Reub's journey

31 August 2010

Coast to coast: thanks to the Interstate highway system

Part I: It was just the two of us, mother and daughter, setting out on a trip from Oregon to New York, a 5-day hustle across North America.

We were both anxious, but for different reasons. Me: Would the old, heavily-laden car make it? Would I survive the heat and noise of the open windows? Could I avoid getting on the nerves of my traveling companion? J: Would the dicey bike rack fall off? Would the new radio/CD player and used speakers work? Would our destination (a source of dark news stories and frowning emails from administrators) prove to be more welcoming than it seems?

The answer to all of these questions is a Yes or a Close-to-Yes. (The bike rack didn't fall off entirely, and although the iPod refused to work, the CDs did.)

Leaving Portland on I-84, we had to say good bye to Mt Hood.

The journalist Charles Kuralt once said "Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything." Surely a better road trip would have been to take our time, avoid the Interstate highways, and explore the small towns and astounding geography that lies between the two coasts of this continent. Without the luxury of time, though, we had to stick to the dreaded interstates that linked the 11 states through which we passed.

Big highways: oh yeah! Hoping to prove Charles Kuralt a little bit wrong, I shot the following 8 pictures along Interstate 80. Some of them were taken from the passenger window of our '94 Nissan Sentra as we sped along nearly 2,000 miles of this highway through the midsection of the US.

Sunset and wind turbines in Idaho.

Not all of the Interstate hotels are biggies; this one is in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.

The only gators in Wyoming look like this.

Empty landscape of Wyoming and west Nebraska, very tidy.

Wild sunflowers seem to stand up well to the winds of passing trucks.

In Iowa we lingered at a rest stop devoted to writers. There was a quote by each picnic table. I wondered how many conversations have been inspired by these words, read while munching crackers and cheese, swilling a soft drink?

A crop duster flying out of my frame

Dusk settles peacefully in Ohio, even alongside busy I-80.

Part II: 5 nights in Ithaca, NY. Here I helped J get established in her rented room.

Shouldn't all bedrooms come with a sunny porch? Lucky girl.

My son Christopher and his partner MG already live in Ithaca. There was a chance to explore the trails and streams running behind their house.

And an opportunity to go to the art museum on campus, where we all pondered the dark wet day beyond the glass.

MG surprised me by taking us out in this little rowboat... order to go sailing. I didn't know that she is an accomplished sailor, with many years of experience on big lakes and in races all over the place. What else do I not know about her? Now I really wonder.

Part III: Fly home, with a 4-night stop in my home state of Wisconsin. I had no idea how cool the Detroit airport would be. There is a stunning tunnel through which people hurry amidst changing colors and sound effects. For a minute I stopped and stared at this trippy place, forgetting that I was in a rush to catch a connecting flight.

The Wisconsin farm where I grew up has few outbuildings still standing, but I spent a lot of time poking around this place that is rich in memories.

My 89-year-old mother still lives here and remains a force to be reckoned with.

I always want the window seat when I fly home to Oregon so that I can admire the volcanoes of the Cascades. This is Mt Rainier, and yes the sky was really this blue.

It was a good trip but I'm glad to be back.


  1. An adventure worth having.
    I enjoyed following you and wish I could do it too.

  2. These photos are awesome. They really capture mid-America. I especially like the wind turbines, the crop duster, and the Ohio landscape. Who says you need an expensive camera to do great photography?

  3. Oh, and the rowboat!

  4. I don't know where to begin with this one, Kerry. Glad you and Jess spent the time and that you got back to Wisco too.

  5. Wow, that was a big trip. I was in NY too in the Adirondacks. Ithaca is beautiful. Love the airplane view.

  6. We're glad you're back too, Kerry, safe and sound.Sorry we didn't get a glimpse of you - Carol said you had a nice time together.Well, we had a wonderful meal with Ben and Crystal last night at Dad's! Fun to share the good news about her job!And fun to think that maybe, just maybe, we'll get them for a Christmas, or a birthday or ....? Anxious to hear about Jessica's new digs.

  7. Wow, I'd say you found lots of interesting things to photograph along the interstate. I enjoyed the entire journey and secretly wish I could have been along for the ride. What an awesome trip.

    Your daughter is indeed a lucky girl to have such a wonderful view.

    It sounds like you had a very nice trip. I will be taking a little trip of my own this month.

    Oh, by the way, your mother looks FANTASTIC. I want to know her secret. She's beautiful.

  8. Hey Friko and Jarie Lyn, that would have been fun having you along for the ride. You could have helped with the driving and at the end of the day we might have had more energy. There was room for you, sort of, in the back seat.

  9. I have enjoyed your photos from your cross-country(and back) adventure, and the commentary, as well.

    Thanks for the visit and comment left at my blog earlier today...

    BTW, what kind of dogs are your Ed and Reuben(Welsh Spaniels?)


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