We hit the road from the Grand Canyon pretty early in the morning, eager to get further east and closer to family and friends who were waiting in Oklahoma. The original plan was to stop for the night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The scenery was calm and we were in good spirits.

A couple hours into the drive, we were making good time and I realized we were going to get into town pretty early in the afternoon. Our lovely greyhound, Howard, had not been enjoying the long, hot days of driving. Taking this into account, I came up with the hair-brained idea of pushing on through, making a cannonball 16-hour run to Oklahoma. Like the Beastie Boys song “No Sleep Til Brooklyn”, our mantra for the drive became “No Sleep Til OK.”

We listened to the Navajo radio station as we cruised through Navajo Nation. At lunch time we drove along Route 66 and stopped to eat in the sleepy town of Gallup. The town has a small, quaint strip with lots of old time motel signs. The train station, which has only a couple trains pass through each day, has a small cafe and I ordered sandwiches from some Native American girls working there. We made a picnic under a tree and enjoyed a cool breeze.

It was back into the car for the final push. We crawled into Texas at night and were greeted by the overwhelming stench of an industrial feedlot. It was disgusting and made for some good, deep late-night conversation about the industrial food system.

Eventually we needed to stop to eat and recharge for the final wee hours. Neither of us wanted to get near meat after the feedlot, so we choose a 24-hour Waffle House. I have never been to the chain before, and it’s definitely gross, processed food. But it was straight out of 1970 and it was one of the few places open at midnight. I can’t say I will eat there again, but the bad coffee and pecan waffle I had was enough to sustain me.

We rolled into Stillwater, Oklahoma, as the sun was rising. All was still except our humming Subaru crossing the wide open plains. We pulled in the driveway, crawled into bed and slept for a blissful ten hours.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson