I like to drive. And read.
And write. Sometimes all at the same time. Which makes me a hard guy to
be with on the road, and a long-winded sort once I return from one of
my many sputtering spurts around these here United States. I just can't
seem to stop creating multisyllabic, compound adjectives, even when a
nice, crisp, simple little descriptor will suffice.
Guess I just get too durned
excited about all the prairie-ensconced wagon ruts, heart-shaped motel
beds, giant prairie dogs, WPA guidebooks and chocolate phosphates still
out there, just waiting to become the next big Mother Teresa cinnamon
For more on all of the above,
check out three of my wheezing attempts to break into the glitzy world
of backroads American travel writing:
Trip USA-- Writer Jamie Jensen
took pity on my NYC-locked state in summer 1995 and gave me an excuse
to explore the spine of the Empire State and Pennsylvania's Alleghany
Mountains when he commissioned my help to fill in some gaps in his then-upcoming
travel book, Road Trip USA.
The book, a "cross-country compendium of old highways and less-traveled
routes, avoiding the soulless Interstates and steering you toward roadside
attractions, historic places and oddball Americana" was published in
1996 and is excerpted
online on the book's official Avalon Travel Publishing Web site.
I ate so many hot dogs on my fact-finding excursion that I got a traffic
ticket on the last mile of the trip for driving on a bloated stomach.
After paying the fine and clearing my name (and gastrointestinal tract),
I managed to spit out two short (but rambling) chapters one Labor Day
20, New York -- Troy, Albany, Cooperstown, the Finger Lakes,
minor league baseball, Buffalo, dairy bars and a whole lotta detours
and Shakers along the way.
6, Pennsylvania -- America's first oil well, the rolling
Alleghanies, John Brown's tannery, drive-in movies, the Grand Canyon
of Pennsylvania and the ghost of Harry Houdini eating white pizza
in downtown Scranton
* * *
of Route 66 -- A musical tour of the Mother Road, with an extended
stopover in Winslow, Arizona, and interviews with musicians David Sanger
(Asleep at the Wheel), Kevin Welch (Dead Reckoning label founder) and
Jason Eklund ("Get Your Kicks on What's Left of 66"). Published in 1996
in The Phoenix
Around the USA -- I drove 17,124 miles in 11 weeks in fall 1994
and ended up coming back to the the same bad job and the same cramped
New York City apartment with the same moldy shower in the same living
room/dining room/kitchen. But I soaked up enough big skies, Great Plains
and gunfighter ghosts to catapault me right back to Kansas (City, that
is) only two short years later. This story was published in February/March
1995 in Sound Views, the New York City music magazine which has been
home to my column, Rootin' Around, since 1992.
© 2001, Kevrave