Jumping from the moon

Returned to Ohio after 8,700 road miles and 5,000 air miles.

Part One

The rental car’s tires melted outside of Houston. Bats swarmed under a bridge and over treelines in Austin. A Texan prison guard warned of imminent danger in New Orleans. Hundreds of new border patrol vehicles sit collecting dust in parking lots along the highway while 1991 Chevys rush across interstate ten with hunched over Mexicans in the back thinking of good days to come. The nearly 1,000 mile drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Austin, Texas was a pleasant struggle against ophthalmological exhaustion. Tiny deer and the occasional coyote scamper along the 80 mph highway.

Every place is the same, as are the people and things that fill the void between landmarks. You bring you wherever you go. The mystic quality of travel is that you will be able to learn more or understand yourself better. The “what do you want” will be answered. Anyone who’s been there and back knows that concept is rubbish. It does not take a thousand miles of wandering to find yourself. Those who disagree know themselves enough to believe that whatever they are doing is right and true. And there is nothing wrong with that. But to believe you must go somewhere or experience something or simply travel aimlessly to find that ultimate answer is recipe for disappointment and confusion. Still, there is the rare instance in which you may return from your wandering and realize how fortunate you are in the grand scheme of 7 billion people on Earth. Create one of those gratitude lists and smile.

People have made their way to just about every place in this world and beyond only to discover that salvation lies elsewhere. It is amazing how open travelers are with strangers, yet these same talkers find it nearly impossible to share the same sentiment with their neighbors back home. The world is a big place and we all have a right to experience it as we wish. Then there’s that next place…”We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” The other things are often forgotten, but it all goes hand in hand. How do we learn? What’s next?

After nearly 9,000 miles of road travel around the mighty USA, the one constant is that there is something here worth fighting for. There is something everywhere worth fighting for and depending on who you are, there is significant differences in opinion as to which place is worth most. Just like people, at least in theory, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” places hold the same truth. Home can be on a volcanic island, an abandoned town cut off by mountains and distance, an urban condo, a shotgun house in New Orleans, or the road itself. America must remember itself. American people can choose to go places and do other things for the mere challenge. Home is America. America is home. The greatness always comes from the people and is the responsibility of every caring citizen.

Circumambulate

Dry heat in the wet season of New Mexico shakes up dust and sends it our way. Day 17 of the Wild Harmony on the road book tour. Meddle plays Echoes from the radio while we drive by $3.12 a gallon. Hospitality and friendship have been the saving concepts behind this entire adventure. A shout out to those who helped make this trip happen: the kickstarter backers, the families who welcomed us before and along the way, as well as all other supporters.

Manhattan, Kansas provided warmth and stories of today’s mechanized fighting force at Fort Riley. Steamboat Springs, Colorado was a festival of welcoming bookstores and transient workers who guided river during the day and ventured the hot springs at night. San Francisco, California saved us from exhaustion after sleeping in the car outside of Yosemite and the good people there directed us to all the important sites in the city along the Beat Museum where visitors from all over the world may stumble upon Wild Harmony. Japanese visitors on a fishing boat around Alcatraz bought the book and are taking the first copies to the land of the rising sun. After a quick walkabout (circumambulate) of the Golden Gate, the book tour divided in two. One drove south on the One to Los Angeles beyond Big Sur and into Joshua tree. The other flew to Hawaii and found some bookstores along with connections for further adventure.

The professional Pokemon player on the airplane made little sense, although his parents from East Africa must have found the tournament of champions in Kona to be amusing. They were from western Canada and the young player wants to be a firefighter later in life. On the big island, there was no sign of the card players. Tourists milled about on beaches with sand imported from China. Milk is $8 a gallon and gas around $4.20, although California was $4.35 per gallon. The people of Hawai’i have a culture beyond all seen in Hollywood. The Buddhist temple in the red zone sits unscathed surrounded by burnt out land cover by hardened black lava. After the volcano, the book tour reunited in Las Vegas for a sneak-in swim at Caesar’s palace before retiring to Yaki Point in the Grand Canyon.

On through Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix, and Tucson, Arizona is experiencing their wet season. The river washes are sun baked and few people know where their water comes from when asked in the 100 degree heat. The neighborhoods are walled up to prevent dust from penetrating the doors and clouding up family rooms. Air conditioning is coal powered. And then there’s the cacti…to be continued