With only four and a half days to get from California to Virginia, James and I had to really push ourselves to make the drive.  If you recall, two years ago we spent an enjoyable 10 days visiting national parks, never driving more than 300 miles a day.  It was nice and relaxing, and we took in some beautiful scenery.  (Another fond memory in the HTPINK!) This time around, we were driving between 600 and 700 miles a day, with not much time to stop and enjoy the beauty around us.  Even on a tight timeline, we couldn’t pass up touring a little bit, and we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle, drove through the red rocks of Sedona, and played in the snow outside of Flagstaff.  I find it extremely difficult to drive through the southwest without stopping.  There is something about those massive Saguaro that suck me in and say, please stop and enjoy me and the beauty around you!  And I can’t help but stop and take it all in.

We had a late start leaving San Diego on Wednesday, which allowed us to watch one last California sunset and enjoy one last burger at In-N-Out.  We drove to Phoenix, AZ, just to put some miles behind us to make the next four days a bit more pleasant.  The desert is pitch black at night, and for much of the drive, I could only see a few feet in front of us, which made for a slow night.  We were engulfed in darkness for miles, until suddenly we saw flood lights, a huge fence, and reflectors lining the fence as far as the eye could see.  The Mexican border.  I had no idea there was really a fence/wall between parts of the border, but there it was, lighting up the night sky.  Floodlights beamed into Mexico, so bright that you would be able to see little animals scurrying across the sand.  We passed border patrol vehicle after border patrol vehicle, until we went through a make shift border patrol stop.  They stopped the car and asked me where we were from and where we were going.  I told him we were headed to Virginia, and he looked at my ID and asked which city we would be visiting.  I said Virginia Beach and we were on our way.  I was a little worried at first, since our car was completely loaded down, and it would have taken us hours to put the puzzle of our things back together if they had inspected our back seats.  Thankfully we don’t look like suspicious people, so we were on our way back into the darkness of the desert.  We thought we were doing good on time, until we hit Phoenix and remembered they don’t adjust to Daylight Savings Time, and we had really lost an hour.  So much for getting in before midnight, but at least we had put a few hundred miles behind us.