Photos: Driving Across the U.S., Oregon to Maine

I think every American should drive across the United States at least once. My dad's stories of hitchhiking across the country with long hair in the 70s hooked me. The sheer beauty and expanse of our fair distinguished country keeps me coming back.

Three days after Thanksgiving, my wife and I drove from Portland, Oregon, to Belfast, Maine, via Knoxville. We crushed it: 4K miles in five nights, with one day off with friends. We snuck between snowstorms, and, when wind closed the Wyoming highway, we found an alternative route with help from the local DOT. The photos below feature Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine—a tiny glimpse at the experience of actually covering those miles.

Some people think it's uncomfortable to sit in a vehicle for five days, and they're right. But flying sucks even more, and people do it all the time. The reward for seeing the diversity of the United States is worth it. People in this country live a bazillion ways, like that travel center in Kansas selling magnets with the cast of the Wizard of Oz bearing guns and a flag saying "Homeland Security."

I don't care if you drive, bike, walk, or skip. The important thing is putting in the miles so you can actually see America unfold.

On past trips, I've been able to tuck into killer trucker food at mom-and-pop stops. They must still exist. Maybe we were driving too fast. Every truck stop we saw, from the West to the East, featured the same fast-food spots: McDonald's, Subway, Popeye's, Taco Bell. We've got to stop eating this crap so we can get some soul back.

Another huge benefit of driving across the U.S. is the opportunity to reconnect with long-lost friends. I saw two great, great buds I hadn't seen in 10 years. Seeing them for just a few hours one night was like a dream.

We also got to see our good friend, author Kelly Luce, at her new digs, a historic mill where soldiers were quartered during the Civil War.

Our kitty did better than expected, especially when you consider she adamantly refused to swallow the very pills designed to soothe her. We made sure to give her plenty of bathroom breaks—all of which she refused—and we fed her anything she liked—mostly Nashville hot chicken (psych: It was Temptations Classic Tasty Chicken). She liked sitting on our laps the most, and it was super cute watching her watch the tractor-trailer trucks slithering by with endless wonder.

The last night, we arrived at my aunt's house outside of Boston around midnight. My aunt and uncle both waited up for us. We only slept a few hours and then hit the final leg of our trip. My aunt made us three breakfast sandwiches for the road at 5 a.m. What the hell did I do right?

My dad often says, when traveling, it takes your mind three days to catch up with your body. Arriving at our new home, the dreaminess of what we were doing clogged my being. I felt like morning fog. The house we were standing in was supposedly ours. The truck we'd called home for the past week was long gone. We put on bathrobes and rain boots and explored the enshrouding mist.


Unknown said…
You're SO right. What a great trip.
Flying does suck and people do it all the time. ;-)
Your cat is preparing you maginificently for parenthood should you decide to go there.
Congratulations on your new home!!
Best to you from The He Said ~ She Said Wine Blog which really isn't happening since we had twins.
Best WISHES!!!
Ha ha - right?! Skip the planes and cover some real terrain. Congrats on the twins, and keep drinking the good stuff!
OrangeMew said…
I would only read trip this long if there was a lap cat involved as shown.
@orangemew I love your terminology.

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