We like to explore. We like to drive and see the countryside. I suppose that if we were younger, we’d enjoy hiking for the same reason.
We saw nothing of note on our last driving tour. Everything was interesting and worth seeing. Nothing was worth driving to see. Yet, when we put the four hours and half a tank of gas to bed, I cannot say we did not enjoy the time.
Here’s what we saw: Hills, trees, cows, horses, houses and mansions, sheds and barns (some barely standing or covered with mismatched layers of tin), post offices, hills and valleys, junky yards and carefully manicured landscapes that went on to the horizon, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes, swamps and rills. We saw happy children, picnics, a tot’s tricycle on the bike rack, an angry man, a young man on a homemade pedal scooter, and a big man on a custom-made trike. We went passed factories and churches, a closed church called “The Voice” (it went silent), an abandoned factory (it went still), and a forgotten home (it went unloved). Yet there were mobile homes, built in the 1950s, which still had occupants.
We went through small town after small town that did not have gas stations or groceries, but did have dollar stores.
Just two miles from the state capitol we were on a curvy state route with hardy any sign of life, but you could see the old capitol building in the valley with scaffolding all around it.
Four hours of nothing was everything.
At one point I was just observing the trees, bushes and weeds. Skunk cabbage, pines, cedars, hardwoods, reedy edges of ponds, flowering bushes of all kinds, purple leaves, red leaves, green. Garden plots and fields of corn.
There were cars and trucks, too. Sports cars (for it was a sunny day) and doors-off jeeps, motorcycles, a Pepto Bismol colored car, and a van-truck so small it had to be a “classic import” (a vehicle which otherwise would be illegal to operate on the roads).
Such a lovely ride is so relaxing that we found we were getting heavy-lidded. We stopped at a gas station and bought a couple caffeinated sodas. The dog liked walking in the grass and did not want to return to the car.
Did I mention our dog? She hates riding in the car. The only thing she hates more is being left at home. So, we stopped more times for her sake than ours, yet most of the time we found that WE needed a break, too. She has to ride on someone’s lap. That has a double benefit to her…she has the attention of her owners…and she is high enough to see out the windows. We have a seat cushion that she “rests” on while on our laps. The cushion is more for our benefit…her front legs convey every ounce of her weight onto our leg muscles otherwise since she has this tendency to lean forward while traveling. By the end of a few hours she finally becomes comfortable enough to lay down.
People have settled most of our great land. Some have taken great pride in the land and what they have built (and it shows). Some have disdain for everything (and that shows, too). I wonder what makes the difference! It is not money, for we saw mobile homes with well-maintained beds of flowers. It isn’t race related or based on age, for we saw folk of all sorts sitting on nice porches enjoying the beautiful day.
Nope! Some people seem to express their own personality with their properties…uncaring messiness and careful maintenance are probably representations of the lives of their owners. Some certainly have hobbies…collecting junk cars, for one. Others may have fallen into a mass of mess because they have grown feeble or experience disabilities which could be helped by caring neighbors.
We spent little time exploring the truth. We did not stop to interview owners. We merely passed by and wondered. Maybe we should stop and talk to the people. I bet it would lend a depth to our understanding. It might even be something else not worth driving to experience, but worth experiencing.
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