Reporting from Idaho
|On my Road Trip USA, I'm sharing my views on travel each night — and gaining perspectives on my own country every day.|
On Saturday, I headed east from Seattle to begin my 20-cities-in-20-days "Road Trip USA." Finally, I'm seeing some of our own beautiful country. And I'm having a blast. The goal: to drive across the USA from Seattle to Florida, giving talks daily in smaller cities and towns all along the way.
Two days into this adventure I’m already immersed in what promises to be a lifelong travel treasure. The Inland Empire of Eastern Washington and Oregon is corralled by mountains — Cascades in the west and Rockies in the east. Monster mountains sprawled across the horizon as our highway followed lonely train tracks across the northeast corner of Oregon into the mountains of Idaho.
The near-absence of color through that stretch was thought-provoking. I sensed the landscape had once been green and would be green again. But now, at the end of winter, plant life is the color of dirt and shows little promise of life. The vastness of the land embraces and nearly engulfs us. A beige, 20th-century trailer park reminds me of wagons pulled into a circle by 19th-century pioneers. The only color is their flag — super-sized for the setting. Amid the dirty browns and greys, that red, white and blue stands out like a beacon. Like partners, people bring one kind of life to the scene, and the flag brings another. Here, even more than on the coast, the flag represents you. You appreciate it.
A few minutes ago, I stood on the edge of the immense Snake River Canyon. In 1974, Evel Knievel tried and (understandably) failed to jump across the void on a rocket-powered motorcycle — which he decorated with stars and stripes.
The pace of my trip is delightfully grueling, with an average of five hours of driving per day, followed by six hours of talks, interviews, meet-and-greets, and hosting dinners each evening. I'm meeting so many wonderful people, learning lots, reporting daily on Facebook, and hoping you can travel with me. Check out my Facebook page now for reports from Eastern Washington and Idaho. So far, I've enjoyed gigs in Kennewick, WA and Boise. We're due in Salt Lake City tonight. (If I'm in or near your town on this road trip, I'd love to see you. There are still plenty of seats for talks at most stops.)
No matter where you are, this month's Travel News is ready to take you away, with articles on what's new in Italy France and Spain for 2012, an update on Vernazza and Monterosso, an escape to Ireland's "Impossible" Skellig Michael — and advice for a woman whose husband is alarmingly uninterested in Paris.
So, let's be travel partners — even if it's "Tallahassee or bust" for me this month, and "Europe or bust" for you.