NEEDLES, Calif. — Bum Phillips, the late, great football coach, once told a magazine interviewer that his hometown of Orange, Texas, “wasn’t the end of the world, but if you get up on your tippy toes, you can see it from there.”
Well, Coach Phillips, I believe I have found the end of the world. It is here … in Needles, Calif.
This is the latest stop for Toby the Puppy and me as we trudge our way westward and northward. It’s an overnighter, then we head for the central part of the state, where we intend to gaze skyward at some tall timber at Sequoia National Park.
There really is nothing to see here. The highway west from Needles is among the more desolate stretches of roadway in these United States. The next day’s travel will be — without a doubt — the least scenic leg of this journey. I’ll be looking at mountains, but they will be far, far away.
Family members await in Sacramento, then in Santa Cruz, then on to Eureka, Calif., before heading into Oregon.
Toby the Puppy and I have enjoyed plenty of scenic splendor so far. The Grand Canyon is as gorgeous as it gets anywhere on Planet Earth. The drive into and away from Gallup, N.M., presented plenty of eye-popping visuals as well.
A saving grace about our stop in Needles has been the courtesy extended by the campground hosts where we are spending the night. Indeed, we aren’t strangers to this particular site, as my bride and I came here at least three times before while pulling an RV. It’s all changed, of course.
For now, though, I am enjoying the company of my pooch, who — to my total non-surprise — has proved himself to be the King of Road Warriors. His stamina is astounding, not to mention his ability to “hold it” for as long as he does.
The road ahead awaits my puppy and me, even if much of the next leg will be oh, so lonely.