I loved these drives, loved watching the world pass by outside, and always tried really hard to get one of the forward-facing window seats. Sitting backwards in the jumpseat made me motion sick, so if my sisters managed to snag the window seats first, I preferred to squeeze in between them in the middle.
That wasn’t so bad. The station wagon had one of those tinted windows in the roof. It let a lot of light in, but it also let me see out. So I’d watch the clouds whisk by, watch for planes and birds. I loved the country roads through forests, and could watch the trees zip past overhead forever.
But best of all were the metal truss bridges, the longer the better, especially the older ones that had a metal grid for a roadbed as well. Those bridges were never all that level with the roadway so the station wagon would lurch onto them, as if it was lifting off. Then the metal truss overhead in the sun roof whizzed by, the patterns in the grid in a staccato burst of geometrical shapes, like the view of a gantry I had seen from a camera mounted on the side of the Apollo rockets as they lifted off. The tires even roared over the metal roadbed, rocket engines to my ears.
We were putting men on the moon, and every kid wanted to be an astronaut, explore space. You know, the final frontier stuff of the ’60s. So I would pretend that I was being launched into space, to other worlds, other galaxies, other universes.
Preferably, a universe without sisters, where I could always get a seat by a port hole.
Old Route 66
Oklahoma, United States of America
Taken during travels, 1997