Sunday, December 18, 2011

Into the Arms of America


"I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility."

―- Jack Kerouac


"There's therapy in movement -- serenity in freefalling headlong into the unknown, particularly when what's known isn't so great. This is why, for a lot of people, the road is an anodyne. There's something indescribable about setting out with no particular destination in mind -- or with an eventual destination but no clear plan for how to get there -- and simply traveling. Going literally where the road takes you."

As pretentious as it seems to quote myself, I'm not sure I can come up with anything more profound than what I did the last time I made the decision to fling myself out into the heart of the country and eventually to its ragged edges. That's why I posted that second quote above: It was how I began my official announcement two years ago that let everyone know I was hitting the road for a while. While the last time around I had a goal but no real plan for getting there, this road trip will be slightly more disciplined; I know where I have to end up, when I have to be there and the basic paths I have to take to reach my destination. I'm going to Los Angeles. I need to be there by the middle of the holiday week between Christmas and New Year's at the latest. I'll be heading up through Georgia, across the 40 through Tennessee and Arkansas, and eventually along the Mother Road, Route 66, through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, with a detour to the Grand Canyon and Vegas for Christmas Eve.

Unlike the last time I set out across the land, I'm not necessarily trying to find myself, heal any wounds or wander in search of, well, something. Something better. I'm simply traveling on my own -- something that nourishes my soul like little else.

So for the next week-and-a-half or so, DXM will be a bit of a road blog. I'm bringing my laptop and mobile broadband hookup, as well as my Galaxy Tab and Droid, so you can expect regular updates and pictures here, on Twitter and at Facebook as I move through the country; I'll be chronicling what I'm seeing, who I'm meeting, how many miles I'm clocking and, of course, what I'm listening to. The last time I did something like this, my ride was a roomy and comfortable Dodge 1500 pick-up; it served me well on the road. This time, things are a little different. I feel like I've found my footing recently: My mood's a little more sanguine and I've got a bit of fire back in my belly, in spite of the sadness I feel over not being with my daughter for Christmas for the first time in her young life, hence I'm unleashing my inner Kowalski. No, I unfortunately don't have access to a white '71 Challenger, but a modified 2010 Mini Cooper S will do just fine. It's lightning fast (thanks, Shark Injector), tight against the road, and it's an all-around blast to drive.

And beginning tomorrow morning, that's what I'm gonna do -- drive the hell out of it.

It's time to go.

Hope you all enjoy the ride.

23 comments:

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

Drive careful, now, hear?

pea said...

Aw, now. You're a Mini driver. You've just made me like you immensely. Be safe out there, and call when you hit town.

mtoddohno said...

Have as safe of a trip as you want... California's awful nice right now.

Marc McKenzie said...

Safe travels, Chez. Can't wait to read about it.

Amy B. said...

Sounds like a great route, especially the Vegas bit. Can't wait to see the pics. I'll wave at you as you're driving through Little Rock.

paleotectonics said...

Do you know the symptoms of a blood clot, pulmonary embolism, or getting-hit-by-a-lumber-truck-while-in-a-Mini-itis? Yer going to Vegas on New Years - did you know you can only fit 1.57 hookers in a Cooper? That the trunk barely holds any ether or syphillis creme? Get the Chevy and a pop-up, boss.

Michael J. West said...

Make sure you have a copy of Joni Mitchell's "Hejira" with you. If you know it, you understand the suggestion; if you don't, you'll understand once you hear it.

Happy journey.

Chez said...

Seen the massive winter storm warnings rolling through the plains and southwest? This could get really interesting.

pea said...

paleo - he's gonna be in Vegas on Christmas Eve, not New Year's, and speaking as a Mini owner, you can fit way more than 1.57 hookers into one, especially if you fold down the back seats.

Kyle said...

Enjoy the trip. And, as others have said, be safe.

Riles said...

Have a great trip. What are you working on in LA...are you saying?

Mary Beth said...

http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2011/12/meme-watch-condescending-literary-pun-dog/#page/8

May the road rise with you. -- MB

black said...

Where are you getting off 1-40 and onto 66? I live off Exit 1 on the Texas-Oklahoma border. 66 is 1/2 mile south. Like BBQ? Windmill Restaurant, Exit 1.

medic8r said...

Awesome! I am so envious. The thought of an extended journey like that is really appealing.

As a wise man once told me, "We are not made to sit still."

Have fun. Be safe. Thanks for sharing.

WendyTN said...

You're giving me flashbacks to the cross-country road trip I took at 21. Was back in 1996 I think, took 30 days, hit 20 states. Was one of the best times of my life.

Enjoy!

IrishGirl said...

Sounds most excellent! I'm in AZ if you are in Phoenix for any length of time and want a local guide. Maybe we could egg Sheriff Arapaio's house together! Good choice to take 66 thru TX, the less exposure the better, instead of that drive through Midland/Odessa on 10. It is the ugliest part of god's green earth.

Tina/IrishGirl

littlebitoffeisty said...

I loved my mini. Unfortunately it lost it's life piled into the side of an extended cab (4 dooors) F-150. I t-boned him when he pulled in front of me.... However, the mini definately came out the winner as the truck took a roll and the driver had to climb out of the passenger side window. Tough little bitch, that car was!

Claude Weaver said...

I do wish you had the time to pull a Malkin-style stalking on some poor Teabagger. I will be honest and say part of my desire is to see you on the news getting swung at by a ranting, overweight hick while you have a "Why Me?" look on your face. What can I say? I delight in your assholery.

Seriously though, take care, be safe, and don't do anything TOO crazy. Like crashing on the couch of one of your fans. I don't know if you know this, but we are kinda CRAAAAAYYYZEEEE.

hilz said...

I'd say "drive safe" but that doesn't sound like it's part of the plan. Enjoy the road.

LK3 said...

Have a wonderful trip.
Best thing I did was pack up and move to CA by myself for 2 years. Wishing you all the best on your journey...

alopecia said...

hilz above won't say it, so I will. Drive safe, Chez.

(I wasn't going to leave a comment, but the Word Verification was "mixtab"—that's got to be a sign of … well, something.)

CNNfan said...

Yours looks nice, Chez, but in general what's the sense of a minicar that only gets twenty or thirty something miles to the gallon?

May as well stay with the truck at that rate. My old subcompact still runs good and gets 50 miles to the gallon. Front wheel drive makes it excellent in the snow. It doesn't even use snow tires, and I have no problem driving 35mph on the highway in a blizzard. I guess it has good traction in the snow because the weight of the engine and transmission right on top of the front wheel drive to both wheels, may sort of be like the principle of a snow mobile.

The only problem is they won't let me pay for gas with a credit card because its so cheap to fill up at the pump. They start screaming if I don't pay cash, which sometimes can be a laugh.

Alanna said...

so excited for you, hunny.

That mini takes the snow rather well...it's the wind that used to toss me around when I owned that car (granted it was a 2003 and not an S-version)...enjoy!