Saturday, September 30, 2006

Trip Notes

I really enjoy driving. I don't care so much for travel per se, but I do enjoy driving. I am mindful of the waste... especially the fuel consumption... but the roads sing to me. This year I used as my pretext the need to drop some things off at Carmen's, and then to eyeball the area around Waynesville, NC... and, of course, I had to meet my grandson in person.

Some observations...

From my apartment to Carmen's was 1573 miles (mostly) on Interstate 40. From little HC's home to my apartment was 1402 miles on Interstates 20 and 10. The northern leg has never failed to invigorate me while the southern leg has never failed to enervate.I have two theories about this. The southern leg has always been the return leg so far, so I'm going to plan on going out that way next time to see if it's only that I've been tired of being out. If that doesn't work for me, then it might just be that the southwestern deserts don't sing to me.

I need to reflect on what the trip meant for Max. I have a sense that Max didn't enjoy the experience as much as I did. For myself, it was great to have him with me; but he seemed to me to be disoriented, not taking food on the road and not taking enough water, and being required to sleep in his crate in motel rooms. I wonder, if I could have put the question to him, if he would have chosen to come with me or to stay at Alex' house instead.

There were no particular breathtaking moments such as last year when Carmen and I saw the full moon perfectly cradled into a cup in the mountain tops, but there was beauty... and freshness. I "missed" the fall color: many of the trees had a discernible blush of color at the very tips of their leaves, but the big change was probably at least a week away. Still, green is a color not seen enough in SoCal. Perhaps the day will come when I'll crest a hill and look down without appreciation for the lush hills rolling toward the mountains before me, but I'm not looking forward to that.

Road rage seems to me to be mostly reflexive. Four hundred miles into a road trip expected to be at least twelve times that, and when I encounter two big-rig trucks going up a hill side by side at 65 mph I feel anger... because I had to disengage the cruise control? I'm in such a hurry to get to Gallup? Living in SoCal, I have practiced putting traffic issues into a context I can deal with... I try to keep good thoughts for the person or persons at the front for whom something bad has happened and appreciate that I'm fortunate enough to be at the back with no harm done to me. Truckers are at some risk to get their loads to their destinations on time, and I'm just out for a drive.

I have a sense that I have more to do. Going up through the National Park from Gatlinburg (hairpins, drizzle, fog), I lost traction on the rear end... I'm not sure why... and fishtailed, but I didn't go over the side, and the guy coming down missed me by a comfortable margin. I'm not a religious person, but I am mindful that I have been the beneficiary of what might be referred to as near-misses in my life. I feel a need to respect that.

The people I met in Waynesville... pretty much everywhere, but I was checking out Waynesville... were just great. I'll speak more to my experiences of the people later.


Anonymous Winston said...

Glad you're home safely and had a good trip, especially in light ot the "near miss". I think the colors here are more than one week late this year. At least here in Nashville. I was in Knoxville a couple of weeks ago and it was the same.

Next time you're making that trip on I-40, whether coming or going, let me know and we'll meet for a burger or something. You said you're "checking out Waynesville". Are you considering relocating?

9:15 AM  
Blogger Tamar said...

And so you're home. Sounds like a good trip and interesting in many ways. Moving on ... keep on keeping on.

1:32 PM  

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