Hello dear readers. I apologize for being “off the grid” for a while. My absence generated some concern owing to the fact that I was in the final leg of my epic seven-week tour of the U.S.A. But fear not, Tango and I are well, safely arrived in North Carolina.
For those who are new to my blog here is a quick recap: I set out from Western North Carolina on April 24th. My goal was Portland, Oregon where I was scheduled to speak at a conference. I also stopped in Columbia, Missouri and addressed the Show Me Cannabis statewide conference. I spent a week in Denver before heading to Portland. The it was nearly a week in Oregon before heading south to Trinidad, California where I stayed with friends for almost three weeks. It was great R&R. At the end of May I started back East, again via Denver. There is a lot happening in Denver and part of my trip was a “fact-finding” journey. For those interested in my life as a cannabis activist I invite you to visit my writing blog, Aliceolearyrandall.
In Denver I linked up with a friend and we traveled to South Dakota with a side trip to Wyoming. Then it was eastward again with a stop in Madison, Wisconsin and then back to Western NC. It was 52 days and 7,866 miles of wonderful wandering. It will take some time to absorb it all.
Whenever I would tell someone that I was driving across country they would invariably respond, “Wow, you’re brave!” It was a statement that constantly befuddled me. I was, after all, driving a very comfortable and safe van with all the modern conveniences. The majority of travel was on interstate highways which are well patrolled. The motels I stayed in were always hospitable and safe. I fail to understand where the bravery was in undertaking such a trip. There is, of course, always the unexpected which can happen at any place and any time. And I suppose I am a bit of a fatalist in thinking that when your time is up it really won’t matter where you are–recliner or interstate, you’re out of here.
But during my travel I was constantly reminded of the truly brave ones who made the journey I have just completed. The American pioneers, in their Conestoga wagons, really deserve every bit of praise that has ever been heaped upon them. Today’s image was taken in Wyoming and shows the Overland Trail. Those wheel-ruts that extend into the distant horizon were made by the thousands of covered wagons that crossed the U.S.A. So many wagons passed along the trail that the ruts remain to this day. The wagons held men and women seeking better lives. They traveled at the unbelievable speed of 7 miles a day! Of course they only had two horses pulling them. (Today’s cars have an average of 110 horsepower.) The pioneers faced environmental hardships and attacks from animals and indians. Those people were truly brave.
Our U.S.A. is so extraordinary and it is good to get out and experience the diversity and wonder that makes this nation so great. While you are out there think about those brave pioneers who were seeking a better life and then compare that to some of the immigrants who are coming to the U.S.A. under the same harsh conditions that our ancestors encountered on the Overland Trail. Bravery is a big part of what drives these individuals but there is something more. How awful their lives must be to surrender everything and set out into the desert looking for the promised land. In the 1800s, at least, there was no one on the other end to send the pioneers back. ❧