Saturday, December 27, 2008

End of the Road

Nothing lasts. Not a sunset. Not a party. Not a road trip. It is the way of the world, of course, for one generation to supplant the next, for history to repeat itself, and for all things to end. This is the meaning of life.

And so, at long last, Diane and I find ourselves home again. Talk about a trade-up in square-footage!

As expected, the rooms in our house are exactly where we left them. The lawn still beckons for a mow. The neighbors continue to perform their daily routines without deviation. And after almost a year on the road, now back again among the excruciatingly familiar, I feel nothing but gratitude.

We have safely traveled 28,620 miles in our good old bus and between home and home again, we have had the great fortune to behold the Redwood Forest…

… and to take pause in fields of poppy…

… to tour America’s cities, both great…

… and small.

We have crested the backbone of our great land…

… and descended to follow the crooked back roads and the good weather…

...to savor the sweet breath of spring...

… to bask in the gentle breeze that stirs the gulf stream waters.

We have stepped into the presence of the things that makes America great…

… and we have lingered in the company of otherwise-lost family and friends.

Indeed, our American Road Trip is unique in that it can never be repeated exactly. This is a good thing. We wouldn’t have it any other way. For, without doubt, our road trip is merely a replication of a previous road trip, and a trip before that, and so on back through the generations…

We take great comfort in our place within this vast continuity, for we have discovered that ours is a world of grand vistas and tiny miracles…

… of shop keepers and rebels…


… of today’s sunworshipers and yesterday’s utopianists…

…and of proud artisans and their creations.

Perhaps I got it all wrong when I said that nothing lasts and all things end. Thinking back on our travels, it occurs to me that ours is also a world where everything is new and nothing ever really ends; and the living memory of our road trip is just another way to describe the meaning of life.

So now it is your turn. All you have to do is say Yes. Say Yes to committing to traveling this great land of ours. Say Yes to retiring any debts you may have. Say Yes to putting money in the bank. Say Yes to guide books and regional dishes and local color. Say Yes to blue highways that lead to no place in particular, except perhaps the warm hearths and homes of friends and family. Say Yes to standing on the hallowed ground of our forefathers, for no matter the breadth of paths they blazed or the depth and dazzle of their star power, they were created of the same materials as you and I, equally.

Their time was then, yours is now, and we are travelers all.


Just say Yes.

42 comments:

  1. Already said, "yes" - and also in a bus!

    When Tim came home and announced he wanted to "chuck it all" and travel the country in a converted bus for a year, I demanded to know, "Why can't you be like a normal husband in a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?" We're both shrinks, but he's obviously a much better one, as we soon set out with our 60 lb dog, 2 querulous cats - and no agenda.

    By the time we got back to CO, I was the one who suggested selling our house so we can bus full time and that's exactly what we're going to do. (Like you, I'm also a writer, and my humorous travel memoir, QUEEN OF THE ROAD was recently published by Broadway. It seems the Great American Road Trip still has its pull, as the book is already in 6th printing and was chosen by Borders as a Featured Book Club Pick.)

    I hope you get back on the road, soon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. VanMan and Diane
    Just wanted to let you know how much we have enjoyed reading your blog. Its like a good book that you just keeping going back to. We would shout to each other from Randys office to the kitchen computer......"hey VanMans got a new post"! We will miss that! Glad you are back home safe and sound. We will be sure and visit next time we are out west.
    Love, Randy, Amy and Claire

    ReplyDelete
  3. 看看blog調整心情,又要來繼續工作,大家加油........................................

    ReplyDelete
  4. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告........................................

    ReplyDelete
  5. 傻氣的人喜歡給心 雖然每次都被笑了卻得到了別人的心 ..................................................

    ReplyDelete
  6. 一時的錯誤不算什麼,錯而不改才是一生中永遠且最大的錯誤............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  7. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  8. 知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, I can't believe it's coming up on two years already. What's the next adventure? I'm looking forward to reading more!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Amazing! That must’ve been one awesome road trip. It’s so sad that it has now reached its end, but at least you’re home now. Your last paragraph is so heartwarming, and the “For Sale” sign on your bus made me a bit sad. It might be the end of your road trip, but your old bus will definitely bring a new beginning for someone else.
    Lecia Dreyer

    ReplyDelete