When the day finally came, I packed up two weeks worth of clothes, a metric shitload of camera equipment, and a 75Mhz Pentium notebook computer. I boarded a Continental MD80 "flying minivan" and took off for Nashville. This was the first time I had ever flown, and I was a bit apprehensive at first. However, the feeling of takeoff was just incredible. They should find a way to make that feeling into an amusement park ride. The rest of the flight is basically like being inside a bus. 

On the runway at Newark International. The skyline of New York is plainly visible on the left side of the image.
The sun sets over the runway at Newark
I landed in Nashville an hour early. The time zone change and the early arrival caused some confusion at first, but eventually the New Mexican native Ethan and I met. There's not any mistaking Ethan. Impossibly tall and thin, with a cowboy hat and boots, even in Nashville he's unmistakable. (Note: As Ethan himself would put it, "I'm too cultured to be a hick". Cowboy is the correct term) We loaded up everything in his gray Ford Tempo and headed out to his place. I met his family and we talked most of the night. We caught a little sleep and then early the next morining, we were on our way west. We packed the car with our junk, and in true "Technologically Enabled" fashion, we had far more electronic and computing equipment packed into the car than petty things such as clothing and food. Unfortunately my corporate cellular phone had not arrived in time for the trip, or we probably would have updated web pages and hopped into the chat rooms while on the road. Actually, maybe that wasn't such an unfortunate circumstance.

Interstate highway travel is pretty much the same wherever you are, so there wasn't much to report on. We were on I-40 the whole way that day. Sometime early in the afternoon in the middle of the Ozarks we stopped for gas and food. At this hillbilly truck stop, there were pay phones with external jacks, so we got out the notebook and surprised everyone on the net with our IRC report from the middle of Arkansas. Arkansas was actually quite scenic, except for the part around Little Rock- yuck, that place is a dump. About all I can say about Arkansas: Lots of swamps on the eastern side, lots of mountains on the western side. Oh, and there's a nuclear power plant there, too. I saw it!

We continued west through Oklahoma and Texas. I learned that night not to leave your hand out the window while driving through Texas, lest your hand collide with one of those Texas-sized grashoppers at 75mph. We continued on I-40 until we got to Route 60, and headed into Clovis where we crashed for the night after 1000 miles of non-stop driving.

Somewhere between Oklahoma and Texas, the green grass and trees gave way to brown ground and wide open sky. Where that was exactly I can't tell, but it was very interesting for an eastern boy such as myself to see this change of landscape.

Click here to review a map of the route from Nashville to Clovis and beyond.

Remember kids, I-40 is your friend.

Day 2 begins here