I think I liked the old Mexico better, actually.

When my youngest brother was getting ready to drive his family to Calfornia, I tried really hard to provide some useful brotherly advice culled from my three trips across the country. All I could come up with at the time, unfortunately, was "Most of the rest stops in New Mexico are closed because of budget cuts" and "Clines Corners serves liver and onions like Mom makes."

Both facts are true, of course, just not very useful. The last time I drove through New Mexico (in 2002), only the rest stops near the state line were open. And Clines Corners does serve some good liver and onions, but they didn't have them last time I was there, either. (Might be a seasonal item; the cafeteria line has more dishes available when I visit during the summer.) I couldn't even give my brother a map of the state, because I hadn't ordered one yet. Some big brother I am.

Then, map of Texas I ordered (it has a belt buckle on the cover; does anybody in Texas know how to fight a sterotype?), showed up a few days ago, so I went to New Mexico's tourism website to order a map for myself. Guess what? They don't offer hardcopy maps. If you want a map of New Mexico, you have to download one and print it yourself. I guess they really are having budget problems there.

So I decided to skip New Mexico and order a different state's map. That's when I realized that I may have been unconsciously tracing my way back to Arizona with this silly project. That was a sad enough realization to make me skip ordering a map of Arizona, so I went ahead and ordered a map of California. I've never actually driven to California (I've flown there), but my sister-in-law wants me to vist my brother and her someday, so it's a reasonably logical next choice.

Posted at 11:27:00 PM EDT on 06 May 2004 from Trenton, MI