Friday, October 22, 2010

EDITORIAL: Enjoy The Open Road

By Rebecca Rose
Mountain Mail editor

Some of you may have been reading last week’s paper and wondered what happened to our longtime reporter, John Larson. To answer your questions: No, I did not have him kidnapped and taken to Siberia; no, I did not  scare him away by being too “California”.  John and his wife took a vacation, to visit family in Ohio.
Before he left, I asked John if he was looking forward to the trip. Of course, he was looking forward to seeing family and friends.  But one thing was really bothering him.
“I hate to fly.”
I was absolutely surprised to find I had this in common with another person. But maybe I shouldn’t be. 
It turns out most Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with air travel.  Reports of everything from invasive searches to rude personnel to  wait times that make the building of the pyramids seem lightening fast.
Why is this, I wondered.  When I was a child, I loved nothing more than flying, my nose pressed against the window, watching the world outside get smaller and smaller with each passing second.  As I grew older,  I loved flying because I could play my walkman with my own soundtrack. I perfectly timed the start of my favorite song to the plane taking off and landing. It was like my very own MTV music video. 
Then of course as I got older, the writer in me took over. I loved sitting next to a stranger, talking, getting to know who they were and where they were going.  It was as if all the mysteries of the world could be found in the seat next to you.
Eventually, as everyone knows, things changed.
People on planes are  nervous, distrustful and mostly irritated. They’ve been tricked out of frequent flier miles, booked on ridiculous flight routes (Why do I have to fly to Miami to get from LA to Dallas?) and treated like suspects on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, simply for wanting to do some traveling. 
But none of that matters to me anymore. I’ve discovered the simple joy of an old fashioned road trip.
It’s true. I haven’t been on a plane in seven years, and I don’t miss it one bit.
Why stand in an airport line for two hours, being padded down like I’m the Unabomber, when I can sit in the comfort of my car, and experience the beauty of the open road. 
I’ve driven from New York to San Francisco, from Chicago to Palm Beach, from Texas to Boston and more. I’ve watched the sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge and a sunset at Joshua Tree, all in the same day. Yes, it’s certainly taken me longer to get to where I’m going.  But if settlers in the 1800s could pack rickety covered wagons with their life’s possessions and travel across an unchartered, snow covered trail in the Rockies, I can handle I-95 on summer’s day.
There’s so much simple beauty in this country that still blows my mind. Interviewing Greer Price about New Mexico’s awe inspiring landscaping reminded me of as much.  I can’t wait to climb in my car, with Charlie beside me, and head off into the beauty of the sunset over the Jemez Mountains, or drive up to Box Canyon at Ghost Ranch.  Best of all, I’ll get to see it all from my car window.
And I get to carry as much hairspray as I could possibly need.

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