By the time I got to the end of the Last Long Road Trip, the letters that I was writing to Lynn were becoming increasingly plaintive -- I'd been gone from home too long and was missing her and the girls too much. As much as I've enjoyed those solitary road trips over the years, I didn't think I could do another one.
But lately, the urge to get on the highway again is coming back. It's sparked in part by this Ambrose book about the building of the transcontinental railroad. On that first trip, in 1992, I followed the Platte River part way across Nebraska and I remember being astonished at the beauty of the river and the landscape. I didn't realize, until I started reading this book, that I was on the transcontinental railroad route.
Eventually, I turned north, up to the Black Hills, the Badlands, Rapid City and Bear Butte, before continuing across Wyoming and into Utah. By the time I got home, I'd been gone nearly two weeks and had driven over 4,000 miles. I've taken several long, aimless, driving trips since then, but I haven't been back to the Black Hills since '96, and I think that's where I ought to head next time.
I can't manage it this year -- the calendar is already too full, with the MLA meeting in Hawaii in May, a trip to Wisconsin at the end of June, and ICML in Brisbane at the beginning of September. So it'll have to wait until sometime in the summer of 2010.
Something to look forward to.