Cross-country Road Trip Days 4-5: The Desert

El Paso, TX to Gilbert, AZ. 6 hours and 17 minutes. 385 miles.

Over the last several days, I pulled off three epic surprises that I believe bring my capacity for shock and awe to an entirely new level. After blocking members of my family on all my social accounts and dodging their calls for weeks so I did not have to lie to them, I finally arrived in Arizona after a long and blistering 6.5-hour drive through New Mexico and eastern Arizona. There is absolutely nothing, and I repeat nothing, to report from my journey across the New Mexico/Arizona desert. Stop for gas often, people.


First, I stopped in Gold Canyon to surprise my Mimi, who had been notified (with my mother’s help) that she had a package arriving around 11:00 a.m. When she opened the door, she said, “Oh my goodness, you sure look a lot like my granddaughter, Taylor.” I had surprised her so spectacularly that she didn’t even realize it was me.


Next, I showed up at my dad’s flip property and waltzed right into his construction zone unannounced while he was working because that’s the kind of surprise I like to pull off. The look on his face was worth every second of exhausting secrecy.


And lastly, I nearly ruined my attempts to surprise my sister, Brittany, who I finally ended up on the phone with after several hours of being bored to tears in the middle of the Arizona desert. The conversation carried on rather well for the better part of an hour, but abruptly came to an end after she asked outright where I was, and I told her I was somewhere in Montana. I had to make a quick escape, so I pretended to cut out until service “dropped” like Hallie Parker in the Parent Trap. The next day,  I showed up in line behind her at Mod Pizza and scared her so badly she started crying. It was fantastic.

I spent the Fourth of July in Arizona with my family and watched a spectacular at-home fireworks display from a front-row seat. Tomorrow, I’m off to California.

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