Going Places without Getting Anywhere

Summer holidays allows some of us lucky folk to indulge our inner travel junkie. This summer was pretty much the lottery winner for the Sparks household in that regard, and it helped to scratch my perpetual go-somewhere itch more than a little. We went on a Road Trip. By that I mean a 6000+ mile loop from Texas to the west coast, north to Canada, and back again, over five weeks.

I won extra, since I got to make that trip with my favorite partner-in-crime, my husband. And he likes driving and I don’t much, so he did nearly all of it. I just got to watch the world go by, cities, states, countries, plains, hills, mountains, rivers, forests, and much more. I sat there mesmerized, my camera propped on my lap or–more often–shooting away virtually aimlessly as we buzzed by at 85 mph/137 kph (yes, there are some places where that’s the speed limit in the US) in hopes of catching some of the amazing, beautiful, weird, wonderful stuff we passed along the way. Thank goodness I didn’t have to try this kind of photography on the Autobahn.

Being dyslexic in so many helpful ways, I am the last person who should be navigator on any trip, but I was reminded that maps of any sort have their limitations anyway, and GPS only adds new layers of complexity and adventure, as when our perky GPS announcer lady (affectionately known as Peggy Sue) calmly informs us from time to time that we are in Undiscovered Country, or as she likes to put it, Not in a Recognized Area. The fun part of it is that the map on our GPS just goes blank at that point except for the little red arrow that is us, which thereupon floats through the air with the greatest of ease. That’s when I really call on my fantastic piloting skills, of course.

Mostly what I learn from maps of any sort is how far we are from where we intended to be and how many complications lie in the space between. But that, too, is part of the thrill and amusement of road-tripping or, for that matter, travel of any sort. The planned and well-known aspects are seldom as exciting and interesting as the things found by accident, the experiences had in passing and the ‘scenic route’ that is a fixable mistake. If we never made any U-turns or wrong guesses or took any side roads instead of the Main Drag, life and travel would be ever so much duller. And this trip was anything but dull. I’ll share some of the adventures with you when the dust settles!digital illustration

12 thoughts on “Going Places without Getting Anywhere

    • Ha! I’d forgotten that particular Fork! 🙂 No camping–we’re both a bit too spoiled *and* creaky for it. But some Interesting motels! 😉 I’ll keep posting further details of the trip gradually over this fall, so as not to get *too* overloaded on it.

  1. Oh, Goodie! It’s been YEARS since I went on a good road trip – can’t wait for you to share yours!
    I’ve never understood people who think it’s boring to drive/ride long distances – even on the plains, the scenery changes constantly….

    • You are so right, Marie! While there may be millions (billions) of acres of the same crops, miles of the same kinds of farms or industrial sites, and infinite numbers of cities and towns and people and buildings that could potentially be interchanged around the country, the peculiar combinations thereof that are specific to any *one* spot in place and time make each one very interesting indeed. More to come, yes.

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  3. Often when I travelled around Europe, my friend, my Traveling Companion, was navigator. We wound up driving along more one lane, gravel roads, through mountains than I care to remember, let alone mention. Afraid of heights, I very often white-knuckled it through these passes, much to his delight. I’ll never admit it to him but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Those segments of the trip would have been so very boring without his “expertise” in map reading.

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