The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 6

In our cross-country trip to research “Losing” it, my sweet husband Gene was the navigator. He cannot drive anymore because of neuropathy, but he is a fabulous wingman and navigator. He sat next to me for over six thousand miles with his MapQuest printouts, his giant US. Atlas, and Cellphone Siri. (Sometimes he talked to Siri more than he talked to me.)

We had laid out the trip in advance, so that the driving was usually about 6-7 hours each day. Sometimes because of construction or traffic snarls, the day was much longer.  There were times we drive for several hours without seeing any signs of human habitation except for the road before us and the vehicles on it.

Since one of the major characters in my book is a long-distance truck driver, it was great to be on a programmed trip, mimicking what truckers do every day for a living. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and we had great weather on our three-week trip. We saw mountains and more mountains, lakes, rushing rivers, cliffs, gorges, deserts and vast expanses of farmland. There were small towns and large cities with skyscrapers and long bridges over rivers.

You need to drive across our beautiful United States at some point in your life. Flying is great, but you miss the vastness, the beauty, the great sense of space and time. Compared to the villages and the cities, the mountains seemed eternal. The layers of rock that were forced up during eons of natural upheavals humbled me. I could see the bottoms of seas in the wavy parallel lines of the cliff faces. It was totally mind-blogging. I become an insignificant speck in the universe of time.

I am currently researching long distance trucking and have a meeting next week with some professional drivers. I’m also in the process of reading several books about truckers and I learned that one of the lures of the industry is the freedom to see parts of the country that are not the usual vacation or tourist places.

It’s the inside of our country, where the manufacturing happens, where things are built and shipped to the far corners of the world. The people are real with difficult jobs, but they have courage and they stay the course.

When you shave, think of your razor, it was made somewhere in the U.S. by real people. Your shirt? Same thing. Almost everything you touch was made in a factory somewhere by someone. Almost everything we buy today was shipped a long distance to our Walmart or grocery story or shopping mall.

And the truckers do the driving.

Check out these photos we took from the car. Stay turned for more installments of the Adventure of Writing a Book.

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