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There are two types of road trips. There is the “Let’s load up the car and explore” road trip, and then there are the road trips of reminiscence. The former requires fuel, did we forget anything checklist, and a map. The latter requires a cup of coffee, or if in the quiet of the evening a wee dram of a single malt as one remembers the faces and places that float past on the map of memory.
A columnist for Car and Driver magazine wrote an article about Ralph Nader and his disdain for cars in general and the Corvair in particular. The columnist came to the conclusion that Mr. Nader hated the automobile because families could take a road trip and see America. After seeing America for themselves they would come to the conclusion that Mr. Nader and those like him were full of something.
My heart belongs to the American West. Some of our more sophisticated citizens disdain people that live miles from nowhere. There are those that have learned to work with what the land has provided. My love for the West is tempered by the realization that what doesn’t bite you will probably stab, or sting you. There are miscreants and ne’er do wells that are scattered in the emptiness of the West. The West is not Disneyland. I find it odd that those who have never worked on a ranch, or ridden a horse as part of their working day have so much advice on how ranching should be done, or better yet not done at all. It is one thing to hug a tree. Hugging a cactus presents a problem.
Years ago my wife and I loaded up the car and took a road trip to the Tucson area to see my mom and dad. On the way back to Oregon we drove north and spent a day on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. As dusk came we started north to Utah. Nightfall found us on the road miles from nowhere. I could see the Milky Way through the windshield. I hit the seek button on the radio and the green digital numbers just kept ascending and descending on the display. There was no music to be had. Traveling through the stars is one reason my heart belongs to the American West.Published in