The Blog of Ken.

from June 12, 2010

Thoughts on the Whole Experience

Some statistics:

  • Total miles driven: 5,798
  • Average speed (according to Jenny:) 69.2 mph
  • Fastest cruise control setting: 95mph, late night in Utah
  • Total number of traffic stops: 0
  • Average gas mileage: 31.9 mpg
  • Hottest temp: 103, somewhere in the middle of Arizona
  • Coldest temp: 41, somewhere west of Denver
  • Best hotel: Treasure Island, Las Vegas
  • Cheapest hotel: Travellodge, Gallup, New Mexico ($46.16)
  • Worst hotel: Marriott, Oklahoma City
  • Most expensive hotel: Marriott, Oklahoma City ($224.73)

Lessons learned:

I am no longer curious to find out what it’s like to be a cross-country trucker. This trip has cured me of any desire to ever excitedly shout the phrase, “Road trip!” ever again. From now on, I’m flying to my destination.

There is far more undeveloped land out there than I thought there was. I think that’s a good thing.

I was surprised at the number of wind farms I saw. They gave me hope.

I’m still trying to figure out if my negative feelings for Arizona are due to the immigration law or if I would have found it as barren and pointless anyway. Maybe a little of both.

There were a few times, especially in Texas and Oklahoma, where I could see a person’s fake smile kick in the moment they heard I was from California or Los Angeles. I was a test to them: can they remain courteous despite their deep desire to hit me? In fact, now that I think about it, I wonder if the secret to Cracker Barrel’s great-tasting pancakes wasn’t a generous helping of mid-western spit.

Teabaggers don’t like to be called Teabaggers, which makes me want to call them Teabaggers all the more. They’re selfish, uneducated and/or stupid, and racist. They have no redeeming qualities and I see no reason to give them any sort of courtesy.

California really is its own microcosm. People joke about it all the time, but it’s true. There is something different about this state and the people who live in it. I’m not sure how to describe it. Any example I can think of has a counterpoint. But I keep coming back to the idea that, somehow, we’re more “relaxed.”

When I set out, I wanted to see America. I wanted to see some towns and some cities I would never plan to visit. I wanted to end up in random places just to see some random places. I did all that. And I found out that I am 45, and I am still capable of learning, but that most of the time, I have a fairly good grasp of how things work, how things are, already. Much of my curiosity has been satisfied, and I will never again feel the need to visit Memphis, or Amarillo, or Richfield. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I took this trip, and I’m glad I saw all the places I did, and I’m glad I drove. I needed to know what it was like. I’m saying that in most cases, I don’t feel the need to do it again. But then there’s Washington. I’ll absolutely be going back there. There’s much more to see! And there are some places I missed: The Grand Canyon, Chicago, Yellowstone, Monument Valley, and the whole of New England. I think those are all trips of their own (but next time, I’ll fly!)

What’s next? Well, this was actually a very cheap trip. I’m going to have to save up a little for my next vacation. I really want to go back to Europe and wander around there for a month or two with a Eurail Pass.

Tagged with: