Here we are in Price, Utah. No, I hadn’t heard of it either, it just happens to be as far as we got today. And here I am, in the Holiday Inn lobby, using a slow public computer that seems to lose connection occasionally. Breath held for the duration of this…
“Road trip” implies vehicular travel. Vehicular in our case is a trusty black Honda Civic, which is giving us great gas mileage and works hard up and around the turns of the many mountain roads we’ve taken. It was rewarded with an oil change yesterday, and has been washed at least three times. (H. is of the opinion that a clean car performs better.)
I like travelling by car. There’s a coziness about it, the chance to change off the “work” of driving ( some of the mountain driving has definitely been work, matched only by fighting the wind across the Salt Desert of Utah earlier today). I like the way it facilitates both conversation (side by side, and stuck) and silence (side by side, not face to face). It’s a good way to be together at this stage in our marriage. (Thirty-six years, just last week.)
The particular pace of driving makes it possible to see and absorb the environment but also apprehend the way the terrain changes. It suggests independence, though there’s illusion in that notion; we do have to stay on the road. It involves the pleasure of maps, bringing the place names and road lines of it together with a real experience of moving through real places. It also involves interesting interactions with “Nellie,” our GPS.
Yes, I like travel by car. I’ve been reminded, though, that the decision about mode of travel always affects, even determines, the experience of the trip. I was especially reminded of this as we passed many bikers also doing the Oregon Coast highway 101. We did it at a very leisurely pace, stopping to view at numerous viewpoints, to picnic, or to take various touristy tours. I also got in my wee dream of flying our kite on a Pacific Ocean beach. I didn’t envy the bikers, not really, just admired them. We grew increasingly appreciative, in fact, noting the hills and curves and traffic, of what our daughter and her friend accomplished when they biked this highway in 2008. Didn’t envy, that is, until the time came to turn inland, east. To leave the Pacific behind. It was all so beautiful, awe-inspiring, the water and trees and rocks and mountains and dunes and after two-and-a-half days I wasn’t full enough of it yet. If we’d biked, we’d still be there.
Then again, we wouldn’t have crossed California, Nevada, and half of Utah. And you can’t sit side by side on a bike, or read!