I’ve always loved a road trip and lately I’ve been thinking more and more about a trip I’ve always wanted to take… Perhaps it’s the romantic in me but for some reason Route 66 across the US from Chicago to Santa Monica has always had a deep fascination for me.
I realize that much of it no longer exists, and that now much of it is considered back roads as it weaves its way across the midwest from Chicago (Illinois), through Missouri, possibly Kansas depending on your route, then onto Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finally to California where it ends on Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles.
I remember as a kid watching the classic 1940 movie “the Grapes of Wrath” written by John Steinbeck and directed by John Ford which piqued my interest even then. The story tells of a family from Oklahoma who leave their desolate and windswept farm during the dark days of the depression to forge a better life in California and drive in their jalopy across the US primarily along Route 66.
Even as an adult I’ve always enjoyed a long road trip… In 1983 when I was still living in Australia I drove from my home in Victoria to Darwin in the Northern Territory by myself. It was an epic trip covering some 3,638 kilometers and 40 hours of driving, having left early Tuesday morning and reaching this northernmost city early Saturday night.
With quite a portion of it over dirt roads…yep, it was a wild and woolly drive back then and truly unforgettable.
It was sort of my “grapes of wrath” drive. Although to be fair I wasn’t leaving behind a desolate and windswept farm, but that being said I was leaving it for better climes. Darwin’s climate is tropical and hot year round, much like if you were living in Venezuela for those of you living in the Americas and so it was welcome respite from the southern seasons; and it was a place where I could wear shorts all year round! 🙂
Even in recent years Zach, Sami and I all have enjoyed our road trips to Florida. We’ve done three trips in total, the first going via New York City, another via Washington DC and a third via Chicago and the Civil Rights trail. Each trip we spent around 25 – 30 hours making the journey to Florida, generally over the course of a week. Stopping when we felt like it, checking out museums and small towns off the freeways whenever possible and basically taking it easy without any real agenda.
Now that being said I booked accomodations in advance, but really nothing in between and with somewhere between 3 – 5 hours driving per day. I then left the finer details to Zach and Sami to research and navigate our way to all of things that interested them along the way.
Generally we’d be up early, grab a quick breakfast before hitting the road and often be done by lunchtime or thereabouts. We all enjoyed our road trips and they still talk about our adventures with enthusiasm and love. Hence, when Sam got accepted to Columbia the first thing she said to me was “road trip”!
How good is that -seriously?
The hardest part about these trips was after dropping them off with my ex and their grandparents and driving back alone… Of course I’d break it up and stay a couple of days in Charleston or Savannah but its not the same traveling alone after such a special trip with my other two amigos!
So where were we? Oh yes, my quest to drive across the continental United States along Route 66. Ideally it would best to make the drive in a convertible…right? Get a little tan along the way. Well, to do that I’d need to plan to drive it over the summer, with the best being either early or late summer so that it wouldn’t be so baking hot that you couldn’t stand it in the car for long periods.
I’m thinking that its a 3 – 4 week adventure. I’ll put it on my list of trips although my “dance card” is already pretty full this year and part of next, well at least until Sam leaves for University in September 2019.
I have this image in my head that I use when I’m trying to relax, often at yoga prior to class starting I take my mind to the same contrasting scene, which I’m imagining is somewhere along Route 66.
I’m in the middle of a large white salt flat, the large cracks in the salt creating a beautiful mosaic and three sharp and contrasting colors radiating back at me. The first is the stark white of the salt plain stretching into the distance, a heat mirage dancing across the surface. The second is the deep copper red mountains in the near distance set against the most beautiful and deep azure blue sky – reminiscent of Italy.
These three colors are so vivid in my mind that it gives me a great sense of peace and serenity, and with a few deep breaths I can usually fall fast asleep. As I said it’s my go-to place before yoga or at night if I have too much going on in my mind.
My road trip across the US is not a matter of if, but a matter of when! 🙂
Am I the only crazy person who wants to make this iconic drive or are there more of you out there who are also fascinated? Hhhmmm – time to share.