I need a vacation.
05 Oct 1997 09:03:39 -0700
Beach RV Park; Malibu, California :: 05 OCT 97
It is five weeks and two days since Grant Park, since John and
I threw poses at the camera from beneath a banner marking Chicago's beginning
of Route 66. Today we'll finish the final miles of the trip, taking the
truck back into LA where we left off last night. Five weeks and two days.
I'd figured on six and left room for a few additional days. The miles
from Seligman to LA went quickly. The long, nearly uninterrupted stretch
of 66 between Seligman and Newberry Springs urges not haste but steadiness.
The desert reels by offering few reasons to stop and, for those who have
not stocked the fridge or taken on water, no places to pull up for the
There is an RV park in Chambliss, half-way on the ox-bow of
66 between Essex and Ludlow but the proprietor died and the widow is not
operating the site. We pushed on to Newberry Springs. From Seligman to
Kingman there is almost nothing, and Steinbeck
promised "a pretty little town" to start California. Kingman is important,
busy, big but hardly pretty so we pushed on to Needles.
We could have lingered in a few places I suppose. Another day
in Winslow or Williams perhaps, another afternoon chatting up the sweet,
travel-minded bar maid in Victorville, trading stories of exotic places
and dream journeys over a Guiness after catching a matinee at the cinema
across the street. These could have filled out the six weeks. But a rhythm
was established, a pattern of seeing, and the pattern made us fleet in
the desert states.
Too, destination magnetism draws the traveler to a quickening
pace. Steinbeck writes of this
in Travels With Charlie In Search of America, the tendency to end
a journey before reaching the destination. A journey ends when the traveler
sets their mind for home, or in our case the interim finale of Santa Monica
Pier. After two thousand miles of Mother Road we were not so eager to
photograph another abandoned gas station or diner, stop for the magnificent
neon sign, double-back back-tracking for every foot of old skeleton pavement
on every alignment-on every incarnation-of Route 66.
Jaded? Perhaps. Tired? Of course. John is drawn home to England,
eager for family, friends-the familiar-and to find work to pay off the
debts mounted during this journey, and begin saving for the next. I am
eager for a long stop, R+R, rest and reflection. Another day in Newberry
Springs would not alleviate this need. Long journeys are not so different
from a steady job, the routines and stress of travel not so different
from those of a 9to5 existence, and we have been working 7 day weeks since
Chicago with only a couple half-days off. After a stretch this long, a
vacation is called for.
~~~ Responses Sought ~~~
"I want to marry a girl," I told them, "so I can rest my soul with her
till we both get old. This can't go on all the time-all this franticness
and jumping around. We've got to go some place, find something."
When Lucille saw me with Dean and Marylou her face darkened-she sensed
the madness they put in me.
"I don't like
you when you're with them."
all right, it's just kicks. We only live once. We're having a good time."
sad and I don't like it."