Aug 27, 2010


Year after year, I’m surprised at how early autumn begins.

If you can avoid the Labor Day mayhem on the roads, think about a two-lane trip soon. I'm recently back from a two-lane route of about 150 of the 200 miles from western Michigan to the Detroit suburbs,

and every leg of the 150 was a barge of relief from contemporary hustle, crowding, and obnoxious drivers. The patches of forest and the endless, rolling farm country were magnificent, though I worried about the dessicated corn crop in central Michigan, as if I knew what I was looking at.

Then came the last leg, into the suburbs--a re-immersion, a dunking, in suburban hellfire. Do people honestly think they’re so important that they need to, deserve to, rush like that--to crowd me like that? Who’s going to care if they take an extra five minutes or an hour? Maybe the boss, of course, but I wonder.

Are there any good songs about the joys of the freeway? Did the Wabash Cannonball need eight lanes? Is anybody crowding her? Here’s an oldie I used to worship, maybe still do. It’s about the journey. You can get the destinations on TV.

YouTube - Ian and Sylvia - Four Strong Winds (CBC TV 1986)

Well, if anybody wants some recommendations for routes in southern Indiana, central Ontario, or western Michigan, give me a buzz. I’ve lucked into some this summer. And yes, I planned well, if I say so myself.



Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds just lovely.

I'm not a fan of America at all, but Ventura Hwy is a good road tune. Especially when you're driving through Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I went to the National Park service and google maps looking at Michigan. Have you been to those islands? I remember reading or hearing (not sure which) about an area on the banks of the lake that was a section of beautiful cliff. Part of the national park service. I also remember wanting to go there.

Sorry about the bad drivers. Two lane highways can often be wrought with peril. I was once driving with the hiker. We were in our local mountains (the part you still have access to). It was during the rush hour and local drivers were riding my ass. My solution was to pull over every chance possible to let them pass. The hikers solution was to turn my rear view mirror so I couldn't see them.

Banjo52 said...

PA, thanks for narcing on AH. I'm not sure why, but I find that a hysterical little story, and I believe every word.

I pull over sometimes too. I think I was taught that that's simple courtesy if you know you're poking and simple survival if you have a psycho trying to crawl into your exhaust pipe. But I think pulling over is a lost art or some such.

Banjo52 said...

AH, I assume you'll be editing some of PA's narrative?

You're not a fan of America on the roads, you mean? There's certainly no improvement in France or Italy.

What I was a bit surprised to find was that the "blue highways" didn't seem any more crowded than they were back in the day, but on the freeways every one of 300 million souls is here, there, and everywhere, hell bent for election--more than they were back in the day? Who knows?

On some TV cop show recently, one forensics cop said to another that 3 of 10 drivers now is packin' heat. Surely they'd research that before putting it out there? And of course road rage is now the national pasttime. I might forsake the interstates forever.

Brenda's Arizona said...

I'm on a road trip with my Mom. We left this morning... a day on black ribbon two lane roads thru Indian Reservations. Tonite in a little hotel in a tiny town on the reservation... and occassionally we have internet. Tomorrow, thru Utah, again on a black ribbon road, thru the red rocks and arches.

Now I am in the mood for some road (rode) music, and for faces I recognize...

Banjo52 said...

Brenda, for me, "black ribbon" road is a new expression. I like it. Makes sense more immediately than William Least Heat Moon's "blue highways" (a reference to old-time road maps, where the minor roads were/are blue). And "black ribbon" is at least as evocative.

Your scenery there is a touch more dramatic than lower Michigan's . . . but I'm not complaining. Also, both landscapes have dwarfing power, as they should.

That's a nice portrait, you and the mom. That's close quarters, says a lot about your bond--as your blog does.

Anonymous said...

That's why PA won't drive me anywhere anymore.

No Banjo, I meant America the group. This is the song

PJ said...

We recently saw an amazing sight. We were waiting at the light at a busy, busy intersection and opposite us someone came out of a McDonald's into the right turn lane, pulled out and did a u-turn in front of two lanes of traffic and into the far right lane of the neighboring lanes so they could dive into the KFC. I don't know how they managed that but it was beyond audacious.

I'll take a trip down a two-lane blacktop any day and Ian and Sylvia are welcome to come along for the ride.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

re Hiker: I was actually speaking from a place of admiration.

I thought she meant America the group? am I being thick? happens

Margaret said...

Love those photos -- so lush, no NOT southern California. Thanks for visiting my blog. Looks like you've got a nice blog going here.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Banjo, don't you think AH meant 'not a fan of America' - the band? I'm thinking so...

Banjo52 said...

AH and PA, oops, now I'm the one who's thick. Never heard of the group America. I KNEW AH's comment didn't make sense the way I read it . . .

Hi, Margaret. Welcome and thanks. I'm gonna have to call this SoCal North Central.

Paula, amazing, appalling anecdote. They were probably snortin' and packin'. If I say more, I'll go for 20 pages.

Jeff M said...

Want to get away from the four-wheeled minions? Come out to Kansas, Banjo. It averages about 25 people per square mile. Sky and wind and light. And electronic reception is poor to nonexistent. In other words, it's paradise.

Banjo52 said...

Jeff, my first real look at a western sky happened on my first cross-country road trip, after junior year in college--a campground around Garden City, Kansas. It might be true that I've never seen a more impressive sky.

But as much as I hanker for the simpler ways, I've fallen slave to interesting restaurants, movies, and conversations.

Conversations? So, yes, the internet. In the last ten years, I've really crossed over. Is it to the dark side? I do worry about our dependence on it, along with human un-wisdom about the need for prediction and redundancy.

Dude, you set me off--and I'm trying to keep it short. Glad to have you back.

Jeff M said...

Well, I'm no Edward Abbey. I talk tall but I'm only 5 ft. 9 inches. I, too, like electronics and all the gizmos of the age, but our reliance and devotion to them is destructive. My eyes anymore feel like tight, hot marbles in my sockets --- a condition that, honestly, abates when I limit my viewing of our great computer windshield and dancing, flickering electro-script. And my attention span is crap. Life for most people is quick becoming a leisure-lay in the back seat, watching the trees fly by.

Banjo52 said...

Jeff, I'm hearing the attention span comment more and more often. I can't dispute it, but I think for me it's the opposite on the internet. I get hooked on a topic or the series of topics the first one leads to, or blogs, and I lose track of time. For me, that's rarely been the case with books. And old-fashioned typing? No thanks.

I don't have the day-dreaming capacity I once did, but I think that happened when I kicked tobacco eleven years ago.

Who knows about these things? I do know I'm sick of the sight of people on cells while driving. And the need to be connected at all times seems wrong.

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