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Trip Report: Dixon to Jerome

I really did not mean to take THIS long in writing about the trip, I honestly did not. I have another post about what I’ve learned about long distance dog rescue, and the things I have learned about other aspects- but…I want to get this out, first.

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I realized at some point that Jim had programmed the most awesome radio stations ever into the sat. radio. This struck me as an insanely thoughtful thing to do and for some reason, just touched me really deeply- but I am kind of weird with the things that do that: it was just one of those little things that meant a lot. I mentioned before in my now defunct (One of…god, I do not know how many) personal blogs- but Arizona is a place that lives in my soul as a sort of home.  (If you’re that curious and don’t know- I do keep a current personal blog. The varying ones here and there that I’ve abandoned, I have usually done so because I’m a flippy fucker that grows out of even the way I express myself at times. I’m in a near constant state of change and I’m not sorry for it.) I say sort of, because I’m really not the kind of person that ever plants roots- I have several locations that come close, and Arizona’s definitely one of them. These places usually have significance because of some life changer event that occurred, permanently burning the place into my heart in ways time doesn’t remove. Just seeing the first hints of the Verde Valley feels like a weight lifts from my shoulders and I can breathe easier. So, when Jim said he would send us to rescue these dogs: I was all in.

First off, we head out- and Steven promptly zonks. Thomas promptly zonks. This is a good thing.

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Steven had been excitedly babbling about getting to see the city where he was born- though I feel relatively sure he has before. Both boys were passed out when the sky opened up and sheet rain began. Lightening was just zig-zagging everywhere, and it was actually quite lovely, if not a little scary. At one point, we could not see at all, and we ended up at this awesome but lonely truck stop restaurant. I noted the ashtrays on the table and told Kurt, “That’s the kinda place you fall in love, overnight. You know, having coffee and talking, not wanting to go home in the morning.”

Because this is the kind of random thing that occurs to me all the time. I knew when I fell in love with him in a place not too dissimilar. He took me to Gingham’s in Saint Louis, we talked about aliens, ghosts, shadow people, conspiracies and all sorts of random things. By the end of the night, driving back in the wee small hours of the morning, all I could think was, “I can’t believe I thought he was a flake. I can’t believe how wrong I was about this guy. Oh, sweet jesus, am I in love? Holy shit, I’m in love. I need to get home. I need to write a poem. NOW.”

So, seeing the lonely truck stop restaurant made me smile. It made me smile because for the first time ever, I felt like I’d hit some weird thresh-hold of normalcy. A family vacation. A weird one, but, such a normal thing. Kids loaded up, Dad at the wheel, Mom fumbling with a map. I kept saying that- how odd it was to be doing something so normal, even if it was in the abnormal way we always do. I have always had a peculiar fascination with “normal”- it’s like this Norman Rockwell-esque place I sometimes get an urge to visit.

Save, our destination was the Jerome Grand Hotel, and that, well, isn’t your usual family vacation. It should be.

So, we get to Oklahoma and well…yeah.

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Paying for the privilege of driving on some of the shittiest roads known to man.

But then I saw these billboards for a place with buffalo and cows. I love cows. There were, indeed, buffalo and cows.

Sort of.

Mooooo Cow. On the road. This is the same moo cow that, well...appears in lots of things.
Mooooo Cow. On the road. This is the same moo cow that, well…appears in lots of things.
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Okay, I was totally pleased to get a longhorn cow, making the "DERP" face.
Okay, I was totally pleased to get a longhorn cow, making the “DERP” face.
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Not so derpy, now.
Not so derpy, now.
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I adore these birds. It was hollering at Kurt, whistling, making funny noises- begging for food. When we didn't have any, it seemed really sad, then it pranced away.
I adore these birds. It was hollering at Kurt, whistling, making funny noises- begging for food. When we didn’t have any, it seemed really sad, then it pranced away.
While looking over its shoulder, sort of making these sullen, "Screw you guys!" noises. Hilarious.
While looking over its shoulder, sort of making these sullen, “Screw you guys!” noises. Hilarious.

Going further, I would just like to know:

What the heck is with this water tower?!
What the heck is with this water tower?!
Yet another cow. A very happy cow.
Yet another cow. A very happy cow.

We missed the exit to shoot down to Eureka Springs because we were talking- and then, we got all turned around on the turnpike. It ate up about a half hour, maybe forty-five minutes of time.

We decided to stop to stretch, update people about our whereabouts because the southern Missouri storms had been pretty bad, when, we got to Stroud, OK. That is where we found out that we had just missed a horrible tornado.

Sunrise over some trucks in Stroud.
Sunrise over some trucks in Stroud.

Moving on, I have to say that the Texas panhandle looks like something out of an Apocalyptic movie.

There are some very cool abandoned buildings, though.

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And dust devils
And dust devils
Lots of dust devils.
Lots of dust devils.
...but even the locals do not like the panhandle...
…but even the locals do not like the panhandle…
Thomas is unimpressed.
Thomas is unimpressed.
Slowly, the scenery begins to change as we go into New Mexico...
Slowly, the scenery begins to change as we go into New Mexico…
...but more dust devils. :)
…but more dust devils. 🙂
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I have a thing about cars. I do not like them. However, I have learned that if I watch the scenery, the anxiety goes away. As I was, I noticed a tiny little abandoned church, complete with this amazing rusted little bell and a single grave in the back. You can’t see it here, but I squealed, delighted, and asked to pull over.

When we pulled over to the service road, the church was nowhere to be found. Steven and Kurt both made fun of me a little, saying maybe I’d seen some kind of psychic impression. Nope. Turned out the church was behind a small ghost town, which was populated by some really scary people in a place that looked like something out of Devil’s Rejects.

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Complete with nifty old cemetery...
Complete with nifty old cemetery…
This was an old store. On the other side of the store was where the people lived. If you could call it that. All I knew, was I am a nursing mom, I've seen this movie and I wanted to beat feet on out.
This was an old store. On the other side of the store was where the people lived. If you could call it that. All I knew, was I am a nursing mom, I’ve seen this movie and I wanted to beat feet on out.
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The bugs going through OK and Texas were atrocious. >_<
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The rest of the trip was rather uneventful, apart from some very interesting home made cigarettes at Chief Yellow Horse’s Roadside…big assed hole in the rocks and tourist trap.

And the Questionable Chicken. But the Questionable Chicken was very quickly dealt with.

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Jerome and Tombstone get their own posts, and further details/photos of the trip to come. 🙂

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