With the still-smooth sole of my hiking boot, I pressed the accelerator of our rented Ford Escort. In the rearview mirror, an empty two-lane, straight-as-a-Roman road unfurled. Ahead, blacktop shimmied in the late afternoon sun. All around, reddish dirt, scattered spindly sagebrush and saltbush, tufts of grama and sacaton grasses, and darker red mesas jutting from the basin floor, rock ships of Shiprock, New Mexico.

Sixty mph. Seventy. Eighty.

Peter, my then-boyfriend-later-husband, eyed the speedometer. Eyed me.

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