The wife sits next to me watching some mind numbing television (America Has David Hasslehoff) and I stare at the picture on the wall calendar and try and wish myself up in the rockies. Cloning myself in the spirit of “Somewhere In Time” and yearning to be in a different place, a new location. For all of you who do not know what I am talking about “Somewhere In Time” is a movie where Christopher Reeves literally wills himself back in time to meet up with a honey he met at a play. It is an engaging respite for the weary, rent a copy of it, don’t forget to rewind it before you take it back.
Having re-read the above, I figure that analogy most likely did not help the majority of you. Perhaps I can put it another way? There is a old line in a Glenn Campbell song, that goes something like this: “It’s knowing that the door is open, and my pathway is free to walk, that tends to keep my sleeping bag rolled up and stashed behind your couch.” I really like that tag in that song for some reason, one of those things that stick in your mind all day long.
So if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a vagabond fiend for the open road this day. Doing my best to “wish myself somewhere else” and truthfully speaking, not having a whole lot of success at it.
Often, I think about grabbing the bag and hitting the road. I don’t like being shut down, I want to get out and chase my wandering star. Today, right now, my restless soul is stretching the limits of my sanity. I am thinking this evening of the mountains, of the hard climb west out of Denver, I-70 to the Bee Hive State. The craggy rock outcroppings in the canyon outside of Glenwood Springs, and the route alongside the river.
It has been a long time since I saw the mountains, deep in my spirit, something is awakened. My mind drifts off to past days, the open road, cheap fuel, and a time I now perceive as being much better. Seem to be experiencing this longing to go to Mile High City again. Silently I pray; Lord, is this going to happen; am I to make a trip to Denver this year? I sure would like to go; it would be so nice to get out of here, if only for a short trip and a little while.
Reality slaps me upside the head, and brings me back to the real world.
Can this even be possible given the economic conditions in this country right now? Just to get out on the highway for awhile and watch the plains roll by the window, and smell the country air, that would be such a kick or boost for my tired old spirit. Better than Prozac or Valium, a natural boost to clear my mind, sixth gear and seventy-five, high-ball-in in overdrive.
Running the plains late at night, nothing but the moonlight and the growl of the Detroit to keep me company, even the truckers are strangely quiet. One more river to cross, one more mountain to climb, one more valley I gotta go thru, leaving my troubles behind. One more battle with the devil over my sin, I am going to walk with Jesus, and I am going to share my life with Him. Turn up the radio, roll down the window* and allow the wind to rush across my face, give me a moment or two, the opportunity to get out of this place.
I long for a two lane highway, after five in the afternoon, they are just about all mine. The farmers and the truckers have settled in for the day, and they leave it all to me. Even the plains of Kansas, endless and mostly devoid of trees, can be a welcome thing to a tired and ragged soul, looking for a watering hole for his spirit.
Once again, I am seeking the elusive prize in life. Denver after a trip across the wheat lands and prairies of Kansas shines like a jewel on the horizon. It calls to me like a lost lover in the dark after a summer dance … Summer time on the plains, wake up and smell the roses, air so thick with humidity you can cut it with a knife.
Hot weather is just around the corner, soon the young-in’s will be frolicking in the sprinkler, rain on the tin roof, backyard picnic’s and flies in the butter. Honeysuckle in the air and folks grilling meat on the grill. Legions of weekend warriors in the backyards of America will be suiting up for the game.
Not me, I want to be on the move.
With a modicum of luck, I will be out there on the highway, me and the old bus, roaring by searching for a cheap thrill, another paid for rush in life. One more river to cross, one more mountain to climb, one more valley I gotta go thru, leaving my troubles behind. One more battle with the devil over my sin, I am going to walk with Jesus, and I am going to share my life with Him. Turn up the radio, roll down the window* and allow the wind to rush across my face, give me a moment or two, the opportunity to get out of this place.
During a brief lull in the festivities, I reminisce about the last time I was in Colorado. Out on the plaines east of Denver at a small Flyin J truck-stop, believe it was Limon, Colorado, if I remember right. Sun just barely clearing the horizon, a little nip in the air. But the coffee was good. Early morning coffee drinkers are a strange lot, some of us like it lukewarm and others piping hot. Hey? That rhymes, I could be a poet and didn’t know it. But I digress; we are speaking of fast food joints, breakfast in the morning, the pleasure of being out there, on the road.
For the most part, the joint is empty, there is an old man sitting at the counter, two young kids in a booth, who seem to be “all over each other.” I study them intently, she has black lipstick, black fingernails, jewelry everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. It is in her ear, her nose, a spot above her eyebrows is pierced.
A picture of loveliness.
Her not so apparent non-virginal counterpart, he is much the same, hair is askew, lip pierced, ear ring, and BOTH eyebrows have shiny appendages sticking out of them. I think to myself, “this kid is ripe for marriage, he is ready to go.”
He has endured pain and he has already bought jewelry.
I sip my coffee, hug the cup for its warmth and peer outside the window at the new morning that is unfolding before me. Birds sing and the smells, new and unfamiliar refresh my mental issues, which seem to be more than usual. The sprinklers mist the window, and I try my best this day “to get with the program as my drill instructor was fond of saying.”
The waitress inquires if I am ready to order, she looks really tired and on the downside of life. I nod my head in silent agreement and tell her “two over easy, bacon, whole wheat toast, small OJ, and make the hash browns well cooked.” Knowing full well, that I will most likely get what the recently released prison cook decides is good for me, and it might or might not be close to what I ordered.
Eating on the road leaves a lot to be desired on most days, and this establishment, being no different is much the same. My attention returns to the world outside my window pane, the sprinklers mist the window, and partially obscure my view.
I search the sky for clouds, maybe some shade, no luck. The old man sitting at the counter fishes out his cell phone and starts barking in it like a seasoned Carny at the State Fair. A few more pleasantries, I retire the ticket, reach into my pocket for a four dollar tip and I am out the door.
Walking out the door the smell of diesel hits me hard, almost cutting the morning air like a sharp knife. Over in the corner of the parking lot I hear Daddy’s Hobby, my Pig Iron Pony idling and I sense he is chomping at the bit, he is ready to run and I am to some extent, ready myself.
Today we will be westbound and down, “six on the floor and the other one out the dog-gone door, hammered down.” Our reserved spot in the fast lane waits for us. Tomorrow this little obscure corner of Colorado will be just a faint memory.
Owning a bus makes life a little bit more interesting and somewhat better. It takes my mind off this ugly rash in my left armpit and the nation’s economy. This day, much like W.C. Fields, on the whole, I find that I would rather be somewhere else, somewhere far, far away. I ask the wife to hand me the television remote, she willingly gives it up, and I can now start channel surfing for something good to watch (search mode). Life is good … I am a fortunate Pilgrim indeed.
See you in the Fast Lane …
*This was of course fiction, everyone knows, you don’t roll down a window in an Eagle, you just grab it firmly most of the time, (mine usually requires some kind of screwdriver or prying device) and then you jerk it back!