It was supposed to be so easy. Just get the insurance, buy the car, drive around the country for 8000 miles, sell the car, fly back home enriched and awakened for the experience, having discovered a bit about myself in the process.
Ha! Try buying insurance in the States when you don’t have a residency. Even if you lie and say “the car will mostly be in a friend’s garage the whole time”…
That was the ostensible issue. Actually, in the back of my head for the last couple of weeks I’ve had a nagging doubt… we were to see some 30 or 40 different towns and places during our stay, do the math and that works out at about a day and a half in each place. Now remembering that to really get to know a place you have to spend months there probably, one and a half days would have been just skimming the surface.
Also, I received a warning from a friend… he gave me a mental picture of some pretty desolate roads.
Just imagine that barren road. Sure, it’s quite a nice and tranquil road. Now imagine it, exactly the same, after three hours of driving it. “I spy with my little eye…” starts to lose something of its fun when the only answer is “R” for “road”. After three days I think the blog photos would start to become kind of repetitive.
And so, we changed the plan.
I divided the country up into zones. There are three of them. The first one is a loose circuit starting and returning to Atlanta, Georgia. We’ll fly in, hire a car, then hit round all the best places till we arrive back where we started. We could call Zone One the “Rock N’ Roll Zone”: it takes us through Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, round the Mississippi; home of the blues. You don’t get much more rock n’ roll than those places. Then, we change the car and head into Zone Two.
Zone Two is a straight line up from the South and through the Eastern Seaboard till we arrive in Boston, Mass. En route we see NYC, Philadelphia, (a little New Jersey trip being necessary in homage to Bruce Springsteen); but probably the most important thing for us is to see something of all the Civil War history around: Gettysburg, Virginia, Richmond et al. When we get to Boston the historical moment goes back a step and we can focus on the Independence War history and all of the cultural and social ties there are in that. If we have time I’d like to see Nantucket… origin of Moby Dick hunting ships… ahh… Nantucket… say it: “NAaaaN…tuckit” say it like you imagine Tom Waits would say it and you can feel the mystery all around… cold seas and ship’s hard tack and grog; dusky mornings looking out over the ocean as barren as the road in the picture above. Yes yes yes.
And then we fly over to Canada, British Colombia — Victoria to be precise.
After visiting friends in BC, we skip down to 49er town. Not to mention artists great and small: San Francisco. I’m not really a West Coast kinda person, but San Fran might be different… less Hollywood-style beach hangers-on, and more art, cultural existence, sense of past and delight in its own being. Maybe. But we’ll find out anyhow. Then we’ll get a car, drive down to the Grand Canyon, then off to Phoenix (where we will finally establish how it should be spelt, regardless of what the Oxford English Dictionary tells us) and then back to Miami where we originally arrived. If we have an extra week spare we may even go to the Bahamas… but we shall see.
The time we’ll be in the states stays the same, always two and a half months, but this way we get to see more quality things, and less barren roads. Even if one or two barren roads would be nice also. I guess I’ll get really good at “I spy with my little eye”.