If I had a magic wand …

If I had a magic wand that actually worked I would wave it and my bank account would suddenly be imbued with an ability to automatically cover whatever expenditure I chose to make. Then, with that handy tool at my disposal I would acquire the following things.
The first would be a gorgeous bright yellow conversion van with graphic appliqué in shades of brown and blue. Behind that I would tow a trailer for a tricycle motor cycle painted to match the van. The second thing I would invest in would be a reasonably sized helicopter; same color scheme as the van and motorcycle, which I would use to commute to and from the next item on my list. That item would be an adobe and glass home in the northern portion of Monument Valley in northeastern Arizona.
During the winter months I would spend Sunday afternoon through Friday morning at home. Friday afternoon through Saturday evening would be spent with friends in Phoenix and Sunday Morning with my New Foundation family and Sunday afternoon at the Flowing Fellowship of the Society of Sipping Saints. These would be the norm of my existence. However, the abnorm of my existence would be something entirely different. The late spring, summer and early fall months would be spent pursuing my other passion.
People who know me well are aware of my love of driving. The above mentioned desire for a helicopter would be a matter of expedience to accommodate the enjoyment of my two most important life facets; my church family and my love of the deserts of the American Southwest. Driving back and forth between those every week would become boring and tiresome. However, there are other places I would love to see and experience, most of which are between the Arctic Circle and the Rio Grande and between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Flying from point A to point B just doesn’t cut it. There’s no life up there; interesting view maybe, but no life. On the rare occasion that I happen to be seated next to someone who appears to love conversation and new people as much as I do, flying isn’t so bad. On one such occasion the conversation has lasted long past the flight, and although we haven’t actually seen each other since, Elise and I talk frequently and have shared many joys and fears. Those experiences are rare indeed and I believe it’s because of the hurried and tightly scheduled nature of air travel. But I’m getting sidetracked.
Due to the effects of a stroke, which I detail in Dear Mom and Dad, the summer of 1973 was the first time since childhood that I, read that “George”, had not spent working long hours spanning into long weeks. During a trip to the family cabin in Montana upon my release from the hospital, I found Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie, in Search of America. It was one of the very last things he wrote and describes a trip he undertook to reacquaint himself with America. He made the trip with Charlie his French Poodle, in a large self contained camper, which he christened Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse, in Cervantes famous novel about the misadventures of an aging knight in search of glory. The trip takes Steinbeck from upper Maine across the northern tier of states to the Pacific and thence down the coast to southern California, east across the southwest and southern states to the Atlantic and back north to his home on the Chesapeake Bay.
It sounds as if it would be a typical travelogue but it isn’t, because there is a minimum of geographical descriptions; instead there are descriptions of the people he meets along the way; their mannerisms, their regional accents and their outlook on life. He drove, with few exceptions, along the less traveled highways away from the freeways which had the same hurried atmosphere of air travel. After all, that’s what freeways were meant to do; speed things up. I have been longing to make the same trip ever since. I miss the highways of my youth; the highways like Route 66 that passed through the center of every small town in its path; the small towns with a water tower proclaiming the name of the town, and if appropriate, that it was the hometown some famous person or event in history. There always seemed to be at least one traffic light which managed to turn red just as we approached the intersection, affording one the opportunity to gaze about the town at the various business of the town and often some of the people. Even at that young age I always wondered what it would be like to know those people, to see what was behind the glass windows of the stores. As an adult the curiosity has grown proportionally.
The difference for me though, would be that after that trip I would make another, diagonally from Maine to Southern California, and then from Puget Sound in Washington to Florida. After that I think it would be to drive up the Alaskan Highway to Alaska and then across Canada to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. After all that I might, maybe, slightly possibly think about other countries. The only other two places I’ve ever had a desire to see are Norway and Mongolia and what lies between; odd choices I know but the reasons for that are a whole ‘nother story. Naturally, I would be writing wherever I happened to be.
Of course, I would prefer a traveling companion or two; preferably an adult female with the same passion and then a dog which would be a Boxer. Sorry Charlie … we only want dogs with good taste … no poodles.

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