A Dozen Trips West

Until July of last year, I had never driven across the United States.  I’d flown to a lot of the US — Albuquerque,  Minneapolis, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Honolulu… just all over the place.  But I’d never driven through what the elites call “fly-over country.”

Now, just eight months later, I have made the drive from North Carolina to either Portland or Seattle 12 times.  Okay, well, not officially.  I’m in the middle of trip #12.  Bedding down tonight at the Super 8 in Rock Port, Missouri.  I stayed here 3 or 4 times before, but usually now stay a few miles up the road in Percival, Iowa.

The sunset, from Rock Port, then...
The sunset, from Rock Port, then…

On my second trip west, when it all still seemed so new and wonderful, I stayed here at the Super 8.  I did a blog post rhapsodizing over the incredible cheeseburgers at the Trails End Restaurant next door.  I posted a picture of the fiery red sunset.  I was full of hope, and life, and even excitement about the new non-radio life I was living.  I have posted here a picture of the sun today.  More cheap literary symbolism.

… and the late day sun from Rock Port today.

Eleven trips later, well, the bloom is off the rose a bit. I still marvel at the beauty and grandeur this country has to offer.  I still love to see the snow-capped Rockies… the badlands of South Dakota (if I take the northern route) and seeing the friends I’ve made along the way.

But so much water has passed under the bridge since then, it’s just not the same.  I used to drive along, narrating the trip as I went, for Tammy.  I always hoped I could afford to bring her along someday.  But that never happened.  And going home doesn’t hold the same warm feelings it did just a few months ago.

There are, though, still things that intrigue me. Today, for instance, about 30 miles east of Kansas City, there was a billboard, imploring Missouri voters to put the name of one Dale Hoinski to the presidential ballot.  The board implied that Mr. Hoinski, who wears a cowboy hat, could pretty much whip things into shape.  I report; you decide.  Here’s Mr. Hoinski’s website.

Okay, then.  Tomorrow, good Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise, it’s on to Laramie, Wyoming. I hope Kristen, my favorite front desk person is at the Travelodge there.  It’ll make me feel at home.



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