San Xavier Mission, Tucson, AZ, 9/11/2001

Kitt Peak Observatory, AZ, 9/11/2001

Meteor Crater, AZ, 9/12/2001

Grand Canyon, AZ, 9/12/2001

Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly, AZ, 9/13/2001

-- Monday, 9/10, Phoenix:

It is nigh on time to leave. McChump #2 and I are way past the three days we can generally stand being with each other. He is getting cranky. The welcome mat is wearing out.

But first, there is something that needs to be done.

When I started this trip, I asked the dealer about these tires. "Oh, yeah, they're good for another 10,000." Then when I got to Montana, I asked the dealer there and various acquaintances. "Oh yeah, they're still okay." But now it's been 10,000 miles, between racetrack and off-the-odometer stuff, and ... I just don't know. They're buggin' me.

So it's off to the Goodyear store, and a new set. $500. That's just the kind of guy I am. Give me the best 75,000 miles of your life, and I'll still toss you aside for a pretty face when you start looking your age.

And really, they feel soooo good, driving down Scottsdale Road. The ride is smoother, the turns are tighter, the stops are quicker, and I can tell all this at 40. Plus the ChumpMobile is ever so much groovier. Everyone is lookin' at 'em.

Later that afternoon at the car wash, they ask if I'd like "the Deluxe" for an extra $2. What's that? Well, we do so-and-so, plus Armor-all your tires.

Ha! Nope man, don't need that, 'cause I got me NEW TIRES, I'm cool, and I'm off to show them to the world, starting tomorrow!

-- Tuesday 9/11/2001:

It's somewhat late when I awake, Arizona No Daylight Savings time, after yet another restful night on the recently repaired but still saggy Marge Memorial Air Mattress, on McChump #2's living room floor.

"Hey chump", says he while making the coffee, "Terrorist attack. The Twin Towers are down."

I don't believe it. "You're full of crap, chump."

But he wasn't.

Next couple hours spent in front of the TV, watching and re-watching the events that had taken place in New York and DC as I slept.

-- Later Tuesday 9/11 thru Thursday 9/13:

I left anyhow that day, as planned, and headed out for Tucson on my way eventually to Albuquerque. And then it was a long strange and quiet week, in a small car, lost on a big still desert, far far away from places like New York City, the Pentagon, and Afghanistan, visiting quiet places that never change in a world where the radio was telling me "everything changed", and terrorists are far, far away. Timeless places like San Javier del Bac Mission, pretty much deserted on this Tuesday. Kitt Peak Observatory, high above the world and quiet as quiet can be. Then back north to Meteor Crater. The Grand Canyon ... free admission. East to Monument Valley. Canyon de Chelly.