The first road trip I took began in Denver and ended in Phoenix when I was just over three years old (see Combing Through My Memory from April 2013) My father drove us to our new home while my mother and sisters flew. I am guessing when faced with the prospect of flying with three children under the age of five – including an infant – my mom probably insisted that dad take someone in the car. The infant was obviously out, so I wonder if dad picked me because he chose me over my sister, or because mom thought my older sister would be more helpful on the plane than me (which she was). Whatever the reason, I rode in the 1963 two-tone, four-door Plymouth Belvedere south to Albuquerque where we made the right turn (see I Knew I Should Have Made That Left Turn from December 2021) to Arizona.
We road tripped annually as a child. We toured around the desert southwest, we passed through Denver a few times, and trekked to St. Louis, Missouri, more than once. I loved reading the atlas and seeing what towns were forthcoming. I liked napping in the sun, falling asleep to “Summer” or “Rhymes & Reasons” by John Denver. Road trips and soundtracks remain a part of my life – whether it’s a first-time adventure or an encore excursion. I’ve driven short jaunts and long journeys some of which pass rapidly, while others dragged on mile after mile, but I still kept driving.
I understand the concept of travelling with an infant. At the age of eight months, my son joined me on his first road trip. We exceeded the two-day, three-state outing with a full summer, thirteen-state voyage from Florida to Missouri to Colorado – the origin of my first road trip – to Michigan. We stopped at Mount Rushmore (see Rapid City, Rapid Change from November 2011), sliced across Kansas (see Somewhere In Kansas from May 2021), and eventually wandered through Minnesota (see The Twins from August 2013) on our way to the Upper Peninsula. I suppose this is why people consider me brave and adventurous. I might have just been a touch crazy or melancholy, too.
Obviously I still road trip from here to there. I love planning an excursion like the drive from Wyoming to California. Sometimes the journey through states takes me from a job in Florida to an opportunity in Utah. Even after landing following my journey to Hawaii (see The Rainbow State from February 2022), I cruised from California to Wyoming, to North Dakota, and then on to Illinois. There’s another journey coming later this week – one of those encore excursions – ending at a town I’ve never visited, to lay to rest a man I only met once, eleven days ago. I expect this drive will be difficult, the soundtrack will include “I Grieve” by Peter Gabriel and “Time” by Tom Waits. I will cry for miles, and time will pass mournfully.
~ for Dave