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Trippin’ stories

October 21, 2008

I’ve driven across the United States of America seven times. From east coast to west coast and back again, many many times. Northern routes, central routes and southerns routes. That road-travel was one of the many benefits of growing up and living in Vermont during the summers and going away to college in Eugene, Oregon and then moving to Virginia Beach and then back out to Portland for another 6 years. And then back to Vermont for now. The best way for me to get me and my stuff (and friends/family) across the country was to simply drive ourselves. Add in a round-the-country, three-week camping vacation with my girlfriend (now wife) mixed in for fun and you’ve got a storyline that at the time I didn’t realize was so unique, but now with the distance of time, I can see how special that all was.

It started with the summer trip with JK in the yellow Ryder Truck (“Daisey Fuentes”) from VT down to Central PA to party with some friends from my first year in college (before I left to go out west) then over to NJ to pick up inherited furniture for my oldest brother and then on to VA to see my girlfriend and then on to Nashville, Arkansas, my 21st birthday in Kansas City, and then out to Boulder for a few days and nights with high school friends, and then finally onto Eugene, where we immediately stumbled directly down into the dark basement of our band’s rented house where I remember Jamiroquai was playing in a smoky, beer-smelling, dankness with a red spotlight shining on my friends in the corner. That first scene in Eugene that year pretty much summed up my entire college experience, though the jam in the basement over time became other basements and living rooms and back yards and co-op housing units and bar lounges. That was a fine first trip. And destination.

Then there was the move back east after beginning our family in Oregon. That was a mid-February 8-day trek with me piloting a 26’ Uhaul truck trailing my Subaru station wagon and my cat in the cab with me mewing the ENTIRE time. Behind the cat and I, my wife, her mother, our 16-month old daughter, and our black lab drove the Pathfinder. Again, in February! There wasn’t much sight-seeing on that trip. We were focused on one thing only: Safe passage. Between the hourly updates on the walkie-talkies, there was simply constant hope to all get to our day’s end safely and with dry roads if possiblke. Incredibley there were storms east of us, west us, south of us and north of us the entire way across, but we managed to stay in between them all and we had dry roads all the way except for a few miles of snowy Nebraska highway. The first two days in the mountains of Eastern Oregon, outside of Boise, and Salt Lake City, were the most punishing for the Uhaul – I was flooring it at 15 mph with the Pathfinder behind me as they drove in 3rd gear with their flashers on…Man, they stared at the back of a Uhaul for hours and days on end. What troopers. Another fine trip. And destination. Hopefully not my last, but I’m good with it, if it is.

In between those trips there were five others, each with a million stories and laughs and characters and madness involved – too many for a blog. The opportunity to lose youself out on the road like that over and over again, never seeing the same things twice make it difficult to ever think about not traveling. When our kids are older, I cannot wait to take them out on the road with me and their mother and get lost in America and tell them stories they’re much to young to appreciate today. But for now, we have weekend trips to Maine like the one we have in a few days.

There is just nothing better than roadtrips in my opinion. But what I’ve learned is that no matter how incredible the voyage becomes, or maybe even because of the magic of the voyage, the destination is in fact the key, for this is where you get to rest and remember and appreciate it all. Which I do. I appreciate it all.

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