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Location: Midwest, United States

"Power lines, my travlin' partner on this ride. Dripping, pulling - up and down, in this sing song, their lullaby blends with the swaying train. I curl myself into this journey; folding myself up into this pocket of time. Old familiars greet me - that swing set in the back yard, the ruins of an old church covered in new birth and old - mixed with unremembered newness." Journal Entry, October 13, 2005~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~All words are copyrighted by GoGo on a Page/gogoroku.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Dream Journey

We headed down route 96 toward Ann Arbor around 9:30 am, turning south toward Ohio. We didn’t care if we started out late, the trip had just started and the week was just beginning. The instant we entered the car, it became a moving home with all the things we wanted to take with us. We were loaded on healthy snacks to eat and homemade black bean gazpacho soup to eat with hummus sandwiches for lunch and dinner. I brought way too many clothes, my journal and camera.

Conversations opened like the road as we talked about past relationships, previous road trips, and where we would like to travel in the future. Ohio is a boring State, sorry folks, but we spent most of our time just trying to get through the State toward the mountains awaiting us, trying to make up time we thought we had lost, trying not to stop too many times to pee. By West Virginia, darkness had crowded around us as we seesawed up and down the roads.

My friend got busted for speeding 40 miles from Virginia. We pulled over to the side of the road, she behaved with her utmost respect as the officer mirrored the same with mame this and mame that. There was a point when she stretched herself into the back seat to get her Driver’s license, opening a Michigan State Police bag with grandiose exercise then turned over to me, stretching over me to get her registration. I had watched quietly calm, noticing the minor details to add to the story later, like the cops name. He walks back to his car to check out her information and she says to me that she hoped that the State Police bag would help her get a reduction in the ticket. I smile and say, forget about the bag how about your ass hanging out the window when you were getting the registration. We laugh breaking up the tension, the kind of laugh that rumbles in the throat with a light levity and deep humor. I think very few people in the midst of a critical point can laugh like this. It takes wearing experience with lightness and interest in the vulnerability our stories unfolding. This is why I don’t travel with just anyone preferring to leave the critical traveler for someone else to experience.

The cop comes back with a ticket, the bag and ass had no effect but to reduce the speeding by 1 mph, so that my friend would not get a reckless driver ticket too. We move on, away from the po-poo and West Virginia. We talked about the ticket, about the experience, laughing and getting pissed all at the same time. Getting pissed and then laughing because there is not much to do now but promise we’d tell our friends in North Carolina the story, including the five-o’s name.

We are in constant contact with our friends in Durham having conversations about the weather, when we expected to get into town, when we stopped, and how the baby was doing. My friends in N.C. have a little one about to turn one-years-old. The same babe I mentioned I babysat when they still lived in Michigan. When we finally arrived, we were huddled under darkened night, but not too late. We quickly unload and prepare our futons in the living room. We check our email that later in the trip, when too much closeness and disruption of all our routines begin to wear on us becomes a point of frustration. My traveling friend and I are email whores, constantly wanting to check it again and again.

The week was beautiful. Sunny weather greeted us daily. Durham and Chapel Hill our gorgeous places. We piled our days full of things to see, coffee shops to visit, and email messages to check. The first night we went to a local music club in Chapel Hill for some live music, but the event turned into less then enjoyable. The opening bad started late because the main show hadn’t shown yet. This band, unnamed, only knew a few chords reminiscent of some basic chords that Pink Floyd used to play. All it did was spur a desire to get out my old Pink Floyd albums so I could appreciate what those chords could do. I left out a little early to check out a bookstore down the road I had seen while driving there. Upon my return, my friends were ready to bust out of there. One of our friends had an early day, so we had to leave before the actual event had even shown up, heading towards a local coffee shop for late night tea and desert.

My entire trip hung with this sense of duality. A part of me was in NC to visit friends while on a brief vacation between this semester’s to do lists. Another part of this self was trying to imagine what it would be like to be in London. Somehow I had transposed this travel into a check list of things to know when traveling. Thoughts permeated my head like how will I become familiar with my surroundings, what are the basic things I need to take with me, will I feel lonely without a counterpart to travel around with. I decided the one book I would carry with me is a collection of Rumi poems edited by Cole Barks. This fills me with such ecstatic excitement; I spend the rest of the week in and out of used bookstores trying to find an old copy hand worn and just right.

My final day there, we all separate out to do our own things. It’s time in the trip to explore the world in singular appreciation, taking on our world with a personal touch. I appreciate time by myself, with myself. I decide to head to Chapel Hill to explore the NC College and art galleries while taking gratuitous photos of everything. This is a dream thing for me to do. Just plop this self in some unknown place and explore it, while recording my own view of things in photo and words. I sketch the town in my journal while drinking coffee at a trendy coffee shop. I admit, I stopped there because this beautiful woman is sitting under an umbrella and I hoped to get a chance to speak with her. The conversation we have I leave unnoted here, for another memoir’d experience I suppose.

The next day, we leave in early afternoon, a little cocky by our “good time” down to N.C. the Monday before. On 52 West, we are awed by a huge mountain pinnacle that towers in the distance and decide to stop for an hour to explore it. We meet this woman there that graces us with her energy, prodding us to explore further and longer. She is someone we both wished we could get to know, sad that we never got her name before we left. Four hours later we finally leave North Carolina. It takes us until 5:30 am to get home. Purely exhausted by the tediously long drive, we fight back our weariness by repeating over and over again that we did not regret our side trips through North Carolina. We swore that everything we had seen warranted our dreary experience afterwards. We laugh a few more times, tell even more intimate stories about our lives, while chugging coffee and water. We stop 8 times to pee before my friend asks, “coffee is a diuretic isn’t it?”

Coming home felt like coming home to a lover waiting. It was so beautiful and I almost cried when I saw my throw blanket crinkled on the couch right where I left it. I realized then that I was beyond exhausted and it was time to sleep in my neglected bed dreaming of future journeys out there in this world.

all photos are copyrighted, copyright gogoroku 2007. email for duplication permission.

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Blogger twitches said...

Such awesome detail. I felt like I was there with you. :)

12:39 PM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger Wenda said...

Ah, you leave me longing for a road trip of my own. Maybe I'll drive across the county to my brother's wedding in July. Hm.

11:00 PM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Great pictures. Great post. I travelled with you.


Journey within the mind

10:27 PM, March 14, 2007  

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