This December, a good friend called expressing his interest in a Buenos Aires bird hunting trip. This particular friend and I get together two or three times a year and always manage to find an adventure to leap head first into. The trek to BA and South America never materialized for various reasons and schedules, but I was elated when he called a few weeks ago and said he had a week off and wanted to drive.
With that we booked flights out to Vegas, secured a BMW 330 convertible and headed off on an adventure into the American Southwest. The trip started out rocky when the rental company informed us that the previous customer had totaled our Bimmer and we had been relegated to a Mustang GT Convertible. We weren’t thrilled about the vehicular curveball but, life is short, and we quickly made the best of it. After some gratuitous haggling, we hopped in, dropped the top and headed for free pastures like Thompson and Kerouac before us.
The Hoover Dam, a snowy hike through the Grand Canyon, top down in 40 degree temperatures with 90 knots of wind chill, watching Flagstaff co-eds bar hopping, locking the keys in the trunk at Monument Valley only to find them in a garbage can, sleet and windswept rain down 163 to Phoenix where we were greeted with a hot steam and a swim at the Ritz, heading west through the Painted Desert and a magnificent sunset to greet us back in Vegas just as the lights were in full bloom. Full circle, hours of conversation, those beautiful girls working at the In and Out in Kingman, Arizona, and Jack White blasting through the speakers of our trusty American steed. It’s all part of the cleansing process needed to shake off that dirty Manhattan air for myself and the pressures of the music industry for my pal.
Funny thing is most of the people we saw out there were foreigners. If you’re an American, you owe it to yourself to shred the fabric of your trappings and see the land of the Navajo, the Duke and all the rest that crafted that original tale of rugged individualism. There is no place on earth like the American Southwest and penetrating it at ninety miles an hour will revitalize the soul and serve as a high octane reminder of what it means to be free.
Two good friends, one V8 convertible and the great wide open… there’s nothing quite like it.