“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
Yes I know, I too cringe now in 2018 – but this was taken ten years ago when I was a college student on my very first American road trip so of course this (only slightly pretentious) classic leapt out at me from the shelves at a bookstore.
We were 21, and we thought ourselves as young and wild and free. This was sometime in summer, and somewhere along U.S. Route 1 between Miami and the Florida Keys. We had ditched the lukewarm sunshine in New York and landed in Fort Lauderdale; picked up our keys and drove only south on that meandering stretch hugged by a blue coastline and beautiful bodies; hitting one beach and bar at a time, stopping for greasy burgers and artificially sweetened waffles, and peeing carefully at one dingy pit stop after another. There’s a certain reckless freedom in the wide open roads of the Promised Land – travelled by the many before you and the many more to come; the welcome by the American billboards holding the promises of the capitalist dream; the flickering counter on the dashboard while seeing the miles fly beneath your wheels with one bad car karaoke song after another.
Was there really any other book worthy of a trip like this?