The eternal query—where does the rubber meet the road?—was definitively answered at the witching hour last night. It meets the road in Beckley, West Virginia. And in East St. Louis. Let me explain.
We've embarked on the quintessential road-trip, my friend Beth Rera, her young son John, and I. We’re traversing the nation, literally, from coast to coast over an eighteen-day period.
I'd been charged with delivering some horses from the East Coast to the Santa Barbara area of California. I also picked up a job to ship some furniture from Middleburg to its owner in Albuquerque, and some stuff' for the return trip back east. It's sort of the tale that creates road legend, this nearly 6,000-mile journey crossing the spine of the U.S.
We're stopping along the route westbound with friends (I-70 route, primarily) and eastbound at several commercial horse hotels (I-40 route.) It is a three- to four-day journey no matter what, each way, with forty-five-plus hours of driving in each direction. I like to think of it as a twenty-first century variation on Steinbeck's Travels With Charlie. Beth likens it to a version of Thelma and Louise minus the man-hating aspect. John considers it the opportunity of his seven-year life: the ultimate show-and-tell for the first-day of school next month.