This was a journey planned but not undertaken. We never even thought of how to get to the start, much less how to finish it, and yet it still seems like the best idea we ever had. It was meant to be the sort of formative adventure among friends that would endure in our memories forever.
Every stop and leg of the journey would be a tribute to the best things we knew about those places. Whether the towering buildings of New York or the endless expanses of Kansas, there was a purpose particular to each. Some were more than worthy, like capturing the spectacles of Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon, and others bordered on the absurd. Memphis for a token walk or Dodge City just to get out.
We wanted a little piece of as much of the nation as could be achieved without losing direction too much. Starting on one coast and ending up on the other felt like a great challenge, the perfect way to frame a great adventure. But for me there was a slightly deeper meaning than for whoever accompanied me. After thousands of miles and endless days of driving through the cities and countryside we would arrive in California.
Lived there once, when I was young. Exhausted and ready to go home, we’d take the final stretch up Big Sur, aware of our conceit but not caring because we had finished the journey and were happy.
One of the last stops would take us trundling through a Saratoga suburb until I found the old place with the creek behind, leading to a dusty rail line. The sort of place that when choking the air with dust kicked up from bike wheels was like a vast wilderness but now would seem small.
Melancholy well-established. On to San Francisco for the final days of postponing the real world and then the bittersweet return.