Every trip seems to be divided in to two parts; the first half, usually three or four days in is all about the scenery. It’s also all about clearing your head of the excess baggage that is clogging our heads. But people who haven’t gone vacilando don’t realize the pitfalls of that third day, as this is the day that self doubt, homesickness, and fear rears it’s ugly head. This is also true if we’re traveling with someone; they could be a life long friend, but you will learn to absolutely hate something about them by that third day.
Never fear, you push throught it and the angst passes, even if it takes separating for a couple of days. Then the trip can regain it’s rhythm and you find yourself in places you never imagined.
But the second half of a journey is where it get’s REALLY good, as it’s not so much about the places but more about the people. I think that it takes the loneliness of the first half to get my mind right for the second half.
I have a secret to meeting people on the road: I make it a point to wash someone else’s windshield every time we stop for gas. The first time I did it was in Clayton, NM on a trip with Zach and Fletch, as this was BC(Before Charlie). I remember it like it was yesterday; Zach saw me heading, squeegee in hand, towards a dilapidated sedan packed with migrant worker. “Dad, you’re going to get your ass kicked” was what I recall him saying, but I may be mistaken in my interpretation.
I’ve been doing it for years now, and it’s still awesome to see the puzzlement on travelers faces when they realize that I’m not hitting them up for cash, just for the fellowship with another human being. The payoff comes when they then feel obligated to tell me “something”; the best pie in town, that the local barber is the president of the International Dark Sky Society, or where there is a waterfall down a little dirt road that I just HAVE to check out. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t, but it’s always good to have extra options.
I can’t count how many friends we have made on the road, many of who maintain contact via this page.
Charlie and I were on our way back from Moab a few years ago when we met Patti and her husband at the Dallas Divide in Colorado. She now follows this page, and recently found a picture she had taken that day.
Why am I telling you this? I don’t really know, except for that I hope it makes you feel at least just a fraction of how good it does me to remember it. It reminds me of another story from the same area involving Rob Zombie, the Million Dollar Highway, and a carload of Apaches…
…but that’s a story for another day.
See you on the road.