Gone to Look for America (Soon)

May 8, 2015

As I’ve mentioned on a few occasions in the past couple of weeks, I’m driving to my daughter’s college graduation. I’m a solo going, and with her and her stuff—more on that below—on the return.

“Why don’t you fly?” I hear that question often, and I have a ready response, albeit one which stays within the confines of my thoughts: Have you flown lately? (Read Air Travel, Like Other Facets of American Life, Is Not What It Used to Be, by Andres Giridharadas for the New York Times on August, 23, 2013 for an overview; check Joe Sharkey at the New York Times for details.)

In my case flying means paying a premium to fly from Tucson, or driving to Phoenix. (Two hours, for readers from elsewhere.) There’s a one to two hour wait, after security and before boarding, assuming an on time flight. Then there’s cramped seating with strangers, limited access to the facilities, drinks in crummy plastic cups, etc., all while one wonders just exactly how this metal tube full of strangers got up, stays up, and comes down where and when it should.

It also means arriving in Chicago and renting a car or waiting for a bus to northern Illinois. And about that bus? It’s the one that comes an hour or two after the one that left just a moment before I arrived at the curb.

Phooey on that! Road trip!!!

There’ll be no cigarettes or Mrs. Wagner pies (or Kathy or a Greyhound, for that matter) on this trek, by I am “gone to look for America.” This’ll be the western version, going from Arizona to Wisconsin and back again.

My journey starts with a business meeting in Scottsdale. (Not planned, but road trips are all about improv.) I had planned for night one in Truth or Consequences, but Scottsdale to T/C does not work, so it’ll be Holbrook, AZ. Winslow was a possibility, but my daughter and I did the Standin’ on the Corner thing three years ago, and Holbrook is closer to Scottsdale and Wisconsin. (Can you spell s-h-o-r-t-c-u-t?)*


Day two is my long day, and will end in Ft. Morgan, northeast of Denver. Day three should wrap up in Des Moines, with an easy trip to Chicago the next morning. Of course, these plans are plans only, and my real plan involves stopping here and there, for you can’t look for or see very much on interstate highways, plowing along at 75 miles per hour.

The return route has not been determined. I expect that we’ll avoid Tornado Alley, and I certainly won’t mind not spending a penny in Kansas, Oklahoma, or Texas, but TBD right now.

Now, I mentioned stuff. College grad stuff comes in two main categories, one of which has two subparts. The first group includes everything which will fit into a Prius. More than non-Prius owners think, but not that much. Group two is everything else, divided into the stuff to be: (a) shipped home; and (b) left behind. Now, if you think I’m going to lose this battle, invest in Brown. I plan to!

I expect to continue my blog posts while I’m away, with reports from the road—and the graduation festivities—and the usual commentaries. Look for pics, and there will be a wrap-up report or two, for sure.

*Spelling brings to mind the Educational Enrichment Fund’s 4th Annual Celebrity Spelling Bee, which will be held on August 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. I’ll be spelling again, still searching for an outcome better than second, fourth, or third. Contact me for details.



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