So, it is only a week now and I will be on the road again! A whole month, or so, to just wander around the western United States. I will be visiting 17 states and expect that I will travel some 9000 miles. Now, according to Mapquest, the route is just under 7000 miles, but that doesn’t count any side trips or actually stopping and exploring the towns along the way. In reality, I will be amazed if I only travel 9000 miles. I just seem to find those roads that call me down them to something new and different.
For a fleeting moment, I gave thought to doing the trip on the motorcycle. It passed quickly as I remembered the dirt and unmaintained roads I would be following in many places. Besides, when I ride I get into a “riding” mode it seems, stopping and exploring isn’t as natural for me as when I am in my truck. And then there is the weather — there is a past trip story there for another time! With temperatures expected to range from the low 100’s to the low 20’s, the turbulent weather through Tornado Alley and the incessant winds along the Hi-Line, I think a little shelter would be in order–besides, carrying a view camera, sheet film and tripods on a motorcycle would leave little room for the other camera equipment!
Right now, I expect to be in Portland, Oregon about the 19th of September and plan to stay around a few days. Hopefully, I will run into many of my old friends and get a chance to catch up on what’s been going on! Other than working a bit more on my series in the Pearl District, I really don’t have much of an agenda, except to rest a bit.
Planning for this trip has been surprisingly complicated–more so than when I did these same roads on the Amtrak projects. Although my plan is to just meander along, getting where I get when I get there, I realized that I needed some sort of framework to measure my progress. It is so easy to let the magnitude of such a trip rush you along too fast or to get so engrossed in something that you never move forward–the latter would be better than the former! In any case, I have now travelled the entire route so many times on my GPS mapping software, Mapquest, Google Earth, Google and Wikipedia that I almost feel road weary already! (you might think I am kidding, but I am not) But at least I now know that I will be visiting the home of Folger’s Mrs. Olson, a settlement of French Icarians-where there is also a Nascar affiliated track–and I should have a chance to participate in the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion!
Then there is the town with a turn of the century, unsolved, mass, axe murder, another that was the early home of Richard Speck and Ronald Regan (same town!?!) and the main street that inspired the Comic “Gasoline Alley”. I am looking forward to also seeing the world’s largest Turkey, a behemoth ice cream cone and, most important, the 50 foot tall six pack of beer!
So stay tuned for my reports from the road. My hope is to get something up every day, if possible, but at least several times a week (intenet availability dependent). Oh, and say hello if you happen to see me along the road!