Still, just like John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley, 'we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."
And so it has been since leaving Valois and then launching from Hewlett, NY where in August 1970 my first sojourn west began in a blue 1964 VW bus.
It's dangerous to attempt analysis based on part on just bits of data. And that's what I have, bits of data: conversations with people at restaurants, highway rest stops, gas pumps, motel lobbies and even a car repair shop. People do like to talk.
Just say hello and ask how their day is going. Then stand back.
When the Little Red Nissan had to get its fan belt tightened a notch or two after driving through broiling temperatures, I chatted for the better part of an hour with a fellow who delivers private cars back and forth across the country. I say chatted. Actually, I was his audience. I don't know what he takes to keep him awake for driving 16 hours per day. But it was coursing through his veins when he offered up a monologue that even had the Nissan dealership clerks and car sales people stopping to listen.
As my days on the road were rolling around in my sleeping brain last night, the thread of a narrative about this trip emerged in the middle of the night. My hotel neighbors to the south decided to have a family brawl (likely over which Fox News channel to watch). I saw them in the lobby earlier but couldn't place their Southern U.S accents. But it was twangy strong at 2 a.m.
Then the family with young children staying in the room above decided to practice the Bristol Stomp - or something similar about the same time.
Awake and wondering if the plaster on the ceiling might start snowing on my head, I began to see the outline of a story.
If only I had written it down concisely when it was so clear.
Perhaps it will come back to me as I roll into the Rockies in a few hours, heading for Vail and Edwards, Colorado to visit son Jason. The air and altitude might jar my memory while I try to forget the voices of Lurleen and Lester arguing in the room next door last night.
I do remember some of the actual dialogue - but I'll save those colorful colloquial phrases for another time.
By the way, do you think "Id-jit" might mean idiot? Hmm...