It’s a big country we live in. Holy shit, it’s a big country we live in. There’s no two ways around it…actually, there’s infinite amount of ways around and through it…and I think it needs to be done by driving. It’s like visiting a town or a city for the first time, the best way to go about it is by walking or ridding a bike. Bicycle is ideal because you go faster than walking, and you catch so much more than by driving a car. In the same way, going through the country…I wouldn’t…or should I say, I don’t see myself ridding a bike through this country when often times the distances are 100 miles or more between towns…so driving is what’s ideal for me.
I’ve been avoiding the interstate highways as much as possible. Sometime this adds hundreds of miles to my trip, and if I hadn’t done that yesterday, I would have missed the immense beauty of Route 550 from Cuba to Farmington, New Mexico, one of the most gorgeous roads I’ve driven so far. The terrain changes every twenty or so miles. The land is a hard one, a tough one, one that needs some resilient motherfuckers to learn how to live there. I’m not sure that I would have the ability nor the wherewithal to figure it out. The people who live here must be some tough folks with some tough skin.
I’ve driven over 1500 miles since I left Austin just about one month ago. My last day at my job was on September 28th. It’s been decades since I’ve taken on this kind of a road trip, and I swear to you, I’m never waiting that long again to travel over a thousand miles…by train, boat, bicycle or automobile…as much as I can, I’ll avoid airplanes, the big jetliners that is…I’ve never liked them anyway. I want to travel across the oceans in a large boat like a big floating city from one port to the next…and I want to visit this country, every one of the lower 48 in my little house on wheels.
One of the interviews that I recorded last week while I was in Albuquerque…I was talking with the sculptor Jami Porter Lara, and at some point we talked about taking long sessions of time away from work. And how important that is to stay sane. It’s really necessary, I believe, to stay sane…to be able to create and to let your imaginative life thrive. Now eventually, you’ve go to sit still for a while, driving and going from place to place is good, but eventually you’ve go to sit down somewhere for a few weeks so as to put your thoughts together…however the moving about and seeing different folks, different places, and different landscapes is also a huge part of the equation.
And our country is a big country, folks. You’ve got to see it. Not only that, but you’ve go to drive through it…why? Because you just cannot know how fucking big it is until you drive from one side of it to the other. Miles keep adding up and they keep building up and they just never seem to stop coming. The roads, some of them, especially in West Texas & in South East New Mexico go on for hundreds of mile without even so much as a little curb, a little turn to the left or to the right, to bring about a bit of diversity…the strain on your brains, on your eyes, on your foot on that pedal…to just keep going, to keep on driving straight ahead…I don’t wish that exactly on everybody, however it’s good to experience this road that never fucking ends, at least once, if not several times.
And then the rest of the country! I’ve only driven through two states, and Texas I merely left the Hill Country and drove west, that’s not even a quarter of the state if that…and now I’m almost out of New Mexico, heading to Arizona, Nevada, and California…and that’s just a small little chunk of this country…
Talking with Jami, we got on the subject of most people in this country not being able to take more than two weeks off per year, and even then, it’s really just a week and half where people are so tired that they usually stay at home and don’t go anywhere. One of these days, American corporations are going to learn that their employees would be much happier, and thus much more productive, if they could take a month off per year. And that’s the minimum really.
Here I am, I’ve been on the road for almost a whole month, my last day at the Whip In in south Austin was on September 28th. That’s a month and half, and I’m just now starting to feel my soul again, to feel that I am more than just a machine that needs to produce whatever activity that I am being paid for…
I am a living spirit with a soul and a mind, and a need to create.
And that’s me working at a really cool fun place where I liked my fellow employees and am friends with most of them, and my boss and the owner…and still I needed the time away. I’d been there for 1.5 years without taking a break, without barely taking a weekend off, and not ever going out of town. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to work for a large corporation inside an air-conditioned cubicle with a forty minute commute living in the fucking suburbs. I would either commit suicide or become a homicidal maniac.
Moral of the story: Road trips are good, and should be experienced as often as possible.
Peace & Love
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