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Heaven Is On Route 160

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It was chilly yesterday morning. As I drove to the park to meet a friend for a walk, hot air blew on my legs, keeping my feet warm. The rest of me started to sweat, so I cracked the windows letting in the sunshine and a fresh breeze. The cool air on my face and the cyclone of heat around my legs transported me to the most carefree moment of my life.

Karen was my best friend in college. She showed up drunk at my dorm room door one night in her aqua terry cloth robe and begged me to order her a meatball sub because she was too inebriated to dial the number. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Ten years later, she had survived her first bout with breast cancer. To celebrate, we planned a fall trip through Arizona – Sedona, Jerome, the Grand Canyon, Four Corners. At the car rental counter at the Phoenix airport, the clerk suggested an upgrade from the sedan we’d reserved. “I have a nice Camaro convertible,” he smiled.

We took our time getting to Sedona, dawdling at Oak Creek Canyon, walking among the Native Americans with beaded jewelry spread out on colorful blankets. The V6 in the Camaro took the curves and uphill grades with a power neither of us had experienced and it required a little prodding to get the other out of the driver’s seat.

At the Grand Canyon, we battled a group of Japanese tourists for the perfect perch and paid too much money for terrible food. After we watched the sun set over the Painted Desert, we got in the car to head for the Navaho Nation. The sky was a sheet of black and the stars glittered against its velvety canvas. Orion. The Big Dipper.

“This is ridiculous,” Karen complained. I had no idea what was wrong. She pulled over on the side of the road and unlatched the clips that held the roof in place. “It’s freezing,” I chided. She ignored me. The rooftop tucked securely in its hiding place, she cranked the stereo and gunned the engine.

I reclined in my seat and watched the stars speed by. The heat tempered the bracing chill from the desert night and cocooned my legs in comforting warmth. The cool air wrapped around my face felt invigorating, not invasive, and the dichotomy of hot and cold heightened my senses, making the entire experience surreal.

Karen’s mix tape clicked onto the other side. We glanced sideways at each other when we heard the guitar licks from “Born to be Wild.” Off key and in perfect time, we screamed the lyrics into the empty lanes of Route 160 as we sped toward Utah in our sapphire blue convertible Camaro. There was no room for worry or concern. No space for anxiety or fear. Just joy and peace and love. Heaven.

Share your most carefree moment.

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One Response to “Heaven Is On Route 160”

  1. I felt like I was with you. Thanks for sharing those beautiful moments:)


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