©2013 by LeeZard
While my upcoming road trip is a lifetime dream, I must admit to some fear and I’m not sure what I fear. I am a road guy; I love driving. I love driving long distances and I love going to new places. Do I fear the unknown? Perhaps, but that is usually not me. Sometimes it feels like I am taking a huge risk. But, what am I risking?
Whatever it is, it certainly won’t dissuade me; my joy and excitement far exceed any trace of fear. As a writer and observer of life, I just thought I’d share all that I feel. After all, isn’t that what art and writing are all about?
With less than two weeks until my departure, it is looking more and more like I will be my only “sponsor” for this journey. I’ve tried mightily to secure a commercial sponsor and/or a national media outlet for my on-the-road reports – Plans A & B. With either a sponsor or a media outlet I would more slowly meander the country to seek stories from as great a cross section of people as I could.
Plan C: On my tighter budget, I will take a more direct, northerly route toward the east coast, often dropping off I-90 into towns and cities to get my interviews. My return will cover a more middling route to get a greater variety of stories. If I happen into a city large enough to have one or two news/talk radio stations, I will peddle my services to report on what I find in their market. Gas money?
Plans A & B were never meant to make me rich merely help cover expenses. For me, the gold at the end of the rainbow will be a book publishing deal, a publisher other than moi. And so my preparations are in full swing.
I’m driving a 2006 Jeep Liberty with relatively low mileage. It’s my second Liberty and despite a mere 18-20 miles-per-gallon I find it to be a reliable ride. My ace mechanic Doug and his crew have been over it top to bottom – oil change, new spark plugs, front brake pads, cooling system flushed and all other fluids replaced.
I am looking forward to camping when the locale calls for it (Yellowstone Park!!) but I am also set up to sleep in the Jeep with my traveling companion, Trooper. There’s a lot to be said for body heat on cold mountain nights, alas, even if it is canine body heat. No offense Trooper. He is a faithful and loyal companion, albeit a little crazy sometimes. Aren’t we all?
Today, final preparations kicked into high gear. Wende and I cleared space in the garage for my “staging area.” She bought me a going away gift, a good-sized rooftop cargo box. It will probably cut into the Jeep’s mediocre mileage but it also will save us from sleeping like sardines. I love ya, Trooper but not that much.
All that is left is some shopping to fill in the gaps. A trip – 60 miles south – to Cabela’s Outfitters for things like a mess kit, a new ax, first aid kit, etc. Honestly, I thought about a handgun for protection; I might spend some nights Jeep-sleeping in a truck stop or an interstate rest area. The cost, however, would take a big bite out of my tight budget and, I wouldn’t go on the road without some lessons and practice – not enough time. I’ve opted instead for a baseball bat.
So, it looks like Plan C. Instead of heading right out on I-90 East, though, I am going to start northward with a stop in Everett, 25 miles up I-5 from Seattle. I’ve chosen Everett for my first interviews because of its strong (and sometimes violent) labor union history and it’s life as a “company town,” first for Weyerhaeuser (lumber mills) and now for Boeing. From there it will be further north to Guemes Island for a good-bye visit to dear friend Jim Stutzman (“Time” http://leezardonlife.blogspot.com/2013/02/time.html).
The real journey will commence with one of the most beautiful and dramatic drives in the country, State Route 20 east through the picturesque North Cascade Mountains. Then, the real adventure begins.
See you on the road.