In ten days Geni and I will leave home in a taxi with two carry-on suitcases and a shoulder bag. We will go to the Greyhound bus station in Pensacola and catch a bus to New Orleans. After an overnight in the New Orleans, we will leave on an early Amtrak train for a 15 hour ride to San Antonio, arriving at midnight. Then the next day, on by bus to Laredo, Monterrey, Queretero, Morelia, ending up in Patzcuaro after an overnight bus ride.
This journey across the face of the earth, instead of hurtling over it in a jet, is the beginning of a road trip. It is appropriate that the journey be on the road rather than flying over it. However, the decision to travel in this manner was difficult to reach. We could fly and reach Patzcuaro in the same day and that choice is very appealing, even enticing. To travel by bus and train is time consuming and monotonous. The trip will take four days, or more if we become fatigued. Hotels are needed in New Orleans, San Antonio and Monterrey.
To fly presents fewer problems, but also provides few opportunities for growth. Flying, though miraculous, is routine. The experience is also particularly stressful from the crowded airports, security procedures, cramped seats, questionable food, and limited oxygen.
We are planning to write about our trip, and a blog about a day of air travel would be dull and depressing. On the contrary, bus and train travel can be leisurely and the schedule easily changed. We will undoubtedly meet dozens of interesting people, see new things, and think new thoughts.
The decision to travel by bus and train avoids the need for advance reservations. There is no need to book round trip tickets to save on cost. We can leave with a day or two of notice, relocate when we want, and change travel plans easily.
We have traveled quite a bit, but all of our previous trips had been schedule-controlled. Perhaps because of a long history of two-week vacations that had to be precisely organized, we routinely booked round-trip airfare and hotels or monthly rentals in advance. Now that we are retired, there is no specific end date to the current trip. Concisely put, we don’t know where we are going and we don’t know when we are coming back.
We will be living on the road, hence the title of this blog. I should also apologize for the theft of the title from Jack Keoruac, but I assure you the reference is reverential.
Just as Kerouac left conservative culture for a wild jazz ride, we plan to seek out and confront a few obstacles — perhaps a Don Quijote reference would be more fitting.
We have three days to finish preparing to leave. Luggage will be what we can comfortably carry. We will leave in a taxi on Saturday morning, and then we will see where the road goes from there.
See you down the road.