little sarah Big World

Tag: the open road

Life’s a Trip

~OR~

“I could go forever with a car, the open road, good music, and good company”

Looking up in Rip Van Winkle Park

Do you remember when you said that if all we had was a bed and music, we could have an amazing time?

Café Lumiere, I believe

But we also have coffee–sometimes fancy (with maximum adjectives), sometimes simple (black). Sometimes instant, after a nap or with our sunlight closet kitchen breakfasts.

The Russian Way

And we have amazing friends, from all over the world. Friends who make us P-shaped sofa beds to sleep on after arriving in the middle of the night–post-party–after 13 hours of driving. Friends who make speeches, or take us to a private beach, or get us tipsy on champagne on a sunny winter’s afternoon.

Now with more regular sustenance

We have words, too, and crosswords, and we divide and conquer, for maximum fun. We have a new-found sense of comfort around each other, so that just as the faint worry forms itself in my mind (“What if we just sit here and eat in silence like all the saddest couples?”), it is obliterated by how utterly easy it is to be around you.

you coo lay leigh

We have a ukulele! We lose entire mornings to it, burn through lazy afternoons and surprise each other with our sweet-yet-simple, earnest efforts to plunk out a tune. So we do have music, but now we make music, too.

P, B, and J

We have snacks for days, and sometimes we have meals. We cook together, and sometimes we say “Fuck it,” and get take-out, and it feels like the most fun, the most giddy and indulgent thing. It feels like milk and cookies with a friend after school. It feels like a sleepover. Like no parents no rules.

sunny slopes in Pacific Grove

And we have sunshine. We have sunshine in our hearts, and warming our scalps, and electrifying our pulses, and we have it in the kitchen, and coming in through the wintery west windows, and in the middle of December. We have easy sunsets on the conversation-fueled charges from Utah to California and back, and we have a steady, stealthy sunrise as we pull into the City of Salt, 8am, 13 hours weary but ready to keep going.

We do a loop around the valley. We arrive back home exhausted, thrilled, enamored.

*       *       *

So yes, music and a bed would be enough. But we have so, so much more.

Road Trippin’

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.

*       *       *

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.