running over one of the hills towards you. You stop your car to see what it is. It looks human. You squint, to try and discern what is running through this wasteland.

It’s a small child.

Strangely, he’s not wearing anything but underwear. His underwear is tattered, and dirty. He’s obviously been out in the desert for quite a while. You open the door, to get out. He probably needs your help. As you move to the other side of the car you notice another figure coming over the hill…CHASING the boy.

The figure is shirtless, and his skin is so white it almost glows. You can no hear the whimpers of the boy, he’s only about 100 yards from your vehicle. You hear the faint growls and grunts of the figure chasing him. It’s then you notice the figures flaming red hair.

Wow you think, the last time I saw hair this red it was on Ronald McD-

Oh No..It isn’t?….Is it?

You look closer.

You can see the snarled face of one Ronald McDonald. His white skin beaded with sweat. His hair is matted, and his red face make-up is starting to streak in the hot sun. He is wearing dirty blue jeans, and gaining ground on his young victim.

“NO NO NO HELP!!!” you hear the boy cry.

Wow you never noticed Ronald had red chest hair as well. This is truly disturbing. Just as Ronald is about to grasp hold of the boy,and you’re forced to make a decision, you snap awake, realizing you’ve dozed off at the wheel again.

These are things you might see driving in the southwest.

Overall the trip was very fun. Even if I’m haunted by visions of Ronald McDonald running semi-clothed in the desert.