Historic Route 66

Discovering history in a fast red car and a road trip with Capt. Bob

OK, it’s not a sailboat, it’s a sports car.  A 2001 Honda S2000 that we shipped from Hilo, Hawaii to Long Beach California.  Bob and I live part-time in Hawaii and we’ve had the S2000 there for ten years — but really, a car like this is wasted on an island, is it not? It might be called the “Big Island” but you can drive around it in a few hours if you don’t stop for a plate lunch or a longboard lager.   This car begs for the long and winding road, the Autobahn, the salt flats of the Great American West! This car needs occassional doses of 80-plus mph, which is the legal speed limit in parts of the desert.

Here we are next to the Route 66 Museum in Victorville, California, about an hour after picking up the car at the Matson dock in Long Beach. The rag top is up because the sun is intense.  Only tourists, mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.  Convertibles are made for full moon nights!

To be completely honest, Capt. Bob and I did not follow historic Route 66 in its entirety.  No way; that was not our intention (although I do have a fascination with trails: Lewis and Clark’s, the Oregon Trail, Santa Fe, Trail of Tears, Pony Express, the Selma to Montgomery, I could go on and on, and follow them all.  Not to mention the great sea routes which are also trails.  Then again, I like to forge my own trail, better known as bushwhacking which I’ve done my share of, including urban bushwhacking, but then I digress…)

What is it about a journey, a voyage, a passage, a road trip that inspires me, that unlocks the questions, the feelings, the memories, and the words to express them?  Is it the passing through time and space with eyes and ears open, windows down and air stinging my face, imagining (or remembering) so many others who came before me?  Is it the eons of geologic time glimpsed in road cuts, in distant plateaus and valleys devoured by the slow jaws of rivers, the sculpting of wind?

Whatever it is, journeying inspires me and connects me with the earth and with those who lived before me.  It also gives me a chance to observe others who are sharing this present time with me — and I feel like I have a better understanding of what the future might hold.  Traveling is crucial to my writing process; my writing process is crucial to discovering who I am.

Whether by land, air, or sea, a voyage opens doors for me.  This time it was a road trip with my husband, who happens to be a great traveling companion.  We’ve crossed oceans and traversed mountains together, fallen through the air at terminal velocity on hundreds of skydives, (many of those jumps required holding onto first time freefall students between us), we’ve explored numerous museums, bistros, countless bottles of wine, the bottoms of lakes and tropical reefs — pause for breath here — ambled on evening walks together, yet we keep each our own secrets too!  ( And yes, that’s an awkward, run-on sentence but it captures the essence of what I’m feeling right now and if I took the time to edit my blog I wouldn’t have as much time to imagine, write and edit my novels — a topic for another blog…)

Tonight I’m in Steamboat Springs, a place we are also fortunate to call home.  Washing clothes, catching up on email.  The summer writing tour continues tomorrow as we head over Rabbit Ears Pass on Route 40, to Denver.  More to follow… Please join in and help me celebrate the writing and publication of Surgeon’s Mate; book two of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series, while gathering material and inspiration for works in progress.