What is it with me and driving across this country, I wonder to myself? I’m fucking good at it I suppose. I can sit in that increasing uncomfortable and odored driver seat for days. I’ve rarely been pulled over(once in Kansas and once in Ohio), but I cover ground. Although close I’ve never ran out of gas or got stuck in snow, sand or mud. To pass the time sometimes I sing loud and horrible. Sometimes I talk to the dog, and I suspect when the dog is gone I’ll talk to the car or air freshener or hula girl. No need for reply, simply externalizing some part of whatever I’ve been mulling over for the past couple hundred miles. Obviously I like travel, but this is different.
A- Travel doesn’t usually consist of sitting on one’s ass for over 12 hours a day, eyes velcro’d to the road ahead, with not only my own life, but the life of my precious dog and usually a bunch of my shit at risk.
B- Travel usually implies discovery of new places and things. The first 3 or 4 times across the US of A were new, but after eight years of traveling the country by car, for various reasons, I can confidently say I’ve pretty much seen a lot, if not most, of what there is to see.
I’ve done enough interstate crisscrossing to know cool bars attached to motels in Shamrock, TX, Reynolsville, OH and at the last mainland exit off the 95 in FL. I can tell you with certainty that at the Kum and Go gas station in Waynesville, MO there is a Buffalo Wild Wings that wasn’t there 6 months ago. Without hesitation I can share my favorite restaurants in Flagstaff, AZ, Billings, MO, and Texas City, TX. I’ve seen the world’s largest prairie dog in Kansas(spoiler alert, it’s bullshit, save your 3 bucks). The long, lonely route between NYC and LA. I think I did it 4 or 5 times this year. That said, I love it still. No matter how much I bitch and procrastinate, as I soon I load up, turn on the playlist and hit the road I am in a content, decidedly happier place.
This roadtrip may be my last for a while, and I went out with a bang of ridiculousness. Make a long story short, I ended up driving almost 5,000 miles in 8 days, with a 2 day visit home for Christmas in the middle. Being that I was on a beeline from one coast to the other and back again, I didn’t have much time to wax poetic in my notebook or fawn over the beauty of the country. I traveled west with a friend and fellow aficionado of fuckery, Tobin. She and I had a few small adventures as I desperately tore across the continent, doing everything possible to make it home for Christmas Eve dinner. In East Columbus, Ohio we got shit-faced at a bar in a Days Inn. In Lebanon, Missouri, we tried Long John Silvers for the first time. For some reason I really wanted to try it, don’t really know what I was expecting. What I got was an inch of “fried” around a wafer of fish dripping in oil, and the shits for 24 hours or so. We survived the frozen tundra of the southwest fueled on Creedence, Black Keys and Amy Winehouse. We made it to Cali in good time, and I had a great Christmas visit in San Diego.
Leaving California was harder than normal. The weather was great, the landscape and ocean where stunning and comforting, and now its where my family resides. Somehow we flopped coasts over the years. Not to mention the fact that my car was absolutely packed to the gills with all my crap from LA. Irie and I each had about 2 square feet for our asses, with every other square inch filled with art, instruments, records, books, all the bullshit I’ve collected and dumped in LA while I was traveling over the past few years. I was literally retracing my steps across the country, returning to NYC the exact route I took west for Cali. I still had fun. I didn’t have any adventures. I just drove. Listened to music, stopped for gas every 350 miles or so, and pushed on down the highway. As wretched as that sounds, even to me now at my desk; I can’t deny, I enjoyed every moment.
Don’t know what it is with me and driving. Wish I was good at something more lucrative like football or dentistry. Maybe I missed my calling as a trucker. Now, back in my cozy new Lower East Side apartment with all my crap finally gathered in one place, I have to say it feels nice to be “home”. It’s a big weight off one’s shoulders to finally throw off your backpack and finish a trek. But I’d be lying if I denied having a vague unsettled feeling in the back of my mind. A mosquito named Wanderlust buzzing in my ear.