Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose." -Whitman, Song of the Open Road.
We pack up old Princess Sparkleface and head-out at midnight east from Portland, through the Gorge, then north to Spokane, following the rising sun.
"Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complains, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road." -Whitman, Song of the Open Road
I'm not sure if there's any greater feeling than driving through the night with your kids asleep in the backseat, heading for some far away dot on a map.
"The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them." -Whitman, Song of the Open Road
I was throwing around possible names of Loop#2 of our American Travel with my girls: The Badlands; North Rockies; The Great Plains; Lewis and Clark Trail, The Oregon Trail... but finally we settled with just: The American West.
"Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill'd with them, and I will fill them in return." -Whitman, Song of the Open Road
The American West has always meant a kind of hope. A second chance. A way of restarting your life. Layers upon layers of stories of people from all corners of the world arriving in search of something deep inside they hope will come true. Traveling through the night, thinking of Whitman, watching my girls curled up in sleeping bags in the back seat, I'm hoping too.