Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cross Country - A road trip, Day five.

It's 2:00pm and I'm waking up with what can only be described as a hangover without the fun night. I'm groggy, and as I'm looking around a crappy-ass hotel room. I stagger to the shower. At least the water is hot.

That brick in the industrial strength paper is not soap. It looks like soap, but it's not. I have some soap in my bag from a previous hotel. Yeah, I steal hotel soap. Who doesn't?

The towel is made of sandpaper. I step onto the other towel - my clean feet don't want to touch the dirty floor. I ask myself why I care. My feet respond and say "did you see the floor?" They have a point.

I'm out the door, I get some coffee and I say goodbye to the worlds worst/dirtiest/unsanitary hotel. At least I have a story that needs no embellishing.

I haven't seen this part of Virginia since I was 13. We lived outside of D.C. when I was much younger, and we drove through here when we moved to Hawaii. Being young and impatient, I didn't have any appreciation for the hills, the old fences, the slow rivers, the historic brick houses. It's a beautiful part of the state that claims it's for lovers. At least, that's what the bumper stickers tell me.

My camera is next to me, but there is too much traffic to try using it. So, today's part is both uneventful and lacking in pictures.

I reach Mt. Jackson, VA around 4:30 and reach the Capital beltway around 7:30 - just outside of rush hour. Anyone who lives out there knows that this was excellent timing.


I pull into the apartment around 8:30. And collapse.


Stats:

5 Days
3000 miles (plus or minus)
9 states
Average price of gas was $3.39/gallon
The mileage was am embarrassing 13.96, but if you have an old landcruiser, you would recognize that this is actually pretty good -they average around 11.

I've done long road trips in a Honda Accord, on a BMW 1150 GS, on another motorcycle (Honda Shadow) in the Landcruiser, in a Penske truck, in a Chrysler Van, a Ford Station Wagon, and of course, in a red VW Bus. This is my first time on the southern route across country. I've been across 80 twice, coast to coast, but was too young to leave a mark on my life.

Each road trip contains lessons, meditations, moments of inspiration and epiphany. I spent most of this trip looking for the beauty and rhythm of the land and location. The long spaces in between my fuel stops were opportunities reflect everything, and one thing I couldn't help but notice still sticks. The mythology that we have created in films, books, shows, poetry, song. It's a mythology that hasn't far off from fact, but it's fading. The small towns are dry. The paint is fading, and the roads need repair. You can taste the effects of time and neglect.

It's a long and beautiful road, but it is much shorter than we think.

“But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see?”
Jack Kerouac, On the Road 

The Road

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