There is more than one school of Road Trip philosophy. Some people pack their snacks and lunches and plow straight through to their destination, stopping only to gas up or take a leak.
I prefer to stop for lunch, stretch my legs, and see a small part of this country that I wouldn’t have otherwise visited. Small Town America, I guess it’s called.
On this trip–Salt Lake City to Deckers, Colorado–we took I-15 eastward towards Cheyenne, then turned south, crawled past Denver (worst. traffic. EVER.), and headed into Pike National Forest. On the way there, we stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where I hoped to find a quaint, road-side diner. (I live for quaint, road-side diners).
And there was quaint-ness to the town, sure, but no diner to be found, and no people out in the hot mid-day sun. It was eerily quiet, with church bells chiming noon, giving a very Sunday feeling, though really it was only Tuesday. In the end, we settled for a colorful but dingy Mexican restaurant, which, come to think of it, is probably just about as representative of Small Town America as anything else these days.
On our way back home, we stopped in Laramie, Wyoming. Say what you will about its reputation, Laramie is charming as hell. Kevin said he felt like we were closer to the sky, high above the mountain ranges we normally look up to from down in this dry salty valley.
The sky was astonishing–electric blue with bright white clouds–and with no mountains to cut it off in either direction, it was immense. Here’s further proof:
Road trips are such classic American fare, something I’ve never been able to duplicate elsewhere. The wide open spaces (even in this modern, developed year, 2011), the small towns, the gas stations with public restrooms, the rest stops with travelers and visitors from all over, stretching their legs, walking their dogs, refilling their water bottles.
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Some day I would like to travel all across the US, and write about it. Because blue sky like this, and church bells on a Tuesday, and listening to the Beatles, and books on take, and NPR (while you’ve still got the signal)…well, that’s something worth sharing.