Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Day 2 "America, the Beautiful"
It is still unclear to me why I decided to drive to Los Angeles to catch my flight to New Zealand rather than fly down. I knew that I wanted to have the latitude to leave Bend and later return home without the constraints imposed by plane tickets. Otherwise, there was no practical reason not to jet my way to California. I hadn't really considered the implications of such a car trip, but once I was on the road, I realized that I had embarked on an exploration of America as a precursor to the big trip that starts Thursday night.
This evening I am in Palm Springs and, other than a six mile stretch of I-10, I have traveled already 800 miles without venturing on any interstate. I chose the inland route skirting the East side of the Cascades and Sierras, then headed further East across the desert to Barstow and finally, along rural highways over rocky crags and through mesquite and yucca-covered plains, to Joshua Tree National Park.
On this journey I have seen the grandeur of the snow-blanketed mountains and azure lakes and felt the mystery of the expansive vistas of the desert. I am in a quandary as to whether anything I see in the following weeks can surpass this natural beauty. It must be, that those who exult the one-of-a kind excellence of other places, have either failed to explore adequately or remembered sufficiently our own landscape. I have snapped a few pictures to share, but really it is of no use. Like isolated words from America, the Beautiful, they neither form a melody nor a song. It is up to you experience the anthem first hand and to discover internally its notes and lyrics.