We woke up in the morning and started driving immediately because we had a thirteen and a half hour drive ahead of us. It was yet another beautiful drive, filled with infinite succulents and plenty of sun and blue sky. We got to make a pit stop at the gas station/roadside attraction that houses “The Thing.” We bought some random souvenirs in the gift shop and paid a buck to see The Thing, which, SPOILER ALERT, turned out to be a mummified adult and child. I’m still speculating on whether or not it was real. I found it to be kind of a let down, but hey, it only cost me a dollar I guess.
We drove on, eventually stopping at Los Cruces for our photoshoot at dusk. For those of you who don’t know, Las Cruces is a small town nestled between mountain ranges in the New Mexico desert. We found these old adobe buildings to pose in front of as the sun set behind snowcapped mountains. We lit off some smoke bombs for our last photo and made a quick getaway in the van because we didn’t want to get blamed for the smoke bomb fumes that evidently overtook a Mexican restaurant down the block.
About an hour later our van broke down.
Joey decided to pull over because all of the sudden the van was acting up. Every time he let go of the steering wheel, the van pulled hard left. Luckily we were just entering El Paso. We drove (very, very slowly) to the nearest Pep Boys and managed to get their mechanics to take a look before they closed shop for the night. I putzed around the hardware section of Pep Boys and chatted with my girlfriend, Taylor, for awhile on the phone while I waited for the diagnosis. Riley entered the room like a surgeon bearing bad news. He might as well have been covered in blood, or motor oil in this situation. We busted a wheel bearing and they didn’t have the part to replace it.
Riley wasted no time in mending the situation. Within an hour he had a minivan rental booked for us and we crammed everything into it that would fit. We had to leave Riley behind to deal with the van repair and we still had a seven hour drive ahead of us. We arrived in Abilene, Texas (about two hours outside of Dallas) at six in the morning, all because Joey is a beast and drove the whole way hyped up on nothing but caffeine and sugar. We were able to crash for a few hours of shuteye as the sun was rising in the Texas sky.
All Photography by Anna Lee