“Nobody gonna take my car, I’m gonna race it to the ground…Nobody gonna beat my car, it’s gonna break the speed of sound.”
There is nothing like a road trip, and this one had me stoked. This stretch, El Paso to Tucson, was a chance to really unwind. 330 miles of mostly nothing, mostly straight Interstate 10 across a big chunk of the desert southwest, the land of Billy the Kid and Geronimo.
Snippets of song seem to describe the trip so perfectly, starting with Deep Purple. Heading west from Las Cruces, things really open up. Sixty miles of nothing until Deming. Every time you glance at the speedometer you’re going just a little faster and faster, grinning and singing louder and louder. Of course, even going really, really fast, it’s a long drive. Longer than Highway Star. You’ll need more tunes, and driving through the quiet emptiness of southern New Mexico, you begin to understand the chorus that’s been running through your mind:
“I’ve been to the desert on a horse with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain. In the desert you can remember your name ‘cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.”
One of the best parts of a road trip is the solitude. Time to mull things over. Time to clear the air. Time to test your memory of song lyrics, apparently. And, oddly enough, time kind of flies. Suddenly past Lordsburg, I’m getting into my old stomping grounds. Soon, I-10 would carry me thorough the Chiricahua and Dragoon Mountains, and I would be stopping for my favorite roadside attraction. Dad would never let us stop and see it but, by golly, I will.
“The Thing ahead sixty miles, do not miss. Not for the squeamish or depressed, not for the unbelievers truly obsessed. Something you just don’t wanna miss.”
It’s funny how music and road trips just go together. Inevitably, you’ll find lyrics that seem to have been written just to memorialize this trip, this moment so you can carry it with you and relive the emotions whenever the song comes on the radio or the lyrics creep into your mind. One last bend around Benson, and we’re nearly there.
“Did I dream you were a tourist in the Arizona sun?”
Though a native, I visit now as a tourist and, ironically, find myself doing many of the stereotypical tourist things I once ridiculed. I take myself to all the places I used to take visiting family, even if only to be sure they’re still there and still as I remember. (It’s hit and miss on both counts.)
What are your favorite road trips and favorite road trip tunes? Let us know in the comments below!
Songs in order of appearance (with You Tube links!):