When I was in my early 20’s, I took a road trip with my good friend Joel.
It was one of those epic trips that you end up referencing for a long time.
We drove an early 70’s Dodge Dart…light blue with a slant six and a three speed on the floor….across the country…through Missouri and Nebraska… Wyoming…Idaho…Washington state….probably not in that order…I need to get a map.
Along the way, we recorded what would become known as the “Road Dog” tapes. When you have an audio history, it’s easy to reference something like a road trip for the rest of your lives. The tapes are a funny record of two goofballs loose on the world. They make me laugh.
I need to dig out those old cassettes sometime.
We stopped in Salmon, ID for the night on our way out to Spokane, WA…where I was dropped off to spend time with my relatives there before Joel continued on to his job in Olympia.
The next morning, we ate at one of the local restaurants before we left Salmon.
The restaurant was an old cafe…different from the Denny’s and Waffle Houses and IHOPs of the world. Maybe it was different because it was genuine. It was real. It had identity.
It was worn linoleum and cowboy hats…steamed up windows and mounted trophies…coffee at every table and big platters of hot food.
We sat at the crowded counter and the waitress took our orders, and a short while later brought out our platters of food.
I think that it was the first time I ate Huevos Rancheros.
Runny fried eggs and refried beans, cheese…red sauce…warmed tortillas.
I don’t know that there was anything all that special about it. It was cooked perfectly and there was a lot of it. It was a darn good breakfast. I was hungry and I enjoyed the heck out of it.
Taken out of the context of a young man’s road trip…somewhere different than Salmon, ID…with different company than my good friend Joel…and I might not have been so impressed with my breakfast, though. It’s really hard to say.
Nahhh….it’s not that hard to say…that plate of Huevos Rancheros was one of the best breakfasts that I’ve ever eaten.
IT WAS AWESOME!!!!
Driving the mail around, I think about road trips sometimes.
Everyday is like a mini road trip for me, except I never go anywhere and the road starts to look too familiar. I’m driving…but I don’t get to really go anywhere.
It’s just 70 to 100 miles of familiar loop each day…and then back to the post office to unload my empty trays. Then I do the same thing the next day.
Kind of like that Greek guy with the big stone…what was his name? Sisyphus…that’s the guy…rolling a boulder around for all eternity.
I think about trips, though. I’m always moving on the route…and I’m always thinking about actually going somewhere.
My family loves to road trip. LOVES IT. I appreciate that…I never stopped loving to travel, either…and I do miss the “West”. The only thing holding us back is a small measure of maturity, some common sense, and a desire to continue paying our bills. Once I figure out how to get over those speed bumps, we’re putting the “rubber on the wheel” back on the highway and pointing the compass arrow to the left.
Those Huevos Rancheros are kind of iconic for me.
Maybe they aren’t just a good breakfast that I ate in a Pacific Northwest town. Maybe they’re some kind of symbol for a moment when the freedom of the road and opportunity and new experience collided? When it all came together in a perfect moment…and a perfect, steaming plate of eggs and beans and tortillas.
Maybe it was “just” a really good breakfast. Who knows?
There are moments that can’t be marketed…times that are outside of the “lowest common denominator” lifestyle we’ve come to be used to. There are good places in the world.
We live in a good place right now. It’s great here in Western North Carolina. It is beautiful.
My feet are so itchy, though.