Is it still Great?

We’ve come to a fork in the last great road trip…  a crossroads between what we see and how we see it. To “go straight” onto our charted course would mean barreling ahead on an ambitious and probably somewhat frenetic “buffet” approach to the trip, spending 1-2 days in most places. To “turn” would mean we forgo all further travel East of South Dakota, including several cities and family and friends we’re excited to see (aunts & uncles in Minneapolis, Jeff & Jen in Madison, Grandpa Lyle’s 80th Birthday in New York, Guillaume, M-J, and baby Logane in Montreal, my brother and many friends in NYC, Chicago, Toronto, among others), in favor of a more relaxed and measured pace through the Southwest, Rockies, and Northwest.

It’s no easy choice.

We’re still diggin’ it, but this trip is certainly no vacation… this is travel… and travel on steroids at that. It’s been an amazing journey thus far, but a trip like this is not for the faint of heart. To see a city like Nashville or all of Mississippi in two days or Memphis in one (or all three in 5) is, well, exhausting. Not to mention the trivialities like where we’re going to sleep at night or get coffee and wifi and use the facilities in the morning when nothing is routine. Every little thing that you usually do without thinking is a multi-step process that may require driving across a town you don’t know  and, more importantly, one or several decisions. Decisions, decisions, decisions, wham, zoom, with the non-stop decisions. And your only way out is to decide to stop making decisions… aaaaahh!

But this is one decision we can’t put off because we have to fly to Taiwan in late July so I can set up my wearable biofeedback art works for an exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Art and I have to buy tickets ASAP.

So how do we proceed on this grand journey?

When we came to the crossroads of the blues in Clarksdale, Mississippi, we turned to meander through the Mississippi Delta. And here in Scottsdale, Arizona, we find ourselves turning again. To enjoy the time we have, we’ve recalculated our course and will forgo many great places and familiar faces in the North and East. It wasn’t an easy decision to deviate so radically from the course we had so lovingly charted and that had become a piece of our identity. But the alternative was to continue on a course that was no longer ours. For all that we sometimes tire of making decisions, they might be what separate living from mere existence.

So is it still Great?
For sure…
only question is whether it’s the Last…

7 comments to Is it still Great?

  • EH

    Hey guys, I am loving your flickr photos! White Sands looks incredible. I suppose Taiwan will be mindblowing as well, but in a different, more commercial and unnatural way. Anyway, I liked the way you expressed your decision to keep going West. Enjoy!

  • And, yes, it’s still great!

  • The answer? It is absolutely NOT the last road trip – (although I love the name of your blog). What’s great is the curiosity and passion and that got-to-see-it, got-to-experience-it behind the Last Great Road Trip. Erica is a talented writer (I’m not surprised to learn that she loves to read; all great writers are voracious readers) and she absolutely MUST write more about your travels – whenever they happen. Your photos are fantastic; I love clicking on them and being dazzled.

    Decisions are tough, but essential to your planning. A more relaxed pace means soaking everything in – rather than rushing through to the next item on your hit-list. I’ve always disdained the “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium” approach because no one can absorb anything valuable at that pace. Whatever you cut out now can be made into another remarkable (how come I keep hearing the kid in that Rascals episode whenever I want to use that word?) road trip. I never stop adding to the list of places I want to see, types of music I want to hear in person, and road food I’ve just got-to-have. Will it ever end? I hope not!

    Keep just “being there” and forget (as much as you can) the rest. If we don’t meet this trip, I really hope we can meet on the next – ideally in NYC, one of my favorite places in the Universe. (Alternately, in a NC BBQ palace with as many hush puppies as we can eat). Congrats on your exhibition in Taiwan!

  • brianne

    hey kids-
    i completely understand what i’m going to term traveler burnout from my two weeks in europe and that was only two weeks. but i think i got a taste of your lifestyle on your trip with my overly ambitious 8 countries in 11 days whirlwind approach to the continent. while i’m glad that we saw so much, i think i would have enjoyed a slower pace where the things we were seeing had a chance to feel less like something we were checking off a list and more like wonderful places we were getting to experience. i think you made a great decision to really get to live your trip.

  • Abby St. Lawrence

    Glad you’re not foregoing Montana. We promise to make the trip worth your while. I think you guys have really made the smart decision. Sometimes, foregoing some motion leaves you with a lot more time to reflect and gives you a richer overall experience.

  • Jeff

    Bummer, we’ll miss you. Madison is beautiful right now! We live on the isthmus between two lakes and the city has more bikepaths, cheap eats and free art than you can shake a stick at!

    • Yeah, we’re totally bummed to miss meeting up with you and Jen in Mad-town. Maybe we’ll continue the trip and swing back up North and East after CA… it’ll be late Nov/Dec, though, so could be cooold.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>