For my summer vacation this year, I wanted to do what one good friend of mine called the “most American thing possible”: a road trip.
My friend Jack had a writer’s residency in Los Angeles, and we had been talking about checking out New Orleans for a while, so we decided to bridge the two cities by way of interstate.
Along the way, we’d check out parts of America I’d never visited: the open Southwest of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
I didn’t expect to find sea lions, stalactites, and a guitar-playing horse along the way — but they turned out to be key characters in our adventure.
On my first full day, I woke up to a book and a view of Los Angeles's famous Venice Beach. It's the sort of thing a guy could get used to.
I was on the trip with my friend Jack, pictured right. Southern California native (and former BI Science team member) Leslie took us on a nature expedition in Malibu.
I had never been to the desert. The peaks of Red Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona, were breathtaking.
We pushed on to the curiously named town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. It's as arid as it is bohemian.
The highlight of the drive was stopping to descend into the Carlsbad Caverns, which go 1,000 feet deep into the Earth.
We continued east the next day. When the gas stations started becoming crawfish-themed, we knew we're getting into Gulf Coast country.
We finally made it to New Orleans. Our first night in town, we met Anna, who lived in a camper on Frenchman Street. She played Nina Simone and sold us dark n' stormies.
But the muffalettas -- a traditional New Orleanian sandwich made with olive salad and Italian meats -- were even better.
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