… When I descended the silver stairs from the plane into the hot Los Angeles day, I left the musty smells of Berkeley firmly in the past.
Two days later, pushing down on the gas pedal of the green Willys jeep and shifting the gears, my dog Aloka and I departed, the smoggy city of L.A. sprawled contentedly behind us. The doors of my chariot were metal and removable, built in ventilation. There was no padding. But it had 4-wheel drive which I could access with a hand lever when the jeep was stopped. The noise of the engine blotted out the birds and other cars as I slowly and methodically made my way through the desert towards the mountains of New Mexico, my adopted home.
The smells changed along the way, from diesel and the tickle of smog, to fir and pine trees, to cypress and wet sage, dry earth, and later to piñon and wood smoke. I felt strong and competent, with full energy. I still loved to drive and I had no time limit. The adventure of the road trip had started and was part of my odyssey.
©2021 Marianna Mejia