“Your days of lengthy solo road trips are numbered,” I said to myself not so long ago. Which led to the following lively discussion.
“No, that’s not true. I have a good car, I’m a good driver, and besides heading out of town in the dawn light, gas tank full, Starbucks next to me, camera at the ready is one of my favorite things in the world.”
“Do you not remember you are getting old(er). Oh sure, maybe five more years of open road but that’s about it! And how are you going to fit that time in with that every-country-in-the-world thing you keep going on about?
“Yeah, I see what you mean. Okay, guess I’d better decide where and when to finish up the road-tripping part of my life”
I have been doing just that for the last few weeks. Driving from Barrow, Alaska, USA to Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina is finally off the table. I’m sad about that but I have a new plan. Not quite as daring but at least half as interesting.
I will drive the entire periphery of the United States. The outside edges, the borders, the boundaries. How many miles I wonder? From Blaine, Washington to Hodgdon, Maine. From Hodgdon, Maine to Key West, Florida. From Key West, Florida to San Diego, California. From San Diego, California to Blaine, Washington. Always taking the roads the closest to the oceans, Canada and Mexico.
I must do this in five, at the most six, years so the east and west coasts can be done in an annual trip each, but the northern and southern borders will have to be divided into two separate jaunts each. Is this possible? Maybe.
Each segment gets a week. After all how many pictures of winding roads and cows and windmills and abandoned buildings can one take? And I’ll become very ill if I spend more than a week at a time living on Cheetos, caramel malts and fish sandwiches from you know where.
Yes, I have a plan. I think it will go into effect with a drive taking the southernmost off-the-beaten-path roads to my brother’s house in Panacea, Florida next spring. South to Las Cruces, then off the freeways and all around the edges of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, right into the Redneck Riviera of the Florida Panhandle. This may be my toughest stretch of all. Except for getting through NYC.
“Can I make a joke?”
“Sure, will it be any sillier than the idea that you can drive the periphery of America AND go to all the countries in the world before you die?”
“So as we age we keep getting more and more peripheral to other people and events. Why not be exploring geographical peripheries as I peripheralize?”
“Funny. Not. And besides peripheralize isn’t a word.”
“Now it is.”