Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rooooad Triiiiip!!!

Forget the reason, there is nothing like throwing stuff in a bag and heading out. I often think in my daily travels how nice it would be to just drive right through that next light and on down the road, follow the black asphalt to wherever, the Far Coast or beyond. Just let it all go, and go.

So my son and I are off on a dash to the suburbs of Philadelphia for the weekend. He tolerated me still fitting in some work for half the day, and greets me at the door with packed bags and tunes. We drop a few things off and pick up a few on our way out of town, and finally the real trip begins.

He has prepared a string of songs on his Ipod connected to the stereo (we have been talking about such an adventure--just the two of us on a romp--for years), banger teenage junk, some classic rock, sliding into reggae. The sun shines the grass luminescent green on this third hot day of Spring, while snow still cools the bare trees on the mountains. Fields are clean. At long last, people are outside in T-shirts, shorts and grins. Even a dog has to stick his head through the sunroof.

The road leads south, the Taconic Parkway rolling over hills, pristine and mellow. Imperceptively, buds appear and traffic increases. Gas stops and snacks consume time towards sunset until at the peak of radiant purple, we are paused for pictures beside a resevoir.

We drop in on my college roommate, guitar buddy, witness to midnight struggles to decipher the mysteries of girlfriends. His wife too an old friend from days long past. Amazing how 20 years since last visiting has been unable to keep us distant. Although it is just a quick stop to stretch legs and share hugs, we visit as if we had seen each other last week. Tribal squeals from their flock of peacocks send us off again.

Darkness surounds the dizzying city lights. Traffic swirls along the strange highways. We enjoy the skyline along the Palisades, but where I should turn to the turnpike, I end up having to recross the Hudson on the George Washington Bridge.

Oh well, we decide we may as well go for the tour. We head down West River Drive, and turn inland, into the City and Times Square. At 10:30 the theaters are emptying and the streets are filled. Excitement vibrates, the life gleams attractively.

At a corner, starved, we buy soft pretzels through the window from a vender who barely speaks English. A few wrong turns, blocks circled, and we dive into the Lincoln tunnel to make our escape, never actually setting foot on the island.

Eight lanes settle into three, my son settles into his pillow. The day has been long, the adventure grand, the freedom intoxicating. Now the miles pass into the darkness. I stretch and breathe to keep awake. A sad task lies ahead, but for now, contentment reigns.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Kip. What a great father/son thing to do. When my six year old gets a little older I want to take him on a road trip too. I have four daughters, so son is important.

I read and re-read this post. It was well written and touching.