I’ve done a lot of driving for two very simple reasons: I hate boats and I hate planes. They both occupy that place in my psyche ruled by fear and fueled by a lack of control. Who really knows what lurks in the deep dark depths of unseen waters and we all know what happens when a flying chunk of metal stops moving! I know the statistics say that it is far safer to fly or take a boat than it is to brave the asphalt and concrete encased in a metal, plastic, and glass bullet…but at least I have some control over this projectile! (I don’t make a very comfortable passenger, either!)
Whatever the case, I love to drive. It is not just that I like to be in control, (I’m really not a control freak), I just love to go to and get to places that planes or boats can’t. There is so much to be seen as you drive across the land and, if you have the right vehicle, so many places you can get to. It doesn’t really matter to me whether it is a 10 lane expressway slithering through a city jungle or a single lane two-track through some backwoods holler…both bring their own kind of excitement and wonder!
I remember driving through the Ozarks in southern Missouri into Arkansas where this Michigan boy saw his first armadillo. I remember the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee with the mist in the morning gently rising and sinking into the valleys. I remember driving home from The House on the Rock through the middle of Wisconsin and finding a most amazing church called Holy Hill that could be seen for miles – its spire touching the sky and beckoning travelers to stop and stare, (which we did and were amazed!). I remember the smell of Yellowstone and crossing the Continental Divide in awe of the Rocky Mountains. I remember the ‘covered drive’ along the spine of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula opening to a quaint small tourist town called Copper Harbor. I remember South Carolina with its moss covered live oak and salty air and Oklahoma’s hot, dry, and dusty landscape. I’ve seen storms rolling through an Illinois sky and marveled at their beauty and driven through torrents that no windshield wiper was made for. I’ve seen the view from mountaintops and felt the clingy air of a valley floor. I have been there! I was a partaker of the environment and a breather of the air! I touched the soil, tasted the rain, felt the heat, and shivered in the cold of this great land!
You just can’t get that feeling from a sailing through or flying over. You have to take the detour off the beaten path and take the less traveled road to experience the wonder of the right here and now! You never know what is just around the corner or over the next hill and those rural surprises can turn any road trip into an adventure!