Thursday, November 14, 2013

Final Entry on a Long Journey

I did not take a picture of the "Welcome to Oregon" sign as I passed it on the outskirts of Homedale, Idaho. I had remembered seeing this same green message board on my previous road trip last July and now found  its positive greeting slightly irksome. It was like receiving a vigorous handshake from a dull acquaintance. I was suddenly in familiar territory on a familiar highway leading me to even more familiar places and to the end of what had been a magnificent journey. Letting the resistance to this finality get the better of me, I resolved to overnight in Burns instead of driving a mere 135 miles farther to Bend. This way I could delay the inevitable return for one more day.

It has now been three weeks since I finally slipped the key in the lock of my front door and called the adventure over. I braced myself for my customary post-vacation depression, and threw myself vigorously into mundane tasks such as paying bills, sorting mail, doing laundry, cleaning the house, and preparing for Winter. I returned to my normal routine: Starbucks in the morning, solitary hiking along the railroad tracks, fishing, drawing, emailing, watching news and sports and running trivial errands.

I also busied myself in reuniting with friend and family. As has always been the case, my "meaningful" circle would ask half-heartedly for details about my trips but usually out of a sense of obligation. They preferred overwhelmingly that I listen to the stories of their lives. As usual, I would vaguely promise that the next time I would tell a thing or or two, but I knew that I would not. My commitment to inform had already begun to atrophy anyway. Also I found I lacked the ability to bind my feelings and observations into cogent thoughts that might convey clarity. My memories had already lost their freshness. Like once tasty vegetables in soup, they were now leftovers, which over time would get pushed ever further back into the refrigerator until forgotten. Soon along with the hundreds of photos I had taken which I knew would never be seen, these recollections were destined to join the broth of other concluded journeys down the drain of time.  Therefore, out of deference to a friend who told me she expected a final episode of my days on the road and, in an effort to salvage some remaining morsels of the trip and preserve them from total obscurity, I decided to do one more post and submit some photos of a few road signs that caught my attention.

The first photo was taken on a quiet Sunday Morning as I crossed from Tennessee into Kentucky onto U.S. 119. I was startled to discover the highway I was now driving had been given the moniker, the "Kingdom Come" Parkway. A sign further down the road announced that the road would not only take me to Pikesville, Kentucky, but would also lead to Kingdom Come State Park. How a key phrase from the "Lord's Prayer" could be approved and signage money be spent for a Christian message by the Feds was baffling to me. Maybe out of fairness, it should be proposed that New Yorkers be obligated to drive over the Kol Nidre Bridge into Brooklyn or that Florida be renamed the Lox and Bagel State.

The second photo comes from Hullett, in Northeastern Wyoming, near Devil's Tower National Monument. As a former real estate broker, I learned the importance  of engendering confidence in your professional abilities, but don't you think this brokerage name is a bit weird? On the other hand, it is kinda' catchy and probably not a misrepresentation.

The third photo is from a lunch stop I made near Sun Valley, Idaho. One of the saddest aspect of my journey was to see literally thousands of carcasses of dead animals on the road. It is no laughing matter. Then again, it was all the more reason to try their specialty!