I like a good road trip.
It’s my favorite form of travel by far. Nowhere else have I found the same feelings of freedom and ease, not ever.
I think it started when factgirl and I were little tiny girls. Our parents packed us into the old station wagon for long trips on many occasions. They always tucked us into the back seat while we were still sleeping, before the sun rose. We woke hours away, miles from home, in the middle of nowhere. They always stopped at the roadside attractions:
"Look kids, it’s the biggest free-standing monilith in the country!"
"Hay, whaddaya know, this is where the Donner Party was supposed to bunk for the winter!"
"Girls, come here and look at this life-sized replica of the Liberty Bell made entirely out of butter."
"This is where the battle of so-and-so took place. Most of the soldiers were probably barefoot."
So now the tradition is ingrained deeply in me. I have the urge to travel about every year and a half. I almost always prefer to go alone, but I’ve often enjoyed the company of friends. That’s one of the great things, it’s always different.
I think my favorite trip is the drive between Los Angeles, California and Boulder, Colorado. It’s relatively lonesome, and it passes through all varieties of country; from the city to the painted desert to the mighty Rocky Mountains. It takes about 18 hours and I usually drive it all in one shot.
The thing that is so therapeutic to me is I am alone for all this time. The only human contact I get is at a gas station or rest stop... occasionally there is non-verbal communication with other drivers, a flirtatous trucker or the like. I go through this mental/emotional cycle, and it goes like this:
I start out excited about the trip, I feel free and light and strong and basic.
Then I relax... I’m on vacation. I begin to sing and notice the scenery.
After that, I get almost overwhelmingly tired.
Which leads to some hysterical crying. I think about all the bad things that are happening, I get homesick for places I haven’t been in decades. I miss family and old friends.
Then I start to sing and be happy again.
This is about where the mountains start and there’s no time for reflection; careful driving is the priority.
And then, just when I think I cannot go on, there appears my destination, a speck on the horizon. And there is a whole experience waiting for me right in there. And I did it all by myself.