I have driven cross country three times in my life, from Kentucky to Nevada’s western border.
Two of those were because my ex, Beth, was afraid of flying.
One of them was with slave drew, after we married.
I have also made the same journey, more or less, by train.
The thing I like about land travel is that you get to see why Utah is different than Missouri which is different from Idaho.
You also can’t help but appreciate how BIG the United States is.
Have you ever driven across Texas?
Google tells me it is 895 miles from the border of New Mexico on I-10 to the border of Louisiana on I-10 just outside of Orange.
That’s at least 15 hours, assuming you have to stop for gas and such.
Most of the online resources tell me you could drive across the entire country of England in a bit less time.
One of the things I always love is the change in what you see.
I love the moment when the flatness of Kansas gives way to the beginnings of the Colorado Rockies.
I love when I see the first longhorn on the drive.
I love when I cross the Mississippi.
I love when I start seeing different road signs and place names. How far it is to Natchez, or that I am crossing the Suwanee River.
I love the things cities take pride in.
“Welcome to Newark, the Embroidery Capital of America.” (I swear.)
“Welcome to Cody, Wyoming, the Rodeo Capital of the World.”
“International Falls, Minnesota , the Icebox of the United States.”
My own city, Louisville, is, among other things, the City of Beautiful Churches and Falls City.
I like driving because my schedule is my own. If I want to go see the Figure Skating Hall of Fame, or James Thurber’s Boyhood Home, or the Largest Roadrunner in the World, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, made entirely of junk.
And yes, I have been to all those places.
Those of you who know slave drew will not be astonished to know that he isn’t a fan of fast food. He’s vegetarian, for one, and not the most tolerant of people for another.
Sometimes that’s annoying when it would be SO much easier to get something on the run, but most of the time, it pushes us to sit down and eat somewhere.
We have had great meals and so-so meals, but even the so-so ones were usually an experience. We’ve talked to natives, found out about the area, about the history.
If you do know slave drew, you know he’ll talk to ANYONE, so he always asks questions about history and features. Sometimes they look at him oddly, but he’s often lucky in finding kindred spirits who WANT to tell him the history of the gold allegedly hidden in the Chiricahua Mountains or where to find the bald eagle nesting area just outside of town.
And so, we make a side trip to check out the eagles, look at the horizon and trace the peaks that were pointed out.
We drive around those little towns, too. Look at the gardens and the trees, the old churches and the statues in the town square dedicated to our Confederate or Union dead.
Sometimes it takes us a bit longer to get to where we were going, but we’re both ok with that.
We’re both as interested in the journey as we are in the destination.