Two Women in a Car: California to Alabama Day One

… not to mention the cat. This is the start of a seven part series on a road trip I took 30 July to 05 August 2016. A dear friend and fellow writer Debra bought a house in southern Alabama, leaving her California home of forty years. Traveling in her car with her and her cat Loki across the United States was a privilege, an adventure and tasted oh so bittersweet.

30 July 2016 / North Orange County, California to Tucson, Arizona / 473 miles

The Yaris with a Tucson storm at sunset

The Yaris with a Tucson storm at sunset

I woke at 4:00 AM with a groan. Way too early. It took much work to prepare my house for time away and load Debra’s Toyota Yaris. Loki the cat is already not happy with the ride. With howls in the backseat, we head to fill the car with gas and Starbucks for us.

Mist hangs in the warm California morning.

Our Saturday ride is easier without the weekday commuter traffic.  We cross the Arizona border after three hours.  Our first stop is at Flying J, a place Debra’s sister recommended.  Loki, relieved to be free of road noise, revels in a patch of grass.

We couldn’t find the cat leash and smaller carrier, so we stop at Casa Grande’s Petsmart to get a new leash and cardboard carrier. (Later we discovered they’d been left at my house.) Arizonans are nicer than Californians.  Better drivers too.

We see spectacular desert landscapes, sometimes granite tan and sometimes dark gray shale.  Watch endless freight trains on tracks that disappear into the horizon.

My family is moving this month to Arizona, and I’m thrilled to see a sign for Prescott. We arrive in Tucson about 5:00 PM.  We bunk at an inexpensive motel with Saguaro cactus on the lot.  After fish and chips at a local eatery, we see a great sunset, followed quickly by a rainstorm.  Car cleaned!

So knackered.  Time to sleep.

Trip report respectfully submitted by, Michelle K

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About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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2 Responses to Two Women in a Car: California to Alabama Day One

  1. Melissa says:

    So happy to read about your adventures! No vacation in sight for these independent business owners, so I live vicariously through your writing. Can’t wait for your next entry! Sorry this is bittersweet, but I pray you, Debra, and Loki enjoy this adventure!

    • mlknowlden says:

      Thank you for the comment, Melissa! It’s been years since I’ve been on a road trip and this one had adventures. Tough to see a friend go, but thank God for her new home and face time.

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