Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Revisited: My First Solo Road Trip

I first posted this on January 11, 2011. 

1995.

All the stars were in alignment: An Important Birthday. Daughter visiting relatives in Ireland. Vacation time from work.

In preparation for my road trip, I had a cassette player installed in my 1980s-something Chevy Cavalier. I was still pre-CD.

Destination -> Black Hills of South Dakota. For the romance, the mystery, the history, the scenery.  As a child of Carlos Castaneda, it was the next best cool place for me to go in lieu of Sonora, Mexico. I could look quickly over my shoulder for a raven anywhere. Was it a raven over one's shoulder, or a little man? I forget.

Anyway, I told no one where I was going. That was part of the trip for me. To actually be on a piece of the earth without anyone knowing I was there. Freedom.  'Course, I started sending post cards and then it was out, but that was fine.


Photo from National Park Service


I played Vivaldi's Four Seasons on my newly-installed cassette player really, really loud while I got lost on a gravel road through the Badlands.


Umm, not this version, though. But I love it.


I got a speeding ticket on my birthday, on Interstate 36, before I even left Missouri. An inauspicious start.

Got a flat tire in Nebraska, in the Sand Hills, which I changed myself. This gave me the chance to enjoy a hotel room the size of a studio apartment (including the amenities) in Broken Bow, Nebraska, for about $35.

Stumbled on the great fur traders' museum in Chadron, Nebraska. One of the best museums I've ever visited.

Saw Carhenge.

Visited Mount Rushmore, about which, upon arrival, I thought, "Oh. Hm. Looks just like the postcards."

Learned that a little Sand Hills scenery is sufficient to get the idea, notwithstanding the inches-long progression of black dots on the AAA map to designate "scenic route." 

The wonder of trains that seem so long as to never end.

Noticed how the light is different in Nebraska. 

Saw that the beauty of the Black Hills didn't have anything on Missouri.

I concluded that solo road trips were fun and I'd do them again, which I did.

I don't remember if I saw any ravens.

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