“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair. Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air.Up ahead in the distance, I saw shimmering light. My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim,I had to stop for the night.” -The Eagles
These lyrics from Hotel California ran through my head the last time I made the drive from the Mohave to Benicia. The Biscuit and I were coming back from Vegas. I had never done such a long drive by myself and because of the heat, I drove at night.
I traveled solo around the US quite a bit when I worked for Discovery Channel Retail. I also traveled solo in Mexico, London, Paris and Bordeaux and never felt unsafe.
With that said, I’ll admit… I was a little scared about highway 146. It’s the dark desert highway between Barstow and Bakersfield in the middle of no where. Really, nothing but desert. I had visited friends near Barstow along the way and I wasn’t really nervous until they questioned if I really wanted to make that drive alone at night.
Even though I was anxious about doing it, I had made my plans and was committed to making the drive. If you know me, you know that once I commit to something, I do it, so at 12:30 am, off I went. The Biscuit was fast asleep in the back, unaware that I had trepidation about the drive.
I gassed up my truck Dusty and filled my water bottle. Of course, my bottle immediately spilled on my phone. When I tried using my phone, it only crackled and was no useless as a phone. Great. I put my phone over the air vent to let it dry out.
I was however able to text so I texted a friend with my location and my planned route… just in case I disappeared. I was aware that I would not be able to call anyone if I needed to. Biscuit fell asleep almost immediately in the back seat.
When I got onto 146, I had a minor panic attack… but I leaned forward and kept going. After about 15 minutes, my anxiety subsided. I turned up the music and drove on. My friend stayed up with me via texts, letting me know that I was not alone. It made all the difference in the world, knowing that someone was concerned about me.
It took two and a half hours to get to Bakersfield, which was like reaching the Emerald City at 3:00 in the morning. Denny’s never looked so good. Once I got onto Interstate 5, my confidence has returned in full force.
Tonight, I am once again making the nine hour drive from the Mohave to Benicia, this time without the Biscuit. I plan to drive through the night to avoid the heat and traffic. Although Dusty is not feeling her best, I am not worried about the drive. I am confident that I can do it since I’ve done it before. I know I can handle anything that comes my way.
My phone is working properly, I do have AAA and I have good music with me. I will text my location to my friend as I go along. I hope to get texts along the way, just as a reminder that I am not alone on that dark desert highway.