Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mapping it Out

I bought my road atlas yesterday at the local Walgreen's and already began to feel the pull of the road. I asked the young clerk if they had a road atlas and he quickly led me to the magazine display which held two different sizes. I opted for the more familiar large format. He and I opened the book to the page with the US map and pointed to parts of the country we each wanted to see. I let him turn to the Colorado page first.

I often wonder what motivates young people to go to either Colorado or Washington. I sense an increase in migration for recent high school graduates to colleges in those states. Is it the lure of legal weed? I hope parents aren't paying out-of-state tuition just so their kids can get high. I also hope marijuana becomes legal all over the country before too long. I would love to see it decriminalized, and to see states getting some revenue from tax on it rather than have the proceeds fuel the illegal drug industry.

I opened the book to the Florida page. Driving the Overseas highway to Key West has been a goal of mine for as long as I have known it was possible. That, along with driving to the pinnacle of Pike's Peak in Colorado seem to me like the ultimate road trip experiences. I intend to do both this trip.

I looked at possible routes while sitting in the pedicure throne at my local salon. While flipping through pages and trying to decide where to head first, the cover tore lose from the book. This is the fate of every road atlas I have ever owned. I never look at them on flat surfaces where the stapled binding can rest securely, I'm always holding them in my hands, folding back the pages until the outer pages are stripped away one-by-one. I think I'm going to look for a more compact format with a spiral binding for the trip.

Deciding the route for leaving home is going to be difficult. So many magnificent places are near my starting point in El Dorado Hills, California. I must decide among heading east over any one of several high Sierra mountain passes, perhaps making my way through Yosemite and up to Lake Tahoe, or should I head south and drive the Big Sur coast? Alternatively, I could head north through the Napa Valley and on toward Mendocino, or maybe it would be best to leave my heart in San Francisco, cross the Golden Gate and go up the coast highway. I'm a fair weather driver and I refuse to drive into the blinding sun. That means I'm going to have to plan my winter routes carefully and confine my eastbound driving hours to afternoons and head westward in the morning. So, I've decided to make my first leg northbound through the Napa Valley.

I'm going to head for the Canadian border and hope to make it to Thunder Bay, Ontario before winter sets in. Tentatively, I'll then head south for the winter following the course of the Mississippi from its source at Lake Itasca near Bemidji, Minnesota to the mouth at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Today I'm going to shop for a small, lightweight portable sewing machine. I know that sounds silly, not many would understand planning a road trip by deciding what sewing machine to take. For me, it is as vital as a computer or cell phone. I simply cannot go long without yielding to my compulsion to touch and form fabric.


  1. You must get the book Roadtrip with a Raindrop; 90 Days Along the Mississippi River by Gayle Harper. It is a beautiful book I got Dennis for Christmas. Gayle is a friend of Cathy Gearing. This sounds like a awesome trip. Gayle kept an active FB page of her journey as well. You may well have a second or third book in you!

  2. I understand your sewing machine needs and your compulsion to touch and form fabric. I will enjoy following you on your trip of a lifetime!

  3. A sewing machine would be a must for me too. Stop at every antique mall you come across, you might find yourself a nice featherweight at a decent or bargain price. (;

    1. I'm keeping my eyes open for a featherweight. I need a backup machine. Mine has been in the shop for three weeks waiting on a part from Switzerland. I'm going crazy without it! However, I do get a lot more writing done!