Wednesday, 25 February 2009

23 February 2009

about life, and life on the road. We had finally found the magic land at the end of the road and we never dreamed the extent of the magic either. “Think of these cats staying up all hours of the night” whispered Neal. “And think of this big continent ahead of us with those enormous Sierra Madre mountains we saw in the movies and the jungles all the way down and a whole desert plateau as big as ours and reaching clear down to Guatemala and God knows where, whoo! What’ll we do? What’ll we do? Let’s move!” We got out and went back to the car. One last glimpse of America across the hot lights of the Rio Grande bridge. We turned our back and fender to it and roared off. Instantly we were out in the desert and there wasn’t a light or a car for fifty miles across the flats. And just then dawn was coming over the Gulf of Mexico and we began to see the ghostly shapes of Yucca cactus and Organpipe on all sides. “What a wild country!” I yelped. Neal and I were completely awake. In Laredo we’d been half dead. Frank, who’d been to foreign countries before just calmly slept in the backseat. Neal and I had the whole of Mexico before us. “Now Jack we’re leaving everything behind us and entering a new and unknown phase of things. All the years and troubles and kicks---and now this! so that we can safely think of nothing else and just go on ahead with our faces stuck out like this, you see, and understand the world as, really and genuinely speaking, other Americans haven’t done before us---they were here weren’t they? The Mexican war. Cutting across here with cannon.” “This road” I told him “is also the route of old American outlaws who used to skip over the border and go down to old Monterrey, so if you’ll look out on that graying desert and picture the ghost of an old Tombstone hellcat making his lonely exile gallop into the unknown you’ll see further…” “It’s the world! We can go right on to South America if the road goes. Think of it! Sonofabitch---Gawd-damn!” We rushed on. The dawn spread immediately and we began to see the white sand of the desert and occasional huts in the distance off the road. Neal slowed down to peer at them. “Real beat huts, man, the kind you only find in Death Valley and much

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