Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Road Well Traveled

"One can get in a car and drive from state to state and just enjoy. In the UK, one can only drive so far before running into water."

Today after just being away for just about a month, we did a "wheels up" and left the condo we were staying in on Tranquility Bay. As usual, when we travel, we leave on "Navy time". That means, first light. Since the prior two mornings were very foggy, I was a bit concerned today might have been the same. No such bad luck. There was a good sea breeze coming in, and no fog. 

We left Pensacola and then merged on to Interstate 10. For those who are not familiar with I-10, it goes all the way from northern Florida to San Diego. One of these wonderful paths one could take to "see real America". I have been on it many times before. Mostly the stretch between New Orleans to Fort Walton Beach. Plus, one of the things on my "bucket list", is to take I-90 to the east coast, connect with I-95, and then take it down to Florida connecting with I-10. Then the fun would really start.

We took I-10 west until we connected with I-55 heading north from Louisiana. From Louisiana we went into Mississippi and then into Tennessee. While driving, we saw the temperature change, and well as the topography change. But the one thing which did not see change were the wonders and beauty of driving up through America's heartland. Every time we stopped to get a bite to eat, stretch our legs, or get gas - we ran into real Americans. Friendly, talkative, caring and sharing people. 

I have told this story before. A man I worked with when my company was teamed with Royal Ordnance in the UK, always spent his "holidays" in America. And he always did the same thing. He rented a car and just drove. When I asked him why he did that, his response was not in the least bit quizzical. "You Yanks have no clue as to what you have over here. One can get in a car and drive from state to state and just enjoy. Drive for endless miles. In the UK, one can only drive so far before running into water."

Bingo. As much as we like to travel the road less traveled, when we are on major trips we travel the roads well traveled. And even though we don't learn as much as we do on a road less traveled, we still learn. Plus (and this is a big one), after living on a small island for 18 months early in my life, I LOVE driving for hours at end without running into another ocean.

Tomorrow it will be more driving and more learning. As much as I have seen our heartland, I never tire of it. On the Navy base we are staying at, they just played evening colors. That too, I never tire of. Tomorrow at 8 bells, it will be morning colors. If we are still here at that time, I will stand tall and put my hand over my heart. 

This is America. This is not the shameful land that Obama told us and the rest of the world about. This is the proud land - a proud land that Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump remind us about in almost every speech.

So this may be the land well traveled - and if it is, so be it. Whatever it is called, I love it.  

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