Overhaul

In the waiting room at Nissan while my baby gets a checkup. Air, oil, filters, fluids, rotation, alignment, and a full diagnostic. I don’t know what we’ll encounter on the road, but we’ll both be healthy when we begin.

Mugology: Got Kicks?

Item #232 on my Bucket List is a trip on Route 66 from Michigan Drive in downtown Chicago to the pier in Santa Monica, sticking as closely as possible to the original routing.

Clearly, this is a drive I will not be taking in Winter.

I reckon it is still a year or two off. I am staying off the road until the nation has worked out its collective post-COVID cabin-fever. You don’t take a road trip to find yourself in traffic, and since I am now in a position to travel mid-week and off season, I am dodging all of that.

In the meantime, I have my mug.

Texas Road

I halt along a Texas road
To pause and look about
To feel the ground and watch the sky
Pretending I’m a scout.

I hear the rustle of the birds
A-nesting in the brush
And lose myself with ants in grass,
No longer in a rush.

The wind blows through my thinning hair
And sings a gentle koan
That says “absorb this moment, son
And make your life your own.”

— October 26, 2021, Callahan County, Texas

Mugology: Road Buddy

The thrill of the refill. Twenty-four ounces of Scoutmaster juice.

This one is from Love’s Truck Stops. I’ve been using it now for probably six years, but will probably stop buying these for fear of eventually putting more plastic into a landfill. Something steel, like a Hydro Flask, will replace this. 

 

Driving Courtesy

My newest bumper magnet is being taken literally by a remarkable number of drivers. I am starting to count the number of people who pass me and pull back into my lane.

Current average on the 101 is about 72 per hour, but traffic has been light.

Highway Six, Unvisited

Old US 6, north of Los Angeles

Hovering near the top of my bucket list are a series of road trips I want to take that retrace the old US highway system. I even have a dream about writing a guidebook on the subject.

Of course, traveling Route 66 is on there, but there are at least a dozen overlooked byways that failed to inspire popular songs yet cut America into revealing cross-sections. One of those journeys is US Route 6, the Grand Army of the Republic Highway running from Provincetown, MA to Long Beach, CA.

Almost as much as any of our heritage roads, Route 6 captured my imagination. The short stretch of the old highway that I have driven so far – from San Fernando, California to Palmdale, California – evoked an epiphany. If you want to drive through America, do it on an Interstate. But if you want to drive to America, do it on a road less – or no longer much – traveled. The history, culture, and beauty wantonly bypassed by the brilliant but artless Interstate system begs for rediscovery, appreciation, and chronicling. Plus, the food is better, and the people more real.

Planning has begun. More as it evolves.

A Cooling Moment

Sitting in the heat of the summer at high altitude, I pulled out this picture I took eighteen moths ago of the West Glacier stop, formerly the Belton Station on the old Great Northern Line in Montana. It’s still hot outside, but this cooled me down.

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