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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Go west young man...


We Americans, Westerners, are on the road all the time. It is in our original mission statement, way back with some immigrant ancestor who picked up his papers, and told everyone he was leaving, never coming back.
The conversation might have gone something like this: "Sorry, mom and dad, I can't live in this pig-mess any more, no prospect for me here; I'm going out to search my fortune in America. I'll see you in Heaven." Perhaps, it was more drastic, as:" you're not going to have me to kick around anymore. Asta la vista, baby."
If you follow your way west, you'll end up on US 101, the westernmost highway, taking you up and down the coast from Alaska to the tip of South America. (Frankly, I have never taken the trip; my map, however, shows a continuous highway.
Once, in our early married life, my husband, baby and I drove our Volkswagen out of California, north to Washington, across to Idaho, Montana and zigzagging all the way to New York, and then south to Florida. Six years later, (after our studies) we returned to California taking the southern route to California. That trip was a benchmark for us, a blissful and stressful trip that allowed my new husband to show off his America to his immigrant wife. The trip took us over a month, driving continuously, breaks for meals, for sleeping, and for letting our toddler run around.
On the road is our idea of ultimate bliss. On the road, discovering new places, getting lost, communing with nature, is our idea of American freedom.
If you don't believe me, watch Western movies.
On Saturday, we will celebrate our Independence Day. We'll all drive to the parade, drive in the parade, drive to the fireworks, and then drive back home.

43 comments:

willow said...

We had one particular ancestor in our family line who did just that. Went west and was never heard from again. Several years ago, I found him online in census records, in various mining towns in California.

Happy 4th to you and yours.

Brian Miller said...

i will be the first to admit, i have wanderlust. i love finding new and strange discoveries. of course the gas prices crimp that a little. My wife like to find the end of the roads, me i just try to find a way back. enjoy the ride!

Sink said...

When I was younger I would take the drives with no particular place to go. Now I'm just happy when the tank is full. Gives me an almost free feeling.
Enjoy the holiday.

Pyzahn said...

Nothing gives me the feeling of exhilaration like jumping in the car for a road trip. The freedom of the open road.

To me it is so carefree. No deadlines. No schedules. Just good music. Junk food. Exploration. New sights and scenes.

Aww, now I want to go somewhere.

marc aurel said...

When they talked about bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, I turned to my argumentative son, the oldest, and said, "The automobile is part of the American dream".

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I love traveling by car. I would love to take another road trip across the country, haven't done that since I was a kid.

Have a great 4th.

Elizabeth

NitWit1 said...

The freedom to do what we individually enjoy as long as we harm no one else if the greatest expression of what America is all about.

There is a sayting that Freedom Is Not Free. It has been bought and preserved by those before us. It is our cause to preserve it for those who come after us.

Happy Independence Day to all.

Reya Mellicker said...

It isn't just westerners, you know. Ever since humankind decided to move out of Africa, we've been a ramblin' species. We're migratory.

enjoy the road, and happy 4th!

potsoc said...

We had quite a few rambling trips across Canada and the US eastern coast. Once, with the kids then 7 and 5 we went down to North Carolina (the Outer Banks) then across N. C. to Tennessee over the Blue Mountains and up to Ontario via Kentucky (where my wife taught our twin girls to make bubbles with bubble gum and my son bougth a replica of a Daniel Boone carbine), Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. And from Windsor Ontario back to Montreal. We were all exhausted but so satisfied also.
Our money, back then, was almost at par with the US$, today gaz prices and money exchange would make those trips impossibly expensive. Of course the wife and I had a full month vacation...yes I know we wre privileged.

Eddie Bluelights said...

It would be really great to do the trip without a care in the world.
I love driving long journeys - our UK efforts are miniscule compared to your's though.

Louise said...

Golly, what brave things you were taking a toddler on a month+ road trip -- but then again if it's in your blood I guess it's not a problem...

Beth said...

So, is this permission to watch Clint Eastwood all day tomorrow? I love westerns - especially with Clint!

Beth said...

On a different note, I wish I had the time and resources to travel. When I've been out west, I LOVE the terrain and the people. I wish I could just take off sometimes.

Hit 40 said...

No one asked and maybe I need to go back and read your past posts...

I would guess you have a classic car if you are driving in the parade? My dad has a convertible from the '50s. Very cool.

And where were you born?

Sarah Lulu said...

Happy Independence Day ...

we love to travel and explore in Australia too.

Helen said...

Dear Rosaria, I am like a child when it comes to watching parades and fireworks. This is the perfect holiday !!!!!

Driving is pure freedom and I love the feeling ... always have!

Happy 4th!

Ribbon said...

Yes we too in Australia do long distance driving as there is no other way to get to a lot of the country.
I love a long drive and have the feeling for one right now. It's been a while since I've driven across Australia.

Happy safe driving.

best wishes
Ribbon

Renee said...

Rosaria when we were kids and travelled all over it was the best thing ever.

To this day I love to travel to different places by car. Unfortunately sometimes with my back I can't do it. But I love it all the same.

xoxo

Rob-bear said...

Rosaria: for you and so many, life is a "moving experience." Glad you've had the chance to travel.

By time I was 25, I had been in 9 of Canada's 10 provinces. It was an incredible learning experience. People really do think differently and live differently in the various parts of the country. (I'm sure that's true in the US as well.)

Happy July 4th -- hope you have a wonderful tme with all your plans.

Maggie May said...

I think we just take it for granted that these early pioneers did travel & leave their home countries, but when you stop and consider just how brave they were going into the complete unknown and what it meant to their families, to say goodbye (as it really WAS goodbye) then we realize the personal sacrifices involved.
Interesting post which I enjoyed.

Delwyn said...

Hi Rosaria

this desire to spread one's wings is interesting because it only affects a part of the population. The US has large numbers of people who for various reasons have never travelled far afield let alone out of the US.

Australians, like Ribbon said, thing nothing of driving great distances, sometimes 12 hours to the city for a concert of party...
and then there is the cultural phenomena of the grey nomads - I think we have talked of this before...

Happy days

Man of Roma said...

To be ‘on the road’ is an imported dream in Italy, but it is nonetheless a hot dream our generation has felt a lot.

We took it from ‘Easy Rider’ or of course from ‘On the Road’ by Kerouac. But we mainly took it live from the spirit of all the American friends who poured to Italy at that time.

I know this is a standardized fancy, but I have dreamt ALL my life to grab a huge motorcycle (not a Harley-Davidson though, but a Honda or Guzzi) and – along the US 101, now I know - go from Canada all the way to South America to go watch the penguins dance. Now my back doesn’t allow me to fulfil this dream any more.

It sounds stupid, but I have this joke with some Asian friend that the Penguins are waiting and waiting and getting oh sooo bored because their dance is so darn lonely without us going there to watch them.

Many years ago I read in the National Geo Mag about a young man who did exactly that. He went alone on motorcycle from Canada to Patagonia watch the penguins and bringing with him only Homer and Dante’s Comedy. That's all he needed: his motorcycle, those 2 books and savage nature around him. My, it really struck my imagination!

(excuse me for the long - and a bit weird - comment)

Man of Roma said...

PS
Besided, I'm offtopic, your post was about going West, the Frontier, not from North to South.

Abe Lincoln said...

You are a good writer. Your meanderings around the country is something I did but on my thumb back when you didn't have to worry about much except getting there. Nice post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Shadow said...

road trips are fun. although the going is always better than the coming back...

Woman in a Window said...

You're full of cheek on this one and driving but I think you're onto something. You've infused me with wanderlust but then it was already brewing there under the surface.

Gaston Studio said...

Yep, we Americans have a continuous love affair with our cars; I personally have a love/hate relationship at times because I'm so dependent on the darn thing!

I love road trips, especially unstructured ones where you can stop to see anything you want at any time without feeling the pressure of having to be some place at a specific time.

Love this post Rosaria, and happy 4th to you and yours.

Jane

Bogey said...

I am happiest when I am behind the wheel and driving with no pre-destination in mind. I've come close to being lost a few times but have always managed to find my way home again. You must have some very fond memories of your journey around your great country. Happy 233!

Renee said...

You are too funny Rosaria you made me laugh.

Love you and have a great weekend.

Love Renee xoxo

Polly said...

Happy 4th July! I hope you have wonderful celebrations.

I like your travel story, I love long journeys and hearing about them, On The Road is one of my favourite books...

I recently drove from Krakow to Budapest, 6 hours in the car, which would be fun if it wasn't for a fact that I was doing the journey on my own.

Diana said...

I admit it...I love road trips!

Most of our family vacations when I was a child were road trips, and although the driving part wasn't my favorite, I have such fond memories of those trips as a whole. We were on a budget, we camped, my brother and I picked up cans at the campgrounds and turned them in for change. I loved it! I hope we can do some of the same for my daughter.

LisaNewton said...

When my oldest daughter turned 18 and had one year of college behind her, I knew my chances for a family vacation were almost over.

So, I packed my four daughters in my minivan and off we went.

11,000 miles and 5 weeks later, we had the cross country trip of our lives, and loved every minute of it.

To really appreciate this wonderful country we call the USA, a cross country trip is the best way.

Jack and Kernel said...

Very nice pictures!!! I want to go for a long walk with you. Woof Woof!!!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

It all sounds a bit like South Africa - wide open spaces, roads that lead through wide open spaces to other places. It's a total adventure being on the road! Wonderful freedom.

GutsyWriter said...

I have never driven across the U.S. Coming from Europe, I hate driving long distances. I prefer trains where I can relax. My husband and I are flying to Fort Myers to check out the islands like Captiva, Sanibel, Pine Island, for future living. Have you been there? We live in southern California now, but after one year living in Belize, I miss the Caribbean. Humidity doesn't bother me. Happy 4th July.

Tessa said...

Viva America! Happy 4th July and a thousand, million happy days after that. Ah, the American Dream - it is what we all strive for, I think, even if we are not American. It is a dream that holds resonance for people around the world.

As you've probably guessed by now, I collect road trips. I read about them avidly, dream about them constantly and take them as often as I possibly can. The trip you took as a young married couple with your toddler sounds like my idea of heaven - I would so love to hear more about that adventure.

I do hope that your Inependence Day, the parade and the fireworks will be memorable and heartwarming and, above all, full of good cheer for you and your husband.

Renee said...

Happy July 4th.

Women had the right to vote in Canada in 1916 and women in the states had the right to vote in 1920.

Love you.

xoxo

potsoc said...

@Renée: 1916 saw the federal government give women the right to vote in federal elections. At the provincial and municipal levels it came later and years varied according to the individual provinces and territories.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

"On Saturday, we will celebrate our Independence Day. We'll all drive to the parade, drive in the parade, drive to the fireworks, and then drive back home."

Yours is the spirit of freedom - can feel the liberation in your traveling ventures.

A HAPPY 4th so it is... do visit - The Spirit of '76 awaits!

Natalie said...

Well,I am gobsmacked at the thought of traveling for a month, with a toddler....ARGH!!!!
You are a better man than me Gungadin! But we knew that anyway!
Happy, Happy, Independence Day to you and yours.xx♥

Midlife Jobhunter said...

For our honeymoon 31 years ago, my husband and I drove from Michigan to Astoria, Oregon. We took the Pacific Coast Highway - 101 all the way down to Big Sur. We got lost somewhere and ended up in the redwood forest in California. Camped. Met incredible people and and drove, drove, drove. Oh, to be that young - which is why we did it then. Rather favor the hotel now.

Lori ann said...

YES! ultimate bliss. That is the truth. You are SO right.
I love love love road trips.

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