Let’s Hit the Fuckin’ Road (Again)

“The decision to flee came suddenly.” – Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

It’s 4 p.m. on a Tuesday and I’m impatiently waiting on a text back from someone I quoted so I can post my photo essay. The rain is putting a serious damper on loading the rooftop cargo box on top of Hawk Chaser, my Subaru. I’ve nicknamed the cargo box “The Cloud”.

Seven days ago I saw a post on Instagram about healthy solitude and the occasional need to to check out from your social life to focus on you. The post said something about telling everyone you’re taking a time out from your phone and cocooning up. I felt like that was exactly the sort of thing I needed to do. So, I decided to go on a round-country trip. And I decided I was leaving in exactly nine days at the latest.

Back in the day, some groups of people would measure history by what happened in a specific year. One year would be “the year of the great flood.” The next would be “the year of the bad hunt”. And so on. Time is kept in a similar fashion on the road. “The three weeks I spent broken down in Ft. Pierre.” “The day we spent getting a new tire in Alpine, Texas.” “The night we got snowed in at Donner’s Pass and we got that really swank b ‘n’ b.”

Today is the day that a storm rolled into Madison on the night I had planned on packing up, and so I got the needed downtime before my trip that I had said I wanted.

For historical purposes, it’s also the day that the 45th President of these here you-knighted states was indicted on 30 some counts of whatever. It’s weird that he’s getting saddled with that and not the litany of other atrocities he and his regime orchestrated. Let’s not forget that Stephen Miller, his domestic affairs specialist, was a white nationalist – which is just a PC way of saying white power.

And seeing the fanaticism of this man’s disciples is more than troubling. I’m going to be on their territory much of the trip, and that’s a little concerning.

I think of how concerning it is for my family members who are people of color. I think of how concerning it is for my non-passable queer family members. And I think of how concerning it is form my trans family members. Me, I’m about as hetero-passing as you can get, so I’m not too worried about being attacked or assaulted like much of my family is. It’s heart breaking that this country has become a scary place for so many people; that they’re scared because people are brazenly open about oppressing them and, in some cases, eliminating them from the face of the earth.

—- – —-

Well, it’s the day after yesterday, when I began loading up and loading out. I slept right on through last night’s storm.

Today is the day that I finish loading up, get my oil change, get groceries, and try and relax between the waves of preflight panic. When I wake up tomorrow I’ll make my last pot of coffee in my cozy little Madison-chic apartment and make my warm-up drive to Kentucky, to rendezvous with my geographically removed hetero life-mate Nic. From there my journey west will begin. (Dear Kansas, I’m sorry-not-sorry for the true but mean things I’m going to say about you in a couple of paragraphs.)

My course is an undetermined amoebic shaped loop starting in Wisconsin, south to Kentucky, west to Colorado, through New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, Las Vegas and then to San Diego. From there I’ll turn north (or maybe I’ll go south into Mexico first, as I’ve never been there legally) and take the long and slow way north to Salem, Washington, with stops on the coast and likely one in Portland for good measure. From Salem it’s back east, picking up the last few hundred miles of I-90 that I haven’t gotten – in doing so I’ll have driven every mile of I-90 from Gary, Indiana to Seattle, Washington… and all but that last stretch through Washington in both directions.

Perhaps there will be a dip into Yellowstone and Wyoming before taking 94 through North Dakota and into Minnesota, were I’ll take the highways across the northern end of the state to cross into Wisconsin, and then a small loop into the yooper to say I’ve finally been to Michigan before dipping south back to Madison. It sounds as exhausting and painful as it does exciting.

Why do I do these things to myself, these crazy ideas and uncomfortable to downright dangerous circumstances? If I get really deep into my psyche I wonder if it’s because I’m only comfortable when I’m activly afraid of something. I’m constantly locked in my sympathetic nervous system – the fight or flight zone – when I don’t need to be. So, maybe I seek out fear to justify my state.

That’s all very likely true. It’s also true that I know all too well that what I want most is always on the other side of my fears. Always. Partially because that’s how this human experience goes, partially because I live my life in a constant fear state and it has deprived me of a great many things: things I wanted more than anything; life long dreams; passions that are rooted in my soul.

I’ve been leading with curiosity a lot these days. I’m trying to do so with this trip. I’m also planning very little. I’m a planner, as not knowing what to expect makes me anxious. I don’t like to interact with strangers much, and so I’m making a point to connect with strangers on this trip. I hurry through life and so I plan on taking a lot of highways instead of interstates (sorry-not-sorry, Kansas, but I’m taking I-70 right on through you and don’t give half a dam about what your highways have to offer. I’ve seen the Wizard of Oz, I know how its out there. Ain’t nothin’ in Kansas. Hell, Kansas City ain’t even in Kansas. Let that one sink in.) New things, surprises, unexpected events all shake me up, and so I’m taking new routes and letting my heart be open to to the possibilities that change brings, and I’m letting the Great Mystery show me what I need to see instead of looking for a circumstances to satisfy my expectations.

So, why not? Why not give myself seven days to plan, prepare and pack for a full lunar cycle (and possibly longer) on a round country road trip? Why not take what cash I have, both my dogs and just haul ass south for my starting gate in Kentucky? Why not just make it up as I go and figure it out, and trust myself that I’m more than capable of doing both in such a way as to enrich my time on this earth, and not to my detriment?

“Because I want to” is all the reason one ever needs to do anything. That’s a lesson my oldest sister taught me.

—- – —-

Hey..

I have this funny story about how one day I saw a post on Instagram and decided to leave the next week for a six thousand mile road trip a week later, simply because it sounded like a cool idea. Do you want to hear it? Ok, it begins like this, on the morning of the Worm Moon in Madison, Wisconsin.

Stand by, ready to launch in ten minus…

three…

two…

one,

blast off.

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