We left Phoenix at 8:30 AM, after being fed a delicious breakfast of fruit, danishes, and tea. It turns out that our hosts were avid collectors of tea mugs! The drive to Santa Fe would take the entire day, so I settled in for the long drive. I wrote a little bit, letters and some fiction exercises, then stuck my earbuds in to listen to music and watch the desert roll by.
It’s really hard to get a sense for the vastness of the desert. Even driving through it, watching miles and miles of scrub and mesas and ridges going by, I still felt like I was missing something. At times I dozed off, and thirty or forty minutes later, I woke to the same landscape passing by. The only indication of the rising elevation was the pressure on my eardrums. At the same time, the sky seemed to go on for miles, and much of it was very pretty.
After crossing the New Mexico state line and jumping forward an hour, the Glee Club stopped in Gallup to get lunch. There was several fast food restaurants in the area, so we all scattered to our food of choice. I ended up at Pizza Hut with a couple of other members, and we ordered a Big Dinner Box (maybe this is copyrighted? I don’t know) to go. If you’re unfamiliar with these Pizza Hut ads, a Big Dinner Box consists of two pizzas, bread sticks, and a pasta. It’s one of those food items I would see on television but never actually order. It was filling, but not particularly tasty.
To help the remaining time pass quickly, and in honor of our destination, we watched The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. In the same way that Frankenstein can seem melodramatic because so much of contemporary science fiction and horror finds its roots in that book, the movie seemed comedic due to the numerous satires based off of this Spaghetti Western. The ridiculous escapes, overacted death scenes, and limited dialogue contributed to this effect. However, I’m glad I got to see it, if only to realize that Clint Eastwood wasn’t always a crusty old grandpa.
When we arrived in Santa Fe, we were picked up by our host, who happened to be the coordinator for Santa Fe and a Glee Club Alum. Over dinner, he and Bernie (our tour physician, resident Glee Club historian and lovable roach) regaled us with stories of past Glee Club members and tours. It’s really cool to hear the history of the Glee Club and its role in the university’s history. With that, we went to bed, eager to wake up in the morning and explore Santa Fe.