There are times when I encounter a segment of a cross country drive which makes me wonder why I do it. The drive is, as long drives are to so many people, a chore, merely time spent in a car getting from Point A to Point B. Such was my drive last Friday from Nashville to Cincinnati. It was hot and humid. And just as my thoughts were beginning to wander, traffic was stopped on I-65 and I had to take a detour through Cave City and Caverna. By the time I got back on the freeway, I was unable to rediscover the rhythm I once had.
But, yesterday and today, the drives were wonderful. The lecture on CD I was listening had just enough nuggets of wisdom to inspire some serious thought. I recorded quite a few ideas into my pocket digital recorders. And I stopped for a pleasant dinner with an engaging and attractive reader just outside of Cleveland.
Last night, so much did I enjoy being on the road, I decided to drive past Erie and made it into the Empire State. Now, there the trouble arose. I went to three separate hotels before settling on the least expensive. It was kind of dingy, but the staff was polite and the bed was firm enough to allow a good night’s rest. I regretted not choosing the Best Western because the woman was really quite friendly; she had put FoxNews on the television in the lobby (even before my arrival). She had contacted the Days Inn to see if it was cheaper. It was.
So, there I stayed. Now, this morning as I passed some hotels outside of Buffalo, I saw that they advertised rates about $20 cheaper than I had paid in Dunkirk (almost $50 cheaper than the first hotel I visited). Guess it’s because there’s more competition. So, I wondered why it cost so much to stay in a smaller town. And then I let the thought go. There was nothing I could do about it.
(I also wondered why managers’ don’t give desk clerks more latitude late at night to lower the rates so that it’s just above the marginal cost of cleaning up the room. I mean, they have rooms available and staff on premises.)
As I drove across New York particularly the countryside just east of Syracuse (around Oneida), I found myself turning off the CD player to take in the countryside around me. It was really quite spectacular, even if frequently monochromatic–these rolling hills and farmland almost all green, decorated occasionally by a gray silo or a white barn and then later a stone or white clapboard house.
On some trips, I might stop to take in the scenery. On this one, because of the blog and because of Facebook, I am frequently meeting friends along the way. And it has been delightful catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
And I’ve been impressed by the kindness of the people I’ve been meeting, whether it was that woman at the Best Western in Dunkirk, a woman in a rural Virgina convenience store who loaned me her saline solution when the store was out (I had had a horrible headache and needed to remove my contacts), the portly young man at the “Service Area” in Lee, Massachusetts who helped me determine the right kind of oil for my car when her oil light went on.
Oh, yes, and the subject of the post–the “click.” I call the “click” that moment when you’re driving and you find you need to turn off the radio or CD player to listen to the thoughts passing through your head. And that happened today. In spades. And now, I wonder if, when I listen to the thoughts now (temporarily) preserved on m y digital recorder if they will resonate as they did when I was driving–and saw fit to record them.
Oh, and, one more thing. Here, in Scott Brown’s Massachusetts, I only saw three cars sporting bumper stickers. Odd that I saw no “Obama” stickers here–I saw them even in Nashville. One sticker had the world “Socialism” with the Obama symbol as the second letter. Another said something about Reagan for President. Yes, here in Massachusetts.