we’d been driving for 11 days. we all wanted to be jack kerouac. east through albuquerque, san antonio, houston. a few days in new orleans. then up through mississippi. and back across the panhandle towards northern arizona.
we arrived at the grand canyon as the sun was setting and set up camp along the southern rim. we were soon surrounded by the cool night air and the company of other travelers. among them were two young professionals. they’d been riding across the country on motorcycles and were now on their way back to san francisco. they were dirty. tanned. and laughed easily.
exchanging stories over a fire and our last cans of beans, we talked about out-talking a speeding ticket outside wylie, texas. and how we stumbled upon a native american powwow when camping in red rock, and hearing a drum circle pounding until the morning hours. and racing up highway 666 in new mexico and climbing a fence at 4 am to stand on the four corners monument. (swearing we saw a UFO.) and passing a spot in amarillo—the home of the free 72 oz. steak. eat it all up, honey, and it’s on the house.
soon the motorcycle men were talking to eachother in whispers. they were debating whether their companion, bill—who we could hear snoring at their neighboring campsite—could do it. within a few minutes, they’d decided. they had to go. they now had something important on the agenda. they had to ride back to amarillo to see if bill’s gastrointestinal system could conquer 72 oz. of cow.
our guests said their good nights. and we were left smiling in front of our fire. bellies full. content. fighting sleep until until the last embers finally flickered out.