Start at the End . . .
There are places where you can feel the past staring at you: The Natchez Trace in Mississippi, The Parthenon in Nashville, Greenbo Lake in Kentucky, The Serpent Mound Memorial in Southern Ohio, The National Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson in Dayton, The Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, the farms in Western New York State, Fallingwater in Farmington, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Greenville and Hartwell Lake in South Carolina, the antebellum King Edward Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi, and the constellations of the zodiac. All these places stare at you with an offer you can’t refuse.
For my Father and I, this road trip began at the end of The Natchez Trace which itself begins in Nashville. We are both heading towards new beginnings so starting here at the end of The Trace in Natchez, Mississippi was poetic.
My Great Fortune
It was an emotional journey through the past, present, and future that came at Dad in waves…not with the destructive force of a tsunami but like sea foam washing over his tender heart. For my part, it was pure joy. I don’t know if it’s delusional, great fortune…or what…but my memories were all good. They came flooding back when we arrived in Kentucky to see dozens of old friends, and in Pennsylvania where I spent my childhood trout-fishing in the Allegheny National Forest, and in Western New York, my birthplace where 300 of our family members gathered for a reunion.
The Tale Of Two Grifters And A Feral Hog
Since we traveled primarily national parkways, back roads, and state highways we were usually without GPS, mobile phones, talk radio, and NPR. In other words we had no idea what was going on in the world outside my pickup truck. It wasn’t long before we didn’t know for sure what day it was. Some nights we caught a little CNN while drifting off to sleep and thus waking up as uninformed as the day before. But one night while drifting off I thought I heard a strange tale about two grifters and a feral hog. Sitting at breakfast the next morning I asked my Father if he heard it too. He gave me a puzzled look then returned to the vastly more important business of biscuits and gravy. One thing I learned about Dad on this trip is that he really loves biscuits and gravy. As for the grifters and the feral hog—maybe it was just a dream. We shall see.
Everything is Different When You Return
On a road trip, all the world’s problems get solved with bogus insight. This trip was different for some reason – less bogus, more insight. And more agreement. Maybe we are both becoming mellow at long last…
There are times when there is nothing you can do to overcome the effects of emotional shock. Soldiers experience that in war, young boys when they meet girls from Rigel 7, and lovers when they are no longer. I can’t help thinking about road trips. They’re the solution to all the world’s problems. At least for awhile. No matter what happens on a road trip, everything is different when you return.
The Tao Of Road Trips
Some forms of travel demand meticulous preparation (flying). But for road trips meticulous is the death-knell of adventure. There are only a few rules: flying on the ground is wrong…when you come to a back-road take it, and…the end can be a good place to start. The essence of road trips is adventure.
I’ll always remember the adventures with my Father on The Lost Trip, especially the ones inside my pickup where we solved all the world’s problems.
The Lost Trip began randomly in the Old South near Natchez so it was fitting to end randomly in nearby Jackson at the King Edward Hotel which traces its origins to 1861. A jewel for any weary traveler but for us it was heaven. And yes we could feel the memories staring at us.
August 3 – 19, 2016