Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I would walk 500 miles

The proverbial American roadtrip – an experience that everyone has at some point in his/her life. I suppose we have Dwight D. Eisenhower to thank for making it possible. I’m not sure where the idea of the roadtrip comes from, but its something that every American burns to do. The Oregon Trail, The Wilderness Road, maybe its from our historic desire to move West. Harry Truman loved to take road trips and drove all over the country because he could. Even today with flights cheaper than ever the interstates are just so inviting – and I’ve more than once taken the offer. A midnight ride to New Orleans, 1:45 am departures from Vermont, I like the road.

So it was no surprise that last Saturday I set off yet again for a cross country trip from Iowa to Washington DC for my various internships. My great Aunt and Uncle Edwin and Rosalie Demoney have been kind enough to let me stay with them for the summer. The thing that occurred to me was that I had never done any of my major trips alone. 20 hrs in a car is a long time to spend by yourself. Lucky enough I had a cell phone and weekend minutes to burn. The roadtrip started easily enough thanks to McDonalds breakfast at 6 am with Dex. I made it all the way to Joliet, Il before any problems surfaced. Now Joliet is quite the microcosm of American culture. People of all socio-economic levels were present at this Wal-Mart. Women in heels got out of their mazdas next to guys in pants/shorts who were blaring music out of their duct taped subs. The place was interesting in its own right.

I had stopped to buy a battery for my mp3 player but when I returned to the car its own battery was completely dead. Here I was in the middle of Illinois with no means of getting around. I had to make it to Pittsburgh that night. More than anything I was pissed this was going to set me behind schedule. So I marched back into Wal-Mart got a car battery, bought some tools, and was back out to the car to put the battery in. After an hour I was safely on my way, the new battery working well. I will forever remember the Wal-Mart of Joliet, Il. Drove through Pittsburgh and stayed with Szabi whose family treated me like royalty and fed me delicious Hungarian food that I hadn’t experienced since I left the motherland. What a nice surprise. Toll roads suck – I recommend avoiding them at all costs. Made getting across Ohio rather expensive.

Got into Arlington ok and was happy to see Edwin and Rosalie. I haven’t been here for a year and a half but it felt like I had never left. Got settled right in and felt right at home.

Still that road trip was one of the easiest ones in my life, but it just shows how we love to drive across this country. I think somebody needs to look into it – what’s are obsession with driving, why don’t we have useful transportation? I spent 9 months criss crossing Europe without a car. Now I can’t even get across my own country w/o a car?

No comments: