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A Final Four road trip

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  March 28, 2011 06:52 PM

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Why fly from Anaheim to Houston when you can see the USA in your, well, OK, Ford Focus?

It's the only way to go.

The first stop was Gila Bend, Arizona. Why Gila Bend, Arizona? Why not? How many chances will you get in your life to sleep in Gila Bend, Arizona, where the nickname for the local high school is -- what else -- the "Monsters?"

It's a sleepy town of about 1,500 two hours west of Tucson on I-8. About the last thing I thought I'd be doing was eating Italian, but, by God, there sat "Little Italy," where I had some nice spaghetti and meatballs with very nice marinara sauce, washed down by some chianti. Not haute cuisine, perhaps, but very satisfying.

Lunch on Monday was at the Kranberry Restaurant in Lordsburg, New Mexico. You've been there. This was America, with all the sandwiches, burgers, salads and hearty entrees on which Middle America thrives, and, of course, at a reasonable price. Grilled cheese and bacon, side of fries, a very large Coke for $8.28. And you know I tip well. The Globe would insist.

Across the street sat Border Line Fireworks, in front of which a very large sign proclaimed ARRTILLERY (sic) SHELLS BUY ONE GET ONE FREE.

Ah, the Great Beyond.

Now I'm not normally a big country music buff, but when I travel in either the south or west, that's all I want to hear. Toolin' on I-10 through the desert with the radio blasting Thompson Square's irresistible "Are You Gonna Kiss Me, Or Not?" Well, it doesn't get any better than that

Next stop: Del Rio, Texas.

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Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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