Tag Archives: road trips

A Detour.

Sometimes I’ll see a road sign or something that looks interesting. Or something will tell me to turn down a road I’ve passed hundreds of times before. I love when I have the time available to be able to give into my urges and travel down these unknown roads. (Really . . . wouldn’t it be great if every day you could see a place you’ve never seen before?! And really it is possible without having to hop in a plane every week.)

This evening on the way home from running an errand I saw a sign for a park and the next thing I knew I was crossing three lanes of traffic so I could be in the turning lane. And then driving until I found the park. And then driving until I found the park after that one. I got out of my car and walked around, not worrying about my new shoes. (If we let our new shoes prevent us from walking upon new places, then what good are we really doing?)

Although I was resilient to instagram in the past in favor of using my DSLR (and before that resilient to anything digital), I have to say I love the freedom having a mini-camera in my pocket at all time affords me. Just like having on new shoes shouldn’t stop me, neither should having a “real camera.”

There’s just something about these detours. No matter the sight, the feeling of seeing and experiencing something new is amazing.

And with this little camera embedded in my phone, I can easily capture these moments and show them in the light my memory attributes to them.

I can always come back with the “big guns” if I so choose.

I’m always left satisfied yet longing for more. When will my next adventure be?! What will I find next?!

Even in the most limited of spaces, there is always a new path you can take. And with a few spare minutes and a camera in your pocket, there’s really no excuse not to.

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The American West

Five years ago, I was traveling the great American west by car with three friends.

We tried, whenever practical, to take a “long arm picture” with every state sign.

I was going through a phase in my life where I wore a lot of sweatpants in public. And nasty, old t-shirts. And no make-up. And little-to-no hair maintenance. Seriously. I was a dumpy piece of poop.

But we had a lot of fun.

And sometimes didn’t look too haggard.

We had to catch California on the way out.

We pointed at the Washington sign from afar.

By this point we were starting to go crazy and just wanted to go home.

Yup. We were done.

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As Simple as Silence

Yesterday I found myself faced with a two-hour window of time between obligations and a recently burned “Best of 2011” mix CD that just had to be listened to. And so I just drove, enjoying the music and the silence of being alone.

I stopped my car at the Iowa Veterans’ Cemetery and drove around a lap before stopping to give a grieving widow her chance to be alone without my interruption.

There, I enjoyed the silence and the reflection on what these men and women have contributed. As far as cemeteries go, it isn’t the most beautiful or charming (yes, I just used those words to describe cemeteries) but its reason for being makes it such a special place.

Sometimes it’s just nice to go somewhere, completely alone, and just reflect or think about nothing at all. Think of things outside of you. Every so often, I just need to drive. I need country roads and hills and signs of life outside of my immediate vision. And I usually end up at cemeteries, not out of morbid fascination but out of the quiet. It had been an interesting twelve hours and I needed that.

* * *

Those flowers found alone in the first picture? The note attached read “Happy Birthday Daddy.” And then my heart just shattered.

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Ten Years Ago: An Adventure in Harrison, OH

It just came to my attention that today’s date is November 29th, 2011, marking ten years since November 29th, 2001. A night that I will forever know exactly where I was. (Seriously? TEN YEARS?!)

You see, on November 29th, 2001, George Harrison died. I was also travelling with my friends Kristen and Dave to Cincinatti to see Saves the Day. I will always remember these two events happened on the same day because as Saves the Day took the stage Chris Conley yelled out something to the extent of “RIP George Harrison!” as the band broke into “As Your Ghost Takes Flight” for their opener. At the time, this was the best show I ever attended, probably most attributable to being within the timeframe of “Stay What You Are,” a quite excellent album. (It bleeds 2001.) I have since seen Saves the Day twice and neither show quite matched that one.


The real heart of this story concerns the drive back to Bloomington, you see. As we were leaving, Kristen’s car broke down . . . in none other than Harrison, OH. On the night of the day of the death of my favorite Beatle. George Harrison. We were broke down, essentially straddling the IN-OH state line, after leaving a Waffle House. We had to call a tow truck and get a ride to a hotel, where we were almost denied service because we were all under 21 and only one of us had a credit card. We had to stick around town waiting for a ride (and one who didn’t realize how many of us there were) until later the next day. In other words: adventures were had.

Luckily, I captured this all in writing shortly after the experience. That account can be found here: Harrison, OH.

I will always remember November 29th, the day George Harrison’s ghost took flight and I became grounded in Harrison, OH.

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If I could . . .

If I could, I would essentially be a hobo.

Let’s rule out money. Let’s say it doesn’t exist (but I can’t fathom any possibility where there isn’t some system of valuation that drives supply and demand and ultimately greed).

In that scenario, my job would be to travel the country. I like the idea of traveling by train and being a passive bystander. But let’s be real: I need the control. I need to be the one behind the wheel or at least the one with the ultimate say.

I want to see everything.

I want to be able to stop to point out some tiny detail, even if to myself.

I want to perfect the art of the roadtrip.

I want to be a part of America.

I want that open road! That sense of freedom and feeling of being one with the dying frontier. That sense of accomplishment.

I want to take my tour book, outlining the must-sees of America, and drive to every single one of them.

I need to spend years filling in the gaps of what I haven’t seen.

I never want to satisfy this restlessness.

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