So the Daily Prompt asked today – You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)

When I was younger and asked my mom for a ride somewhere, she would often reply with “You’ve got two good legs.” Meaning of course, that I was free to walk or ride my bike if I wanted to go.

I, if time and money were not a question, would walk across the country. And not just across the country. I would zig zag my way across the map. North in the summer, south in the winter, slowly heading east and west.

There is a lot to see in the United States of America. I’ve seen a fair bit of it already. I spent two months in the fall of 2001 on a cross-country road trip. I wasn’t walking, that was a car trip. Me, my fiancée (who is now my wife), and two friends, drove from New England to California. We left Connecticut on Sept. 8th, 2001, went to Salem, Massachusetts; stayed in beautiful Guilford, Vermont; saw Niagara Falls; camped at the Kentucky Horse Park; drove over the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan; through the sand hills of Nebraska; saw Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mt, and Jewel Cave in the Black Hills of South Dakota; visited Devil’s Tower and Yellowstone in Wyoming; drove through Seattle, Washington; over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and did a few touristy things in Hollywood in Los Angeles, in California.

Then our two friends took a train back to Connecticut, and my fiancée and I headed east at more leisurely pace. Drove down the strip in Los Vegas and over the Hoover Dam in Nevada, visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona; went to Roswell, New Mexico; drove around in an old neighborhood of mine in Texas (not that I recognized anything from when I was 7 years old); a quick walking tour of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. We were kind of rushing up the east coast, but we did stay in a caboose turned cabin in Yemassee, South Carolina; then back to Connecticut on Nov. 11th, 2001.

It was a most excellent trip. I saw a lot of things, and visited a lot of places, and made a lot of memories. What I wrote above about the trip was just a few of the highlights.

However, it wasn’t all peaches and cream. Before the trip, I of course had to make sure my car insurance was paid and would be paid while I was gone. Outside Omaha, Nebraska, my 1986 Toyota Camry stopped accelerating and a Toyota dealer got to fix a timing belt and an oil leak and I got to pay them $300. (That is a great story in and of itself. Maybe I’ll tell that one another day.) Around that same time one of the headlights stopped working. In California, the muffler fell off. ( I stuffed it in the trunk. Don’t know where I found the room.)  I honestly don’t know how that car survived the trip.

And, there was a lot of things I wanted to see, that I wasn’t able to get to, or stop for, or go out of my way to go to.

So. Instead of driving, I would walk. I would walk and see everything thing I wanted to. If I saw a flower or a herd of deer or an interesting building or a beautiful vista, I would stop and enjoy the view, and probably take a picture, or two, or a lot.

I would make sure to see the Redwood trees, and stone arches of southern Utah. I would explore Seattle. It seemed like an interesting place. I would walk the endless fields of North Dakota, and the mountains of Colorado. I would go back to my childhood neighborhood in Texas and wander around until I’ve either found something that is familiar, or discover that everything I do remember has changed. I would see anything interesting there is to see in Oklahoma and Tennessee. I would visit the Florida Keys. Explore corners of New England I haven’t been to yet.

And I would visit all the spots in between. The spots often missed on other types of trips. I would visit every national and state park I could find, and explore every square foot I could get to. I would read local history monuments and visit old cemeteries. I would walk highways and by-ways and sidewalks and dirt tracks and game trails. I would walk the deserts and the mountains and the forests and the fields and the beaches. I would walk under the sun and the moon and the stars. I would eat apple pie in every state of the union and decide they are all the best. I would meet awesome people and have awesome conversations and learn amazing things. And by awesome people, I mean the normal, everyday people who work at gas stations and roadside diners and touristy trinket shops. I would meet fellow travelers, and talk about where we’ve been and where we are going. I would visit friends and family where ever they happen to be.

I would take the time to write. Keep a journal, write thoughts, impressions, feelings, describe the sights I see, the people I meet, the stories I hear and the things I learn.

It would take years and years, but if I was able to travel the country, that’s how I would do it. It would be tiring. I would be too hot when it was hot, and too cold when it was cold, and wet when it rained. But I would see the country. I would hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it.

But that is a dream. That is if time and money were not a factor.

Most likely, if I were to actually travel across the country, I would do what I’ve done the past couple times I’ve done so. I would scrape up enough money from somewhere for some plane tickets, and my wife and I would fly back to New England and have a wonderful, amazing time visiting family and friends, time that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the whole world, including an all expenses paid years long walking tour of the nation.

One thought on “I’ve got two good legs…

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