Billboards say a lot about America. Cross Country Travel Notes, Observations | Ron Colone | Journalist
It’s a big country there, and I just got to know a lot of it – traveling by car, on a trip that took us from the Pacific Ocean to the Great Lakes, from the Dusty deserts and rugged southwest canyons to lush forests and pristine rivers “Up North”.
We traveled from the oil fields and wind farms of Texas and Oklahoma to the corn fields and hog farms of Illinois and Indiana; solar farms in Mojave, wheat fields in Kansas and cherry orchards in northwest Michigan; across plains and mountains, through crumbling towns and rusty towns, ghost towns and thriving communities.
We saw rejuvenated neighborhoods and revitalized blocks, on bikes, boats and bridges, porches, bridges and docks, across the strait and to the island, through city parks, national parks and national, stadiums, music and art halls.
In restaurants, cafes and brasseries, past monuments and memorials, through cemeteries and cemeteries, familiar haunts and ancient playgrounds, where I have seen that friendship can last and overcome, that family ties are powerful and deeply rooted with a force flowing through our veins, binding us and binding us, redemption and condemnation.
The driving days each lasted around 1,000 miles and took us through different lights, different eras, different conditions and different regions of the country, distinguished by geography, geology, culture, customs, cultures, language, history and more.
I was reminded that most of the land in this country is open spaces – forests and fields, lakes and mountains, vast areas unoccupied by people – which reminded me of those red and blue political maps. which show the vast majority of the country in red with scattered spots of blue that some people use to suggest that this is how the country thinks despite the fact that 82% of the US population lives in urban areas and not in large natural landscapes (represented by all this red).
From the billboards lining the freeways in the middle of the country, I have come to conclude that some people must think Jesus was a great American the way they wrap him in red, white and blue on d ‘huge panels which also bear the name of the former President (as if to combine the two).
As we headed down the home stretch of the trip, on a day that started in Salina, Kansas and ended in Salina, Utah, I remembered a very important lesson: Magic often happens when we let’s get out of the scenario. This happened while crossing I-70 in central Colorado, when a mudslide spread across the road, shutting off traffic in both directions.
It took hours to get off the road at the next exit, and from there the options were either to wait – who knew how long that would be, to drive north on a twisty but paved highway – which would add 3 1/2 more hours to our crossing, or go south on unpaved roads that would only add an hour and a half more.
When we picked option three we had no idea it would put us on a rocky, muddy one-lane trail of switchbacks and hairpin turns that would have us dragging over the edge while taking us down the road. one of the highest mountain passes in the state, which means one of the highest in the country. Although I spent a lot of time in this state, I had never been there before, nor seen such a landscape.
The colors were an eye opener, the currents were tantalizing, and at that moment, despite the threat of danger and the dangerous conditions we had been through, a prayer of gratitude sprang from my heart and flowed into the universe. I thanked the Great Spirit for our safety, and that it shouldn’t be just a trip down memory lane, but rather would provide us with new adventures and new stories to tell.
As I cherish the memories and enthusiastically continue to tell the stories of the past, I am, and believe we are, invigorated by new experiences and expanding horizons.