Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Only Way to Travel

Road tripping is like a poetry slam. You never know what soul-searching self-loathing mixed-metaphor run-on howling poet you’ll see next.

You hear me and you push. You push me! Then you touch me. You touch me but I push back. I pushed back! Hard! I shoved my pole into the murky waters and hit the muddy bottom, and I pushed. Hard like Huck. Gentle like Jim. Until I was floating, softly spinning into your liquid brown eyes. Your eyes! I looked over the waterfall and into your eyes. Your eyes! And I jumped!

Which is the poetry slam way to say that a road trip well traveled is a thing of both careful planning and carefree spontaneity. Sometimes we have a destination and sometimes we just float around accidental-like on a breeze. Maybe we play it both ways at the same time. Maybe we have to. Maybe this is the only way to travel.

After our heroics at Cape Canaveral, for no particular reason we drove northward and lingered in the great little seaside tourist town of St. Augustine, FL.

The famed conquistador Ponce de Leon rolled ashore here a few generations back (in the year 1513), looking for the fabled Fountain of Youth. These days, $6 buys you admission to the fabled fountain, a Dixie cup, and all the sulphurous spring water you can guzzle.

The waters must work because Ponce is still with us, forever young. Believe It or Not!

Since the curative waters of The Fountain of Youth didn’t kill us, we tempted fate again by venturing upstream and inland into the dreaded Okefenokee Swamp.

After a danger-filled morning, it so happened that our day was far from over! Just as we gained the high ground of Savannah, GA, a ripping thunderstorm blew into town (with 60mph winds. True!). We had intended to camp at a nearby state park, but the flooded roads, downed power lines, and snarled traffic said otherwise. So we changed plans and directions and rambled into town. It turned out to be a fun-filled and beautiful evening…

… that ended with a poetry slam...

... and a noisy night's sleep on the streets around Chippewa Square.

Though you probably won't recognize the house in the background, you might recognize the square itself from the movies.

In the morning, we talked microbuses with the locals and rode our bikes to most of the 20 or so town squares. Like a box of chocolates, you never know which one you’ll like best.

But like a poet going on too long in front of an open-mic, the day didn’t end there. We consulted the map, changed our minds, changed then again, then, for no particular reason, we headed inland again to wander Georgia and South Carolina's farm roads...

... and small towns.

When we were hungry, we ate. When where tired, we slept.

Today, the trail ends in the olde-tyme resort town of Asheville, N.C.. It is, without doubt, the grooviest burg east of Eugene, OR.

From here, it’s on to the Smokey Mountains. Then we’ll be on to somewhere else. We love our road trip. Love it like a pair of fire-sky eyes that pierce the smoke on the water. The waterfall. I looked into the waterfall …


  1. Mike --

    The tablet PC books have arrived (www.iste.org/tablet/). Where should I send your freebies?

    ...We miss you guys!


  2. 6/27/08. Welcome to Jonesborough, TN. Hope you enjoyed "Music on the Square". We enjoyed seeing your Hightop Microbus in the parking lot of the visitors center. We also have a '71 Hightop Microbus camper, and hope to one day hit the road in similar fashion. Wishing you safe travels. We'll follow your blog with interest!
    The Hardy's (Craig and Donna)

  3. Hey hippyvanman!

    Thanks for reading! We loved Jonesborough, and the music show was a great scene. We wish we had met in person to swap '71 hightop tales, etc. Good luck with your travels!


  4. Hey Maddy!

    Great news! How about sending those comp copies to:

    Mike van Mantgem
    c/o Charles Durrett, Esq.
    507 Redbud Lane
    Nevada City, CA 95959

    Thanks! And thanks for reading, too!