Robin’s note: when I decided to move from Florida to California, I had a decision to make about my car, a four-year-old Volvo V-40 wagon. I had driven across the United States once before in an Audi with my cats, and I didn’t relish doing it again, with or without feline company. Then, my sister and her husband volunteered to drive the car for me, allowing me to go on ahead by air (see my letter to Richard Branson regarding the fun I had on that trip!).
Thus it was, my Swedish car made the cross-country trip without me. With just 25,000 miles on her odometer and two relatives taking turns at the wheel, the sprightly Swede hit the road and, upon her arrival in California, she filed this report.
“You are now leaving the Florida Panhandle and headed across the Louisiana causeways. Two words: cruise control.”
“Finally stopped for a drink—hey, I get 31 MPG on the highway so I don't have to stop to refresh that often. Those African violets in the back are my owner’s idea of moving something for sentimental reasons. As if.”
“A stop at Southern Produce, east of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to purchase the usual agricultural products that will later be confiscated at the California border.”
“I had always wanted to see the mighty Mississippi. Unfortunately, excitement-wise, when you cross this particular bridge you go from Louisiana to … Louisiana. Not much to write Stockholm about.”
“Aargh. Scary topiary alligators. And we aren’t even at Disney!”
“Everything is bigger in Texas.”
"Everything except gas prices. We only paid $1.71 per gallon here in the Lone Star State.”
"From Swedish stars, Greta, and Ingrid, etc., I know of Rodeo Drive, but in Pecos, Texas?"
"I stopped in Roswell, N.M. to see if I could speed up the trip by hitching some kind of other-worldly ride. But the closest thing to strange, was that street lamp. (But now I do have a missing half day I can’t account for.)"
"Those two words again. Doze and drive."
"Then, near sunset, we had contact with this unidentified flying object. And in this part of New Mexico, the speed limit is 80 MPH, so we really were flying."
"You can’t travel the West without falling in love with it, just a little bit."
"What remains of an old Route 66 bridge, in New Mexico. I sure wish Buz and Tod had gotten their hands on my wheel."
"Whew. It was all downhill from here."
"Nice to know at least some native Americans have found a market for their traditionally made products."
"Ariziona? 911? Uh, excuse me, but I think I have a dinosaur stuck to my front window."
"Don’t go off the road here. Those mesas look like Mystery Mountain where, legends say, old prospectors go missing."
"Speaking of old prospectors: didn’t these fellas just step into my shot from TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE? Looks like Fred C. Dobbs’ has lost his burros again. (By the way, never call a very small burro a burrito. I found that out the hard way.)"
"Eureka! The Golden State at last. Except … "
"... This is what happens when you try to transport geraniums across state lines. Now how in the world did they know we planned to smoke them?"
"After three thousand miles I’m still in tune. Here’s a California bungalow near where I will be living (not my own). Take it from a Swede: you Americans have a really nice, big country, with some mighty fine roads."
Photos by Kimberly.