We wake up in Austin in a small apartment. We don’t have anything on the agenda, so we get brunch at a recommended Mexican place, and are soon on our way. Austin is officially the city I’m excited to see, but only get a glimpse before moving on.
We spend the entire day just driving out of Texas, which I genuinely enjoy. There’s something about the vast open space that’s calming. Admittedly, it feels like it goes on forever, but after the last twenty-four hours, I’m ok with boring. At this point we typically drive through nothing for an hour until we hit a small, downtown area that looks deserted, then more emptiness. We stop in Sweetwater at a deserted Pizza Hut, which I initially mock, since we’ve avoided chains for so long. But sitting with each other, talking, joking around, and reflecting on the trip so far, it turned out to be one of the best meals we have (aside from the actual food).
We keep on driving. I'm completely oblivious to how far we were going, or anything related to date or time. At one point I doze off and wake back up to see hundreds of flashing red lights in the distance. At one other point, I wake up as we’re stopped in front of a sign that says “No passing,” and I’m bewildered as to how we can keep going.
We spend the night in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Our goal for today is to reach Taos, where we’ll get to see natural hot springs. I keep dozing in and out, with no idea where I am, which is why I’m shocked to see that it’s snowing as we head through a small road through the mountains. It turns out Taos is much further north than I expected.
When we get into town, I’m taken by the views of the mountains. We meet up with our contact, Melanie, who guides us around – driving twenty minutes off the main road through a narrow dirt path, until reaching the end of a huge canyon, which is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen the entire trip, leaving me speechless. From there, we take another twenty-minute hike down a small trail, down to the Rio Grande, where the hot springs are. It’s funny to think how just two days ago had us all at each other’s throats, and now we’re all naked in a hot spring together. Truth be told, I’m surprisingly comfortable being naked in front of everyone in the water, but not so much when we actually get out, into the chilly breeze and I don’t have a towel.
After that we get some more local sight seeing in, and everything is beautiful. As it gets late, Melanie takes us to the pizza place she works at, where we figure out what to do with the rest of our night. All of those plans are scrapped as soon as we see two hitchhikers, who we pick up. We also convince them to let us do a show at their house.
Next up: The crew is not murdered by weird hippies, hopefully.