A few years back I took a much needed sabbatical. Great word.....sabbatical. Could mean anything. This was a two month solo cross country trip. One of the best times I've ever had. Kind of a "Travels With Charlie" meets "Easy Rider" thing. Left NJ just before Halloween, stopped in my old college town of El Paso, Texas, visited some relatives in Phoenix, Arizona for a few weeks...... up and down the California coast...... back to AZ by way of Vegas........ met my future ex wife there for a trip to the Grand Canyon...she flew home and I drove back to Jersey...... with a stop in PA to visit the future ex in laws. Not nearly enough space in blogdom to relate all the adventures. But this trip had a kind of spirituality to it........as if my "guardian angel" came along for the ride. For instance, on the trip from Phoenix to San Diego ( Death Valley is aptly named) my brakes were wearing out. Finally made it to the coast and screeched into one of those seaside motels. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a sign proclaiming "Brake World." Actually it proclaimed "Dlrow ekarB", but some pads and fluid and I was on my way the next afternoon.
I wound up in San Francisco and toyed with the idea of continuing up to Alaska but the line had to be drawn somewhere. Just last year did a ride from Eureka to San Fran following a twenty six mile marathon with a friend through the redwoods. (Another story for another day.) Did the Haight Ashbury/Grateful Dead run, but a stop I had to make on the way back down the coast was the Ken Kesey/Merry Pranksters house in La Honda. I refer you to "The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test." It was just a few miles off the beaten path and damned if rainbows weren't comin' out the windows. Did a tour of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon......that guy had way too much cash.......rode an earthquake in Morro Beach, talked life with a couple of hookers in Vegas (didn't partake), saw "The Flamingos" at a small bar in The Sands, and back to Arizona for a while. I think I'll have to save the Grand Canyon with the future ex wife for another day. That was a mystical trip. She just got remarried last weekend and I still consider her one of my best friends.
A cool sidebar to the trip home was a stop at Meteor Crater in AZ. D'ja ever hear of this place? Way off the beaten path. And a big hole to boot. You have to walk through the Meteor Crater gift shop to get to the main attraction. But well worth the trip. A little bit of the moon right here on earth. And....they tell me....it could happen again.
Sabbaticals? I recommend them. And roaming around this country isn't a bad way to kill a few days, a week, month. It's a big place and everyone, at some time, should see it. As Woody said,"This land was made for you and me.'