Speaking of peregrinations: When I was child I wanted to be a falconer. I wanted to have a hawk, or perhaps a peregrine falcon on my arm. She would fly off my arm and circle the sky until she was only a dot and then, finally, fly back to me. I didn’t dwell on the hunting part of this fantasy–just on the bold, high flying bird who would come home to me. (I confess that I might have come up with this idea from reading The Hardy Boys: The Hooded Hawk Mystery). I keep alert for birds of prey wherever I am, but I have not had one on my arm. However, we’ve had Phoenix the orange-winged Amazon parrot in our family for the last 27 years, and I have been content to have him on my hand and in my heart, if not in the wild blue sky.
Tom and I spent much of September 2022 traveling. This year our road trip was at least 4,300 miles and we loved it, as usual.* We only camped by one great lake this year, but we did travel through 12 states. We visited with loved ones and walked on beaches, in forests, and on prairies. We enjoyed our travel on foot paths, back roads, dirt roads, and highways. Tom and I lunched in prosperous Glen Arbor, relaxed in the egalitarian comfort of campgrounds, and talked about sights to see with couple of Wisconsin bikers at Kitch-iti-kipi.
Besides, Michigan, Tom and I camped in Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. We drank cold coffee and ate cold, but delicious, meals. Furthermore, for most of this trip, we didn’t even bother with putting up the tent; we just reclined on our the Subaru’s front seats and slept when the sky was dark.
One thing was different this year: we had campfires at three different campsites. Tom and I are usually content to have the sunset be the dramatic display of the evening. It’s more environmentally sound, I think, than the big bonfires some campers build. Plus, who needs a campfire for cheese and meat sandwiches, especially when we weren’t packing marshmallows, Hersey bars, and graham crackers. This time it was different, though. I think–damn hot weather not withstanding–we needed the emotional warmth of the fire. The flickering yet steady light, the hopeful sparks flying upward, and feet warming on the firepit rim soothed us. Tom and I are grateful for the year we have had–we are still here and we are still okay. However, we continue to get older, and not so much wiser. How can it be that I have been tagging along with brothers Mike and George for 70 years? How is it that brothers Rog and Dan are missing somehow? Why do I still miss the stubborn and lovely beagle/basset, Randi? Now that I finally finished reading Will Bagley’s South Pass: Gateway to a Continent, I want to talk to him about it and where is he? I just read in the Washington Post today that the January 6th berserkers “…stashed weapons, ammunition and hand grenades in a Comfort Inn in Arlington County, Va….” That motel is a 0.9 mile walk from where I am now writing in my living room. What is happening to my beloved country? We needed that fire to comfort us at night just as the water, trees, and flowers did during the day.
We call them “roadtrips,” not just “camping trips.” We do so because although we enjoy camping in less frequented parks, forests, and the like, we also enjoy finding out-of-the-way museums and visiting little towns. I sometimes imagine the lives of the people who live on the farms and in the burgs we pass through. I imagine them to be mostly happy. Early in the trip, Tom and I stayed in Green Bay, Wisconsin for a couple of days. We went to the National Railroad Museum. I was prepared to be blasé about a museum dedicated to trains, but, if–in your peregrinations–you ever find yourself in Green Bay, I recommend it.
Old food service people that we are, Tom and I also keeping trying to find good restaurants and bakeries along the road. I just counted and I find that Tom and I have traveled in 47 states together so far. That’s a lot of states for the number of good eateries we’ve found. That’s okay; we are still searching.
I have a list of places we’ve visited that includes, national parks and forests, state parks and forests, trails, monuments, historic sites, museums, restaurants and wonders of all kinds. So far, this document is five pages long. On the other hand, our still-need-to-explore list is eight pages long. It carries a heading that indicates the complexities and course changes of the current era: “Points of Interest for Trips Spring/Summer/Fall 2019/2020/2021/2022.” In fact, I probably originally started the list about ten years ago. We keep hoping and we do what we can. Speaking of course changes, Tom and I had planned on heading west to New Mexico, at least, and then north to see friends before we headed home, but that didn’t work out. Instead, we got to watch the sun rise in Arkansas on our way home.
I look forward to our next trip. Maybe it won’t be the months long trips we used to take, or maybe it will. I remain optimistic that we will hit the road again together. I feel like we–Tom and I, our family and friends, and our country–are on a challenging journey. My wish for us all may be expressed (yet again) by the Beatles. I wish you good sleep wherever you are.
*You can read about last year’s roadtrip here.