Road Trips: My Second First Impressions

It is not difficult to see the appeal of a road trip in America once you have been on one. The roads stretch out inviting you to cover great distances. The towns and cities that rely on travellers for their prosperity cater to the constant demands for food, drink, gas, and restrooms from their visitors. I should know about such towns since I lived in Flagstaff for a year. Interstates have fuelled these towns and ruined others. For many having a freeway exit is the difference between boom and bust. As for the travellers, a freeway exit is a chance to pause, to see the world that they are blasting through, and to appreciate the little corner of America that they find themselves in.

This trip is not my first experience with an American road trip. Over the Christmas break I drove with my family and Maddy across the Southwest from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, stopping in San Diego, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. The easiness of the distance which is soaked up by the long and smooth stretches of tarmac was apparent then too. As was the adventure and thrill of arriving in new places and of seeking new things. On that trip we were going for the experience, covering the miles as a means to see the Southwest and to visit the cities it has to offer. This trip is different, tourism for the sake of tourism has been replaced by the need to get to Flagstaff and to Los Angeles. Our trip has a strong sense of purpose.

And what a pleasurable place to have that purpose. To the untrained eye the mountains of Washington might as well have been the Alps. Covered in pine trees and looming large over us they created a visual spectacle that dominated the scenery. Descending down into the rolling hills of eastern Washington vibrant green grass overtook as the predominant scenic attraction. Oregon and Idaho likewise offered fantastic scenery as we carved through hills and rose over them enjoying the vast expanses laid out below. Going over Dead Man’s Pass we drove through a thick snowstorm that reminded us that May is a month and not a description of the weather. We will enjoy it whilst it lasts because tomorrow we head south into Utah and rocks will take over where the greenery leaves off. (Get it?).

So far I have no bad word to say about the road trip experience. Yes you spend hours sitting in a car waiting to be somewhere else. Yes today was only day one and we still have thousands of miles to go. And yes I would be happier if I did not have to listen to The Go Gos again. But these problems are not even problems when you take the experience for what it is. Appreciate the world out of the window as it flashes by and you have already arrived at your destination. With good company the miles are easy and the experience fulfilling. And a Led Zeppelin CD quickly changes the music situation should you need it to.

-George

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