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May 19th, 2009

Road Trip!

Tomorrow morning around now, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I should be on I-70 headed west.  The Institute is sending me to the Java One conference in San Fransisco the first week in June, and I am taking vacation time to do another small road trip across the great plains, and the Rockies, and a little of the southwest.  I want to do this while the price of gasoline still makes it possible.  Last year at four dollars a gallon plus I simply could not do it.

Lane Wallace, posting on Sullivan’s blog yesterday, put up this image from a current MOMA exhibit titled, "Into the Sunset: Photography’s Image of the American West".  I have a similar image of my own that I’ll post later today for comparison, taken on at the northern approach to Monument Valley down Utah highway 163.  Images like these capture the allure of the road trip for me perfectly…

Dorothea Lange, The Road West, New Mexico, 1938

 

Escaping The Gravity Of Home

There’s a moment in every long distance road trip that I think of as escaping the gravity of home. Like the Apollo astronauts who escaped the earth’s gravity to go to the moon…there is a threshold you cross on a long distance drive where heading back home to your own comfortable bed is no longer possible, even if you push it bleary eyed into the night.  You must bed down somewhere else.  Keep going and its two nights.  Then three.  You’ve left the safe comfortable orbit of home.  Now you’re traveling among the planets.  At some point, and for me it’s usually the middle of the second day, comes the awareness that no matter what happens, you’re not getting back home any time soon.  You and your car are a self contained capsule, scooting down the highway, looking for whatever it is ahead of you that you’ve never seen before…

Friday May 24, 2003

To really get to know planet Earth you have to travel across it.  Not over it in an airplane.  A train comes closer. But you need a personal, private mode of transit to really get to know it, see its many different faces.  You have to have your hands on the steering wheel, your feet on the pedals, feel your vehicle respond to the road.  Then you are one with the land you’re traveling across.  You should feel the sun and wind on your skin, be completely free, untethered.  Then you can stop whenever, wherever.  Get out of your car.  Feel the land under your feet.  The wind plays with your hair.  It came from over that horizon.  Look.  It’s telling you that there is something over there you should go see.

 

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