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I used to cross the country on US 10 once a year for a long time.  My mother lived in San Antonio and I lived in LA.  I had it down to a fine science.  It took me 22 hours.  Since I was already getting old I had a good time with it.  Using two days to drive and two nights in a hotel etc.  When I was young I just drove the 22 hours straight through.  The last time I did this was 2000 when my mother died and it was not a planned trip and it was in the summer.

When I crossed in 2012, I was astounded at the differences.  And I am going to described them below.

In August 2012, I was driving to confirm my moving back to Texas and to specifically look at property.  I had just really simple luggage and my cat.  He had a carrier.  I kept him loose in the car but with a harness and leash on.  Since it was so hot I could not leave him in the car and I had to go to motels that allowed animals for an extra fee.  To eat, I either took it on the road or stopped at small almost empty cafes and asked if I could bring him in the carrier and put him under my chair etc.  They usually wanted the money and would say yes.  In the mornings, it was still cool enough to leave him in the car and I got an earful listening by myself to the rantings of the old coots.  Since I am over 65, I look just like them.  The big talk of the time was seceding if Obama was elected.  That was true from the California border on.

First, I was appalled at the border stops.  Leaving California, I was surprised to hear that if you had a UHaul they asked to see your license.  It was then run through the computers to see if you owed California any money.  If you had any warrants for anything even parking tickets you were arrested and only allowed to leave by paying your tickets.  They were also using dogs to sniff everything.  Partially unloading a uhaul is not my idea of good time.  In the past, I have done this a lot and was never exposed to the kind of searches I saw.  And why was I seeing them because of the back up now of stopping everyone and really looking.

Outside of Phoenix, I ran over something and it was twilight and I was pushing it because I wanted to spend the night in Tucson rather than Phoenix and I had got a slow start out of LA.  I was in the far right lane and speeding up and slowing down to listen because something sounded funny.  I see a truck stop and I decide to exit.  As I am coming off the ramp,  I am stopped by what I thought was a cop.  He accuses me of drunk driving and leaving a casino and wants me to get out and do a sobriety test.  I say see these two crutches on the front seat there is no way I can do that.  I also tell him I have been to no casinos which he refuses to believe.  I will take a breathalyzer because I have not had a drink of anything in three weeks.  He doesn't have one.  He will have to call for back up.  Turns out he is not a cop but a park ranger and is essentially trying to make a citizens arrest.  I have to wait 45 minutes for a cop to appear.  I tell him my story and he does not even bother with the breathalyzer and it somewhat apologetic, but proceeds to check everything in the car and writes me up two warnings for a cracked taillight which is hairline and a small crack in my lower windshield.   I assume this protects the other guys back since I now know I have not been stopped by a cop. This takes another 30 minutes and it is now totally dark and I no longer drive in the dark.  So I now have to take anything I can immediately find and pay a lot for it.

The Texas Border Patrol is even worse and was never there 12 years ago.  It is a 100 miles in from El Paso.  It is now famous and produces over a million dollars in fees for the small town that is near by.  The stuff that goes on there even bothers Texas minds and I read all about this later in the Texas Monthly.  Outside plates and non pure looking people are in for a big surprise.  Oddly, being old very white with very white hair and blue eyes, they just waved me through.

Coming back, I decide to take the northern route and avoid the IS 10.  I go the 40 which I find terrifying.  Up and down big hills with six lanes of highway and then reduced for big inclines.  18 wheelers passing me at 80 and then down to 50 on the inclines so it is back and forth.  And it comes to me--what am I doing going 80 just because I can and I am trying to get away from these trucks which is never going to happen.  So I get off and take the scenic route through Prescott which I had never done and I acquire a map of the local antiques stores. etc.

I go to some kind of art faire in the middle of nowhere celebrating I can't remember.  I just remembered it was celebrating pies and there were all these booths with all kinds of pies and a small restaurant across the highway.  There were cop cars all over.  I do the fair and have some pie and at this elevation it is much cooler in the 70s which is good because doing those big inclines at speed with the a/c my compressor has blown out.  My car is clean and no marks but it is 12 years old.  I did not notice how and why the cop cars came and went but they were following out of state licenses.  Over one of the hills although you could see for miles the speed suddenly changes from 70 to 55.  If you blink you miss it.  I get stopped.  The cop offers me a deal.  75 dollars cash or a ticket.  I took the ticket.

Coming back in December, I am now loaded and decide to take all the back roads because I have had legal medical marijuana in California for years and I have no idea what the dogs will smell or if I have any.  I do not smoke and used mostly pills but I fear loosing them somewhere and not even knowing.  I get an old Atlas which is 1999 and has all the stopping places marked because at that time they were not money making income producing for the states who keep loosing taxes.  In Arizona back roads you meet a lot of peppers and they are very scary.  At a café, I got in with some young ones on motorcycles who provided me with an escort for 100 miles.

I saw a lot of the country and heard a lot because at my age I now stop about every two hours.  The inside of the country believes and talks about incredibility stupid things.  Going with my Cal plates, they all believe you are crazy, rich and stupid.  Driving back with Texas plates was less harrowing.  With Cal plates, I was often followed particularly in small towns looking at property.

Driving to Phoenix in August is really taking your life in your hands.  in spite of all the talk about progressives--the odds of you finding one when you need one is not good.
They have been conditioned to go along to get along and will avert their eyes and mind their own business which is how they survive.

I absolutely stand with Kos and I have had many bones to pick with him over the years. But on whole, I still treasure this site which I have lurked on since 2002.  For him and his family being a target is a real possibility.  For people who live there to blithely discount it sucks.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Hard to comprehend this choice by NN (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf, yoduuuh do or do not, ichibon

    Wonderful diary.

    "The Democrats and the Republicans are equally corrupt where money is concerned. It's only in the amount where the Republicans excel." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 11:00:19 AM PDT

  •  Another thing (0+ / 0-)

    They stay on standard time because they can't figure out how to change the time on their side of the dam's clock.

    "The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy." Kurt Vonnegut - "A Man Without a Country", 2005.

    by BOHICA on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 11:15:47 AM PDT

    •  No asshole, it's because the last thing you want (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urizen, Kevskos, grover, jan4insight

      in summer in the Arizona Desert is another hour of hot ass daylight...we eagerly await sundown...Too bad you took the easy slam.....

      Do you get pleasure at our pain?  Does it make you feel good to belittle us?

      I often wonder how so called Liberals and Progressives can be so tribal and ridiculous but y'all never fail me......

      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
      Emiliano Zapata

      by buddabelly on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 11:35:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  14 recs on a Holocaust denier link yesterday (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urizen, Kevskos

      2 after the Holocaust denial was pointed out....

      today I wonder how many recs I will see on ridiculous gratuitous slams against all of us here in Az..... even though both major cities are completely Dem in governance, we had a Dem Governor, until Obama poached her needlessly... and No party outnumbers both Dem and Repub.

      This place has always had a nasty streak but it has grown considerably worse over time....

      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
      Emiliano Zapata

      by buddabelly on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 11:41:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not cool. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Personally, I think this is an opportunity for (4+ / 0-)

    Dems to make their case in AZ.

    One key to turning AZ increasingly purple is increasing voter turnout in key parts of the State.  In fact, parts of NN could be focused on discussing methods for turning red States purple and purple States blue.

    A tantrum won't turn AZ blue, but a crapton of volunteers in AZ might stimulate some momentum toward turning it purplish-blue.

    What an opportunity to make some headway in AZ.  But instead, holding NN in AZ will be used by DKOS to further tear the party apart.

    That will increase the party's effectiveness.

    •  Zackly! (3+ / 0-)

      I guess Kos likes preaching to the choir.

      AZ is exactly the kind of place that needs a visible progressive presence.  There's a ton of younger people here who need to see that they're not alone, who need to feel like the progressive movement isn't too elitist to care about them.  This decision just reinforces everything the teabaggers say about libruls.  Not like it's hard to find enlightened businesses to suport.

    •  Unless everyone arrives and leaves in groups or (0+ / 0-)

      high profile places you will be targeted by the crazies.  Don't forget this was where there were multiple shooting even on a US congress woman representative.

      These things are not accidents nor coincidences and once you are shot....

      During Occupy LA they begged for a bunch of us to go to Phoenix.  Those people had their cars impounded etc.  For some people it just means needless hassles.  I don't see incidences of white progressives demonstrating in Arizona.

      I went to an affair where a group of men were telling jokes.  I listened in on one that was one of those long hunting tales.  The punch line was shooting down a black guy who was hang gliding and getting away with it because they thought he was a condor.

      I said very mildly that I thought we had given up on that kind of social critique in the 70s.  I was then told instead of evesdropping I should be in the kitchen with the respectful women.

      It is my experience that progressives in such a social situation will wince but will not call anyone out because it is not polite.  These places have increased their redness over the last 30 years not vice versa.  Any local progressive that would do this would not be invited back. So they don't, but their angry guilt becomes projection about what they would do not what they do now.

  •  FWIW, I agree with Markos. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    And I said why in his diary.


    1. AZ isn't responsible for what federal law enforcement officers are doing along interstates anymore than California, Washington or New York are.

    2. Many national park renters are also sworn peace officers and perfectly capable of giving out tickets.

    3. Gratuitous slams on other slates and their citizens are disgusting. I don't care where you live. I can find something deplorable about your state to judge you with if you'd like.

    #3 isn't necessarily directed at the diarist, but just a general comment.

    Diarist, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. It seems that life everywhere has gotten just more difficult  for virtually everyone. They keep throwing more obstacles in our way. Because vague unsupportable by facts reasons.

    © grover

    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Sat Jul 19, 2014 at 02:51:07 PM PDT

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