My first car was a 1964 Chevrolet Impala. I used to steal my parents' keys and go joyriding up past the chicken farm before I was legal. The car was blue and sported a crushed left fender, but beneath the rusted hood lurked a massive 327 V-8 engine. As soon as I got out of sight, I stomped on the gas, swerved to avoid a manure pile and headed for the open road.
The ensuing 30-odd years have largely played out as an extension of that theme. I have inflicted grievous mechanical and emotional damage on a dizzying array of cars, trucks, scooters, boats and the occasional snowmobile. I have driven them all with more enthusiasm than skill and not infrequently with one eye on the rear view mirror looking for flashing lights.
Truth be told, my wild driving days are behind me. Towing a boat trailer up the Alcan is not exactly the stuff of Smokey and the Bandit. I haven't driven 700 miles through the night buzzed on No-Doze and howling a Springsteen soundtrack into the darkness since early in the Reagan administration.
Upon reflection, that might be such a bad thing, either.
Still, I've decided to go for a drive and see what life is like in the country I’m forever leaving. I'm setting out without destination or deadline, just the self-imposed goal of traveling to each of the lower 48 states, make some pictures and tell a few stories from along the way.
The truck is packed and it's time to go. I can pick up some No-Doze and Bruce cd's on the way out of town.