Driving from New Mexico to Utah baby Visa started screaming. She had been an angel sent from heaven the whole day and put up with a long day’s drive, but finally she had had enough. She desperately wanted out of her car seat. Meanwhile Rickard is looking at the map and swears we only have 20-30 minutes before we reach the next town. He wants to keep pulling through until we get there. The sun is blazing, its at least 100 degrees and I’m behind the wheel with a decision to make. I cut off the highway onto a side road where we can park, pull out the awning, and fix a quick lunch with breathtaking views of the desert mountains and allow little Visa to stretch her legs, walk around some, and soothe her empty stomach with some quinoa.
Rickard wasn’t pleased, but he put up with it. I park about a mile down a side road into a patch of open sand. I get out of the RV to release the awning and notice that there are a lot of burrowed holes in the ground, just about the perfect size for a snake. Could there be rattlesnakes out here? Probably. Damn it.
It’s so hot we have to sacrifice some decency. None of us wear pants. But that’s okay because in our 90 minute break not one car passes us on the road.
We haven’t showered in several days at this point. We’re sticky and feeling uncomfortable in our bodies. Rickard avoids the sun because of his sensitive ginger complexion, but its sweltering in the RV. Thunder rolls in the background and the wind suddenly picks up and starts fighting the awning and making awful noises. Visa is playing underneath and I get suddenly paranoid that the whole thing will fall on her, maiming our toddler, helpless in the desert. I yell for Rickard’s help to quickly fold in the awning in anticipation of an approaching storm. He doesn’t want to come outside because of the hot sun. He’s paranoid of skin cancer. I’m paranoid the awning will kill our 1-year-old. We start yelling at each other. I fumble with the awning, only having successfully retracted it once before, weeks ago. I yell at Rickard to help me again. He’s in his underwear and doesn’t want to come outside. I beg him to put some shoes on and help me. So he does. He also gets a hat– my wide-brimmed flimsy hat which is supremely feminine and nothing a 6’4″ gentleman should ever wear, especially in his underwear and converse. We finally get the awning up and pack ourselves in the RV as fast as we can and head to the next town as if the open space and exposure are together a hungry tiger out to get us.
I don’t think we’ll ever live in the desert.