Juke Audio
A Night Drive on Highway 50: Audio Version
A Night Drive on Highway 50: Audio Version
It’s me and the darkness. Out in the desert, I'm just trying to get to a motel room and some peace.

*Our paying subscribers can now listen to full audio versions of some of Juke’s most-loved essays. Last month, we heard The Road to Sturgis by Tonya Morton, which was published in January. This month, we’re listening to A Night Drive on Highway 50, which was published in February. Free subscribers and everyone else can hit play for a short preview. Then check out the original piece, linked below, if you haven’t read it before… TM*

Mojave Desert - 2000. Photo by Paul Vlachos

“At night behind the wheel, I could be in deep space, apart from the world, traversing time and distance.

25 miles out of Fallon, there’s a family standing by their car on the side of the road. It’s not a rest stop, they’re just standing there, letting the kids pee and walking the dog with their taillights on, a tableau, a little tableau lit by red taillights.

Last night, in Utah, it was one of those nightmarish, surreal construction zones. There was road work and all these orange and white construction barrels with flashing yellow lights on them. They were putting up lane closures and lane changes. No flaggers, just blinking lights. Lanes made narrow with concrete dividers. That kind of scene is always a drag. It's like being in a video game. You really have to be alert. You have no choice. I could smell the hot asphalt. They were working on a small patch of road, but it went on forever. I opened my window and turned the radio on. I focused. But that was last night, and the construction crews and the other cars were almost a social distraction compared to now, with just me on the long, empty black road.”

Read the full piece here…

Paul Vlachos is a writer, photographer and filmmaker. He was born in New York City, where he currently lives. He is the author of “The Space Age Now,” released in 2020, “Breaking Gravity,” in 2021, and the just-released “Exit Culture.”


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Paul Vlachos