Survivorwoman: Tuscon to El Cajon in 7 Hours
All I've been allowed to take on my journey is a compact car, clothes, peanut butter, two stuffed animal companions, thirty CD's, an IPod, caffeinated aspirin, and a tankful of gas. There is no camera crew. I have to take all the photos myself.
Hour One: Highway 10
Things look pretty bleak from the get-go. The winds are fierce and the sky's threatening rain. I have a long way to go in this foreboding environment. Will I survive?
I've fashioned a backrest out of...well, a foam backrest, for support. Otherwise, my back will ache, and I could die. So far so good, cruising at around 80 mph...and if I can just get my foot up on the dash...
ARRRRGH! Suddenly the car spins out, I do a double 360 and land in the gravel. Holy sh*t. Thank God no one was driving near me. Miraculously, the car is okay, and I'm okay. Out here on the road, one little moment can bring disaster. You have got to know exactly what you're doing.
As I catch my breath, I realize that I am dangerously low on calories. It's some 2 hours until I reach the town of Yuma, AZ. I survive by munching on white cheddar rice crackers that I found stuck in between the seats.
Yuma at last! I scan the horizon for possible food sources. Unfortunately, all I see is an Applebee's. Not normally a place for proper sustenance, it may be my only hope for survival. I venture in. My worse fears are realized: a family of six children is in line in front of me. All girls, all dressed in pink. I must duck quickly into the bar...somehow, they follow me into the bar! This puts me in the precarious position of having to smoke in front of the children, which you don't want to do in an environment like this. It may cause the male of the pack to throw dirty looks my way.
I'm in a store, which is good, unfortunately, it's packed to the hilt with snowbirds. Even the self-service checkout. The trouble is, the elderly often don't know how the checkout machine works. I may be in this line for a long, long time.
While we're stopped: I have found something that will be extremely useful in maintaining my survival: this is a half-pound Hershey's Dark chocolate bar. While not truly dark chocolate, it will sustain me in this harsh environment.
Hour 4: California Border
I've been driving through intense patches of rain off and on since I began. Looks like there's more ahead. I pass the sand dunes, where local wildlife is engaged in the ritual of "dune riding".
Up in the mountains, I encounter snow. Wow. Snow is so rare in Texas, it's a real treat. Just look at that beautiful snow.
Uh, okay, well, there's a lot of snow. So much, traffic has slowed to a crawl. There must be an accident or something.
Hour 6: Cleveland National Forest
You can't see it very well, but the line of cars disappears into the distance. This'll take a while. It looks like I'm not going to make El Cajon in the allotted seven hours, but right now, my survival is all that matters.
Hour 7: Cleveland National Forest
We've moved about a quarter of a mile in the last hour. Folks are getting out of their cars to see how far the jam goes. I'm going to stay here. I have no phone coverage here, so this is going to be a serious survival challenge. My best bet is to take another caffeinated aspirin and hope for the best.
Hour 8: Cleveland National Forest
The traffic continues to move at a frighteningly slow pace. For the first time, I'm genuinely worried. We're losing daylight here, people. You'll recall I picked up a large dark chocolate bar back in Yuma. This is what will keep me from succumbing to exhaustion.
Hour 9: Cleveland National Forest
I hate to report this, but one of the worst things possible has happened. My feminine protection has sprung a leak. The traffic is headed uphill on what's basically a sheet of ice. The sleet is coming in sideways. Visibility is limited to the red tail lights in front of me. I'm out of water. I'm out of chocolate. I'm utterly exhausted. The Jeep Cherokee in front of me, spooked by the passing of another suv, has begun skidding out of control, and can't seem to maintain it's direction. Any one of these cars could hit me, or if I lose control I could also hit them, and then it's game over. At this point, it's all I can do to focus on the ice-slicked road. If my mind wanders just a tad, I could die.
Hour 10: El Cajon, California
Thank the Christ child, I've made it. Beer and a hot bath will replenish my strength. I flip on the teevee, just in time to watch Survivorman on the Discovery Channel. He's in the arctic circle or something, eating raw seal meat. What a pussy.